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Cryptozoo Museum Opens In Downtown Portland

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 13th, 2009

[First published September 13, 2009.]

This is big news!

It’s taken six years, but as of November 1, 2009, the International Cryptozoology Museum will publicly open in a permanent space in downtown Portland, Maine.

The three year lease is signed, the fund-raising can begin in earnest, your help is needed, museum patrons will be given teeshirts/footcasts (see below), and the doors are happily being flung open to a new dawn for the world’s only fully public cryptozoology museum. The times were often difficult, but the museum survives. The morrow is incredible and exciting!

After first being established in August 2003 via my modest home-based cabinet-of-curiosities in the Libbytown section of the Pine Tree State’s largest city, the International Cryptozoology Museum will have its grand public opening right after Halloween 2009, in downtown Portland, Maine.

The museum has found a public home at 661 Congress Street, in the Arts District, just down the street from the world-famous Portland Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum, and the State Theater, next to a local landmark, Joe’s Smoke Shop. Also, it will sit right across from The Fun Box Monster Emporium. What a wonderful neighborhood for a cryptozoology museum!

After years of planning, I am excited and energized by this remarkable move to a fully publicly venue, complete with regular hours, sharing space with the new downtown Green Hand Books, owned by Michelle Souliere, anomalist and editor of the Strange Maine Newsletter. (The “green hand” relates to the phantom appendage appearing on classic pulp novels.)

Cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, has been conceptualized since the 1940s, but the last few years have seen Bigfoot museums and cryptid exhibitions developed in a more organized fashion.

One great stimulation to the current evolution resulting in this public opening of the International Cryptozoology Museum occurred thanks to the exhibition, “Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale,” at the Bates College Museum of Art in 2006. Co-curated by museum director Mark H.C. Bessire and Kansas City Art Institute’s H&R Block Artspace director Raechell Smith, the genesis of that exhibition began in my front room.

Bates’ unique art show, with a nonfiction gallery room labeled “the future International Cryptozoology Museum,” started with discussions between myself, Bessire, then-Portland painter Sean Foley, international installation artist Mark Dion and international natural history painter Alexis Rockman. Foley, who first discovered he lived around the corner from my home but now lives in Ohio, and Bessire, the new director of the Portland Museum of Art, are godfathers, indeed, of this present move.

The centerpiece of the collection is the once elusive eight feet tall, 400-pound “Crookston Bigfoot,” created by Wisconsin artist Curtis Christensen, which was permanently added to the collection of the International Cryptozoology Museum in 2004.

The mission of the museum is to share the many items I have collected during the last half a century, with tourists, teachers, researchers, scholars, colleagues, students, documentary filmmakers, news people and the general public. I opened the International Cryptozoology Museum in a house I bought in Portland, Maine, under the spotlight of the media (ABC News visited the first week) and with a beginning trickle of invited visitors. Soon, Boing Boing TV, MonsterQuest, Lost Tapes, Weird Travels, and many more documentary film crews would come by.

The museum modestly began with sculptures and paintings created just for it, hundreds of cryptids toys and souvenirs from around the world, one-of-a-kind artifacts, a life-size 8 feet tall Bigfoot representation, a full-scale six-foot-long coelacanth model, over a hundred Bigfoot-Yeti-Yowie footcasts, jackalopes, furred trout, along with such Hollywood cryptid-related props as The Mothman Prophecies’ Point Pleasant “police” outfit, the movie P. T. Barnum’s authentic 3.5 feet tall Feejee Mermaid, the TV series Freakylinks‘ 11 ft long “Mystery Civil War Pterodactyl,” and some of the movie Magnolia’s falling frogs.

Special drawings, bronzes, paintings, and sculpture creations by the world’s leading cryptozoology artists are featured in the collection, from Richard Klyver, Lee Murphy, Duncan Hopkins, Peter Loh, Steve Goodrich, Bill Rebsamen, Jeff H. Johnson, Erik Gosselin, Paul Dini, and many others.

Photograph used with permission of Gregg Hale, Executive Director, Haxan Productions and Fox TV.

