Museums are having a moment right now. Despite the doors being locked, they’ve managed to use the power of the Internet in fun and creative ways to still engage with art lovers around the world.
Some are providing virtual tours you can take from the comfort of your couch. And now, museums are making headlines once again – this time challenging each other.
The only difference? You might not be able to sleep afterwards.
It all started on April 17 when the Yorkshire Museum in England took to Twitter.
MUSEUMS ASSEMBLE! It’s time for #CURATORBATTLE! 💥
Today’s theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!
We’re kicking things off with this 3rd/4th century hair bun from the burial of a #Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place…
CAN YOU BEAT IT? 💥 pic.twitter.com/ntPiXDuM6v
— Yorkshire Museum (@YorkshireMuseum) April 17, 2020
If that made your skin crawl, you may want to think about stopping here. Like the rest of us, museum curators have a ton of free time right now, and they’re digging deep into the archives to pull out some truly terrifying stuff.
We all thought museums were just pretty paintings and sculptures. Perhaps we weren’t paying attention.
Still reading? Fair enough. You’ve been warned.
It didn’t take long for museums across the globe to jump in on the fun.
First up, we have the most demonic looking bear you’ve ever seen.
Live from the Toy Museum of Penshurst Place, we present the Drinking Bear. Feed it a 2 pence piece and it’ll pretend to drink from its cup as it stares into your soul. #CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/ohNl2974UJ
— Penshurst Place (@PenshurstPlace) April 17, 2020
Why are his eyes red? Because…art, I guess?
Next up, we have a nominee for the “why is this even a thing” award.
Sheep’s heart stuck with pins and nails and strung on a loop of cord. Made in South Devon, circa 1911, “for breaking evil spells”, @Pitt_Rivers collections #CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/z5vdCFCU4S
— Dan Hicks (@profdanhicks) April 17, 2020
We really hope no one ever wore that.
Oh yeah, apparently people like mermaids?
— Natural Sciences NMS (@NatSciNMS) April 17, 2020
— Jim P. (@SeptimusKeen) April 17, 2020
The whole of the Booth Museum in Brighton. Here’s their merman pic.twitter.com/rmcNmmSGLb
— Prof. Fiona Candlin (@FionaCandlin) April 17, 2020
This wouldn’t be complete without some creepy dolls, right?
Our museum joined twitter solely to participate! This contribution is an early 19 c. wax child mannequin from Germany. It was stored face-down in a heated attic for many years, flattening its features into a snout. Please enjoy. #CreepiestObject #CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/W3kitF7Utt
— Museum of Fear and Wonder (@MuseumFear) April 21, 2020
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, we present ….
— Egham Museum (@EghamMuseum) April 17, 2020
Because it’s not like their whole collection is just effortlessly and generally creepy pic.twitter.com/NS6nSiU69D
— Paul Cowdell (@PaulCowdell) April 17, 2020
We have the world’s worst biscuit advertisement…
#Curatorbattle theme is #CreepiestObject and it’s #freakyfriday. Remember this the next time you reach for a biscuit. Promotional cutout for Huntley and Palmers Comic Cuts Biscuits, used @ Frank Baileys Stores, #Charlbury, #Oxfordshire, early 20th century. #OxonMuseums pic.twitter.com/8qglGnffZk
— oxonmuseum (@OxonMuseum) April 17, 2020
And a possessed children’s toy…
Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it “Wheelie” – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject pic.twitter.com/FQzMzacr8a
— PEI Museum (@PEIMuseum) April 17, 2020
And something that seems apt for the times…
Thanks for thinking of us @HottyCouture and wow, will we be having nightmares tonight with all these #CreepiestObject|s ! Here is the one we just can’t hide from you, one of our many creepy gems – our Plague Mask (1650/1750)! #curatorbattle pic.twitter.com/JrMjqAJSIM
— Deutsches Historisches Museum (@DHMBerlin) April 17, 2020
A quick search of #curatorbattles yields hundreds of results, so if you’re curious there’s plenty more to look at.
Who knew museums were so dark and distrubing?