The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities was one of the most surprising and pleasant discoveries of the last months. Part of “The Last Tuesday Society”, it is a museum and bar in London Borough of Hackney. The museum is curated and owned by an artist and collector Viktor Wynd.
The collection that is a contemporary equivalent of the classic wunderkammer popular in 16th and 17th centuries is Mr. Wynd’s lifelong project. It has started as the “Little Shop of Horrors” and in 2015, with the help of the kick-starter, the museum was founded.
I enjoyed so much about this discovery. I traveled there on a cold cloudy day and it took me some time to find it, coming from the other side of London. Already from the outside, the place had this bizarre and, in my mind, attractive weirdness – “Timburtonesque” kind of pub entrance with one empty table and four chairs around it. “Last Tuesday Society” is the main name of the place and only after reading it you can notice the smaller “Museum of Curiosities” title. The door has some more information on it informing that “this is not a brothel” or warning for the people who get easily offended by death. Quite a welcoming entrance in general.
Once I entered, a friendly barman greeted me and explained how the place was distributed. They have a little bar at the entrance (later I found out that it is famous for its real Belle Epoque style absinthe which I didn´t have a chance to try) and there are some pub tables on the same floor with a temporary exhibition which for my delight was about Witchcraft this time. Going down the spiral staircase I arrived to the museum space which spreads through impossible to define surface. The place is so full of everything that I didn´t know where to start.
On their website Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities explain that “no attempt is made at classification and comprehensiveness” and I don´t think there is a better way to describe what I saw there. This museum does not consider it necessary to categorize things, instead you get lost between the bones of the extinct dodo bird, shrunken human heads, skeletons, taxidermy, vintage erotica, contemporary art including drawings by Wynd himself, occult and magic objects.
The line between real and fake is completely blurred here. I was looking at a blue plastic Hindu deity baby next to real human bones and a dry dragon fly. On the other side there were “Real” mummified fairies and a lamb with wings with a miniature taxidermy mole dressed as a fortuneteller. At the beginning I tried to look for descriptions but at some point I stopped and just looked at what attracted my attention.
Little rat skeletons never looked better than at The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, where the real life stages are designed including oddities and surreal is the only real. So I took a seat after going through the pages of something that looked like an old witchcraft manuscript. And without any doubt I sat next to the giant stuffed lion…who was wearing a hat and was looking out for the wall full of little drawers. Apart from this, there was another area ready for the ones who needed a rest. This second one “only” had a lion skeleton overlooking it and many impossible to name specimens around it. All of the time during my visit I was the only live creature there but I definitely didn´t feel alone.
After the visit I was invited to have a cup of hot tea and enjoyed more of the specimens that actually are everywhere – even in the lavatory. I wouldn´t go to The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities when looking for a light calm moment due to the condensation of the information in this quirky basement but I like dense so I really hope to visit it again on another cold and cloudy day while visiting London. With a cup of hot tea afterwards of course.
For more information The Last Tuesday Society