The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, also includes exhibits on the discoveries of “living fossils,” the successful cryptozoological stories. One of the most famous, of course, is the coelacanth. Many thanks to an anonymous individual who donated the six-foot-long fiberglass mount of a coelacanth, modeled from an actual specimen by Fantastic Fish Mounts of Florida.

Museum quality skulls also exist in the collection of Gigantopithecus, Paranthropus, Australopithecus, Panthera atrox, gorilla, chimp, lion, cougar, and much more.

And generous special thanks to the museum’s first five docents ~ Jeff, Jessica, Rob, Caleb and Malcolm.

The view from the front window of the museum’s new location. It’s just a “Fayette coincidence” that this is the image that jumped out at me from my first Google Earth search of the museum’s new address.

Keith P. Luke photo, used with permission.

“By Appointment Only” No Longer

The jump has been made from the regular emails asking for private showings of my home-based collection to the public grand opening of the International Cryptozoology Museum, timed to Halloween 2009!

I am extremely proud to announce the formal unveiling of the public museum in tourist- and education-friendly Portland, Maine, housing five decades of cryptozoological pieces, with regular hours (11 am – 7 pm Tuesdays – Saturdays, Noon – 5 pm Sundays). The price of admission to view the gallery cryptozoology museum space, for all ages, will be $5.00, plus any other donations you might wish to leave.


The logo was created by Duncan Hopkins, under the supervision of Loren Coleman.

One newsperson wrote in 2003: “The risky venture cost Coleman half of his retirement fund, but he expects it to pay off through the sharing of information.” (As it turns out, most of my small professor retirement fund is now gone, used to keep the museum alive to this point.)

So, now the serious business begins, with rents and electricity to pay, costs of moving the exhibition downtown, and much more to deal with, of course. Your assistance has never been more important. If you can donate, please do, below.

The museum grew and support from you, its fans and Cryptomundo readers, was ongoing. Thank you. Finally I am happy to say, the museum survives and will soon be regularly open to the public. The exhibitions will be enhanced and made more visitor-friendly.

This Feejee Mermaid is sculpted and painted by Erik Gosselin of Lifemaker Make-Up Effects of Quebec. Amber Waterman photo.

I call on all who are reading this and support cryptozoology to consider donating at least $10 each. A massive grassroots effort will get this museum off on the right foot.

For those that can afford it, for everyone that donates $100 or more, I will be sending you a limited edition International Cryptozoology Museum logo teeshirt, with the words “Grand Opening 2009″ on it, going to the generous donators such as yourself.

For any patron who wishes to send in a donation of $1000 (one thousand dollars) or more, I shall be sending to you ~ anywhere in the world ~ a first generation copy of an Orang Pendek footcast, plus the “Grand Opening” teeshirt.

Please click on the button below (not the one up top) to take you to PayPal to send in your donation.

If you wish to send in your donation via the mails, by way of an international money order or, for the USA, via a check or money order, please use this snail mail address:

Loren Coleman
International Cryptozoology Museum
PO Box 360
Portland, ME 04112

Thank you, and come visit the museum!!

Thank you, and come visit the museum at 661 Congress Street, Portland, Maine, on November 1, 2009!!

This educational/scientific/natural history museum is not a 501(c)3.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


28 Responses to “Cryptozoo Museum Opens In Downtown Portland”

  1. MattBille responds:

    I hope opening in a dedicated location convinces the IRS that this is a business! (I’d say it more strongly, but I fear them.)

    CONGRATULATIONS!

  2. dabode responds:

    Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you Loren.

  3. Andrew D. Gable responds:

    How eerily appropriate that it’s near a “Lafayette” sign!

    Congratulations on getting the museum settled.

  4. Ceroill responds:

    Huzzah! Congrats, Loren! I look forward to pics from the grand opening.

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    Congrats Loren!

  6. fuzzy responds:

    C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S, Loren…
    It has been a long time coming,
    but now a new direction in your life,
    a new credibility for Cryptozoology,
    and for Loren Coleman, Director!
    Bon Voyage!

  7. Michael Esordi responds:

    Glad to hear the news. I foresee a Believe It Tour field trip. Congratulations to you Loren and a big round of applause for Cryptozoology.

