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Houdini’s Magical Museum in Appleton

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Houdini Museum
Houdini bust, 1916. This bust is said to be “haunted.”

Fun fact: Harry Houdini and I grew up in the same area! Houdini moved to Appleton, Wisconsin from Budapest, Hungary when he was 4 years old. However, he told his audience that he was born in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Because of Houdini’s time in Appleton, we have a museum dedicated to his awesome magic tricks/escapes! It’s a really interactive museum called “History Museum at the Castle.” My husband and I went with my husband’s little brother to check out the museum this past weekend. I’ve lived in the Appleton area for the majority of my life..but have never actually been to this museum until this weekend.

Houdini Musuem
History Museum at the Castle
Houdini's Museum Appleton, WI
Houdini’s Museum is really interactive. You can play with just about everything here. πŸ™‚

Admittedly, the Houdini exhibit is geared more toward the kiddos. However, it sure doesn’t mean the adults can’t enjoy it too. (I know I sure did!) And we learned some super interesting facts about Houdini and his tricks…and even were able to try out some of his tricks!

Houdini's Museum Appleton, WI
Look at my husband making that table levitate! Haha.

For example, there’s a section where you can make a table “levitate,” like my husband is doing in the photo above. But if you look at the photo below, you can see how he was actually making the table levitate.

This trick was something Houdini did to actually discredit psychics and mediums. Something I didn’t know about Houdini, he had gone on quite the fight against mediums and psychics. Houdini knew their tricks as well…and didn’t like that they were (in his words) preying on grieving families (who were trying to contact their dead loved ones). He actually went before Congress to try and get a law passed to make mediums illegal in Washington, D.C., and he frequently attended séances in disguise in order to expose the mediums.

Houdini Myseym Appleton WI
Behind making the table levitate.

Another fun tidbit, Houdini is obviously known for his ability to escape everything from handcuffs to jail cells to milk cans. The police had challenged him, and said he was able to do these things because he hid the keys in his clothing. So, Houdini decided to escape from a jail cell in the nude to prove them wrong!

However, we learned that he was able to do these crazy escapes because his friends would hide keys in the locations he was escaping. Ryan (my husband’s little brother) had to search for the key in the jail cell so he could escape. 🙂

Houdini Museum
Escaping the jail cell!

I think my favorite part of the exhibit was seeing Houdini’s actual straightjacket that he wore in his shows and escaped from while being suspended from a crane!

Harry Houdini Staightjacket
Harry Houdini’s actual straightjacket used in his shows.

We also enjoyed trying on a straightjacket at the museum and trying to escape from it. Haha.

The photo below, of my husband getting locked up in one of Houdini’s contraptions, is my favorite from the day. I love the facial expression. Haha. (Don’t worry he was able to escape!)

Houdini Museum

We really enjoyed the Houdini exhibit! It’s actually one of several exhibits in the museum. (I had always thought that’s what the whole museum was.)

To keep this post from getting too long, feel free to click on the photos in the gallery below that interest you.. to read more information about Houdini and his museum. And keep scrolling if you would like to see more photos from the other exhibits, plus the winners from last week’s giveaway!

There was also a section in the basement of the museum that showed what Appleton was like when it was first founded. Appleton is known for its many paper mills, so there’s quite a bit information dedicated to explaining this.

And there’s a whole section explaining the origin of my husband’s hometown…which we found very surprising. My husband’s hometown of Nichols, Wisconsin has about 200 people in it. It was really fun to learn about! We were even able to see a photo of the house he grew up in…as it was being built about a hundred years ago! Cool stuff!

Needless to say, we really enjoyed our trip to History at the Castle! If you would like to learn more about this museum, click here. Also, admission was $12 for adults and $7 for kids (under 18). And it took is about 1 1/2 hours to go through both the Houdini exhibit and Appleton exhibit. We skipped the bike exhibit (sorry!).

Houdini's Magical Museum
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  1. That is fascinating Lindsey!!! It looks such fun and that was so interesting to know about him trying to discredit the mediums etc. I kind of feel a bit like that by those who try to prey on the grieving.
    By the way, you husband really, really looks like the actor Matt Smith (Doctor WHo!) in these pictures!!xx

    1. Thank you, Kezzie! And I feel the same too…it makes me bonkers. Haha, Matt Smith is a new one for him! I’ll have to let him know! He gets David Tennant (another Doctor Who) pretty frequently, when he doesn’t have the crazy facial hair. πŸ˜‰

  2. That looks like such an amazing place to visit! I love that the Houdini displays are interactive. It looks like so much fun. It’s amazing too that your husband saw a picture of his childhood home. What a great post! I love your beautiful skirt too!

    1. Thank you so much, Lili! I am just about to post about that outfit, haha. And I loved that it was interactive too! I’m so used to going to museums where you can’t get anywhere near the stuff…so, this was a pleasant surprise! And it was really awesome to see his childhood home being built! Thank you so much for reading this post. πŸ™‚

  3. Wow, this looks like such a cool place!! By the way…let your hubby know that with his facial hair he looks like a classic Green Arrow! πŸ™‚

  4. Wow, this looks like a great museum!!! An what a beautiful outside! I loved the part about how he escaped from the trail cell nude – how interesting! Loved these photos too πŸ™‚

    Lee – leethrifts.blogspot.com

  5. This is all pretty cool! I didn’t know much about him either! And I love that he tried to expose mediums. A true illusionist!
    Also, your husband looks sooo funny in that photo (the one that was your favourite). He looks terrified! haha
    Lovely post, always like these posts that you do! It’s fun! Makes me feel like I was there with you πŸ˜‰ So thanks for that.
    Much love,

  6. It looked like you guys really enjoyed yourselves! I never knew really any of the info about Houdini. I know the tricks he usually performed, but not how he did them or trying to go against Congress. Pretty interesting. I love seeing all of the photos from your adventure too! Your husbands face while he’s in the box is priceless =)


    1. I didn’t know anything other than the tricks he performed either going into this! So, it was really informative for me too! πŸ™‚ Haha and my husband didn’t want me to use that photo at first.. I’m glad I talked him into letting me put it on here. πŸ˜‰

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