Appleton, Wisconsin: Harry Houdini Historical Center

In Houdini's boyhood hometown, secrets of the great magician and escape artist revealed! Well, some secrets. Demonstrations and hands-on exhibits, along with displays of his straight jacket, leg irons and lock picks.

History Museum at the Castle

Address:
330 E. College Ave., Appleton, WI
Directions:
Downtown, History Museum at the Castle. US 41 to the west side of town. College Ave. exit (B 41/Hwy 125) east about three miles. Between Durkee and Drew Sts.
Hours:
Tu-Sa 10 am - 4 pm, Su 12-4 pm. Closed M. (Call to verify)
Phone:
920-735-9370
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Harry Houdini Historical Center

Appleton was Houdini's boyhood home, and the History Museum at the Castle has always had a section set aside to tell his story. But that changed in 1999 when the exhibit became "highly interactive," according to the curator, "a more child-friendly exhibit than the one we had before." What this means in plain English is that, aside from the usual Houdini artifacts -- a straight jacket, leg irons, a pair of handcuffs -- the museum created modern versions of Houdini's "metamorphosis" illusion and milk can escape, and encouraged visitors to try these tricks for themselves. This upset magicians across the country because Houdini's secrets were being revealed. "But you can read all about them in dozens of magic books," the curator protested to us. Yes, well, but that would require reading....

[Roadsideamerica.com Team, 12/02/2005]
Harry Houdini Historical Center

The mystique of Appleton's favorite son, Harry Houdini, can be explored through the Houdini Historical Center's unique collection of his memorabilia and personal effects, including handcuffs, leg irons and lock picks actually owned and used by Houdini. Demonstrations and hands-on exhibits offer more opportunities to learn about Houdini's escapes, life and times. A Houdini historic walking tour covers sites from his childhood.

[Jennifer Schmitt, 05/18/2001]

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