  8. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Congratulations Loren! I know this has been a long time coming.

    Look forward to celebrating in a few weeks.

  9. Ole Bub responds:

    Congratulations Loren….

    I wish you continued success….

    live and let live…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  10. Aztec Raptor responds:

    Congrats, Loren. I’m looking forward to celebrating soon. High five to Cryptozoology and the museum opening!

  11. tropicalwolf responds:

    I shall make the journey.

  12. WIDOW responds:

    That is awesome Loren! I will have to make a trip up your way to see it!

  13. Talysman responds:

    Congratulations on the new site, that is awesome news :)

  14. southernfriedbigfoot responds:

    Congrats!

  15. Shelley responds:

    It’s been said, but I will say it again–CONGRATULATIONS, LOREN! A donation is on its way to help. Wish I could see the final fruition–maybe in a couple of years if I can walk and travel again. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving guy or collection! I wish you many more years of happiness and high quality visitors!

  16. Desert Dave responds:

    Nice going Loren, way to hang in there.

    You Da Man! :)

  17. cryptidsrus responds:

    Congrats, Loren. May it endure for years to come. :)

  18. mystery_man responds:

    This is absolutely astounding news! Congratulations Loren. You truly have earned this. May this museum thrill and open the eyes of budding cryptozoologists both young and old.

    One more reason for me to get over to Maine one of these days, all the way over there on the other side of the world.

    I am immensely happy that this labor of love has succeeded for you. I wish you and the museum the best of luck.

  19. YowieLover responds:

    The best things are not easily achieved. Time, Patience, determination, and perseverance provide the foundation to ensure a long term success. I wish you well on this endeavor Loren and hope this leads to more success and wider public acceptance of the credible scientific study of crypto wonders.

  20. mfs responds:

    Fantastic! It truly is unique to have the world’s only International Cryptozoology Museum and located in the great city of Portland as I’ve had the honor to live and visit in the past. I will have to make a trip sometime in the near future to visit this landmark museum. Cheers and congrats Loren and may the museum have a very long and successful stay.

  21. scottc responds:

    A Lil’ Bigfoot, heartfelt Congratulations!!!

  22. c.stark responds:

    Congratulations! This is truly wonderful news, and an amazing accomplishment. :) My excitement is not only for you but also for all of the “walk-ins” who are about to discover the wonders of cryptozoology… Keep up the great work Mr. Coleman!

  23. ShefZ28 responds:

    Congrats!

    Now how far of a drive is it to Maine from Chicago?

  24. Dan Gannon responds:

    Wow! Congratulations, Loren! I think and hope that this public venue will be very popular!

  25. theo responds:

    Congratulations Loren! This is great news and come to think of it, one of the very few succesful Fortean attempts in making ones work of a lifetime more permanent. How often have we not read that collections of dedicated Forteans, ufologists and cryptozoologists were dispersed, stolen, purposely destroyed or simply put by the garbage.

    No chance here, now, thank God.

    Again, my compliments in having achieved all of this – in times like these. Perhaps now that someone will one day come knocking at your door to collate, catalogue and inventorise your magnificent library and digitally scan all your newspaper clippings, reports and research documents that you must have in great deal. Just imagine, a website as the digital representation of the Museum of Cryptozoology.

    You deserve it.

    Kind regards,

    Theo

  26. GraveyardMistress responds:

    Congrats, Loren! I’ll help spread the word on my blogs, too :) I am so glad everything has worked out, this museum is an invaluable resource for the cryptozoology word, and I hope it does very well.

  27. red_pill_junkie responds:

    This is fantastic news indeed. I join the many others who have already congratulated you, Loren.

    I wish God will grant me the opportunity to one day visit the International Cryptozoology Museum :)

  28. norman-uk responds:

    It seems the museum holds out an important prospect of education and entertainment for both young and old, happily combined. I would really like to see the footcasts and your (r) hobbit skull to name but two, plus all the other mysteries lurking. A great achievement on your part Loren and I hope and believe it will prosper. I wouldn’t like to see a sasquatch in it but certainly a dodo and maybe a post (full) life, post mortem old saola!

    I love it when a plan comes together!!!



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