Sylvester Mummy out of his glass case; Sylvia coyly leans in the background.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Field review by the editors.

Seattle, Washington

This narrow, cluttered gift novelty store -- a mainstay of Seattle tourism -- never fails to please and revolt. Your host and hostess are Sylvester and Sylvia Mummy, a desiccated though likable couple behind glass. They are American rather than Egyptian mummies.

Other Shop denizens include a virtual family of Barnum Mer-creatures: a Mermaid, a Mer-Baby, and a Mer-dog named "Petri-Fido."

The requisite freak pig in a jar shares space with a ship scale model constructed entirely of matchsticks. There is a 350-year-old "African voodoo monkey" -- its intestines have been removed and braided onto its head.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop has been here in one form or another since 1899, in continuous operation by the same family.

During our visit in 2004, the owners noted they'd acquired new curios soon to arrive, including a 2-headed calf and a 4-legged hen from an old curio collection auctioned off in England.

Mer-Baby.

Many of the creatures and skeletons dangle from overhead cables. They dust these specimens once a year.

Also see: Sylvester bobble-head souvenir | Road Trip visit

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Address:
1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA
Directions:
Downtown. North of Pioneer Square and the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal, on the waterfront, where Madison St. reaches Puget Sound. Pier 54.
Phone:
206-682-5844
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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September 22, 2014

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