Clowns.

Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum

Field review by the editors.

Arriba, Colorado

Clowns have a possibly undeserved reputation for evil, especially among those who grew up watching slasher films and listening to Rob Zombie. But for older folk, such as the late "Grampa" Jerry Eder, clowns are still all bright colors and big smiles, capering around a circus big top or delighting sick children in a hospital. Jerry began collecting clown figures and items in 1978, and continued until his death in 2010. Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum is the result of those decades of effort. Its brochure bills it as "the largest collection of its kind in such a small building."

Clown Museum.

The museum is small indeed, nothing more than a pink shingled shed, but it's packed with over 3,000 small, clown-themed objects. Clowns on teapots, black velvet paintings, gourds, music boxes, dolls, lamps, pillows, cookie jars, whiskey decanters. Clowns hang from the ceiling, lay on the floor, and ascend to the rafters on shelves that seem to be everywhere. There's a clown painted on a ripsaw blade and a clown made from a hairball taken from the stomach of a butchered cow.

In short, there's nothing in the collection to make clowns any less disturbing to the already fearful, and their mass alone is enough to unnerve the claustrophobic. But for everyone else a visit to Grampa's may be a highlight of their trip, if not a possible rich source of visual material for future nightmares.

After Jerry passed away in 2010, his wife Dale Ann took over curation duties. She also collects clowns.

Grampa Jerry's Clown Museum

Address:
22 Lincoln Ave., Arriba, CO
Directions:
I-70 exit 383, drive north two blocks, then turn left onto Lincoln Ave (a dirt road). Look for the clowns on the left. Turn into the driveway. The museum is in the pink shed toward the back. If it's locked, the key can be gotten from the history museum in town.
Phone:
719-768-3257
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