Recently some of the class went on a field trip to the Angel Museum in Beloit. The museum is housed in a historic church, built in 1914, and is run with the help of Joyce Berg. The majority of the objects being shown are from her own collection, and that’s why she wanted to open the museum, to show the world the largest collection of angels. Though it might seem like an odd theme to focus on with a museum, the collection shows such a varying amount of angel figurines that it becomes a fascinating place to explore.
As we walked into the museum we were greeted by Joyce Berg in an angel costume. This is her typical attire, and as she later explained, she’s gone through numerous costumes- all including a halo, wings and dress. The museum is one room with around 6 x-shaped display cases, all sides showcasing shelves of angels in all shapes, sizes and materials. The collection ranges from angels of the month to an angel smoke alarm to a garfield angel. Each shelf holds,depending on size, 25-40 angels. Towards the front of the room was the donated collection of Oprah’s black angels. This is one of the more popular aspects of the museum, although Oprah herself has never been there. She also has a collection of magazine and newspaper articles about the museum- all focusing on the odd idea of housing an angel collection.
After visiting the museum I decided to look at the website to see how the it was represented on the internet. I was unable to see many pictures of the collection and the website mainly focused on events that are held at the museum as well as ways to volunteer. There is also a video of Joyce Berg talking about the museum and it’s start, but again there is hardly any footage of what the museum looks like. I would suggest adding some pictures or talking about some of the odd items that are housed to attract more visitors. It’s hard to draw attention to a museum that houses an odd collection. It’s more of a tourist destination than a place to visit often for townspeople. Joyce Berg mentioned how the majority of their collections are out on display so there aren’t really new items to see each time one visits. It’s good that the website focuses on events though, being that this is a good community draw to the museum.
While the museum might sound like an odd stop for some, I think the visit was definitely worth it. I had no idea how many variations of angel figurines are out there and it was surprising to see them all in one place. This museum is unexpected- which is a great way to reel people into visiting. So many times you go to a museum and you know exactly what art pieces you’ll be seeing or what kind of science you’ll be learning about. collector museums ultimately make you interested in the variations of stuff that is out there. It makes you take a second look at objects you might normally see as junk or clutter. That’s what makes this kind of place special, and it’s definitely worth checking out.