They Belong in a Museum!

From the Tacoma Public Library Archives
From the Tacoma Public Library Archives

Ugh! As I recently mentioned in an update to my Bigfoot in Never Never Land post, the Never Never Land figures that have been sitting in a basement for years are now being sold off individually through Broadway’s Best Antiques in Tacoma.

In a nod to Indiana Jones’ passionate feelings about the Cross of Coronado– they belong in a museum!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-wXfFTokGQ

Specifically, they belong in the Washington State History Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, or the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Last week I emailed these museums along with the other major art and pop culture museums in Seattle and Bellevue. Unfortunately, although the Washington State History Museum would be a great home for these, they do not have the budget to purchase them. They could only accept them as a donation— meaning someone else has to buy and pay for them, then give them as a gift. http://www.washingtonhistory.org/wshm/default.aspx

I must thank SAM and BAM for being so quick to reply, with SAM suggesting either WSHM or the Museum of History and Industry. I’d already contacted MOHAI but have not heard back. I’ll try again. They literally just opened their new digs a few weeks ago and it would also be a superb place to house these figurines, http://www.mohai.org/.

I’d also emailed the Weekly Volcano, which is where I first heard that the figurines were being sold, http://www.weeklyvolcano.com/mudroom/features/2012/12/never-never-land-figurines-for-sale-at-broadways-best-in-tacoma/. I wanted to know how to get in touch with the current owner and ask him if he’d considered donating them. I don’t know how much their monetary values matters if they’ve just been parked in a basement for years. I have yet to hear back from them.

Commenter Dave L. at that post mentioned that not only do these figures have great sentimental value to baby boomers and Generation Xers who grew up in the Puget Sound, but the artist is of note: Elek Imredy is no small name in the world of public art, and his bronze works are in places such as Stanley Park. Though he passed away in the 90’s, I’m quite sure he still has family in Vancouver BC. These pieces represent even more than our beloved Never Never Land. For a bit more on Imredy’s work, see http://memorybc.ca/elek-imredy-fonds;rad.

My next step is to email Broadway’s Best and see if they would be interested in participating in a push to get these into an appropriate museum. Why would they if they’re going to profit from their sale, you ask, but you never know until you pose the question. With the right support, a coordinated effort could buy these figures and land them in a proper home. One more place I’m going to seek support, if they have contact info., is at the at least one Facebook page devoted to Never Never Land, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Never-Never-Land-Tacoma-WA-Point-Defiance/365350772548.

I’m just sick that these are going to be sold off individually. I know that most of the people who express an interest in buying them are likely to give them good homes. But this is a double tragedy because it was neglect and vandals who shut Never Never Land down in the first place, not just age, and now it’s being divided into for-profit bits when these used to belong to the public.

Ideas, anyone? You can contact me through the comments feature– your thoughts don’t have to be posted publicly if you don’t want them to be. Please just indicate that.

Looks like the News Tribune has written an article about this as well and provides a little more background on how things came to this: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/01/02/2422093/never-never-land-figurines-pieces.html.

For those unfamiliar with Never Never Land, it was a part of Point Defiance Park in Tacoma that featured a number of nursery rhyme characters posed in the woods. It was a favored gathering place of kids from the 1960s into the 1990s (except when I saw Bigfoot there– https://wildninja.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/bigfoot-in-never-never-land/).

Okay, so, let’s figure this out, people! If you are a buyer or know one who can pull this off, it’s Lynette Miller, the Washington State Historical Society’s head of collections, that we need to get in touch with. Thank you!

Update: I’ve learned that 2/3 of the figures have already been sold and some will be displayed in Tacoma retail establishments. The Tacoma Parks Department might still have some though… checking. It sounds like there were past attempts to park these in a museum… looking into that. 

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I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums. -Steven Wright

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©2013 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

2 thoughts on “They Belong in a Museum!

  1. Never Never Land is actually coming back soon! The figures that were sold was from another location (Ontario). MetroParks still has the figures from Tacoma’s Never Never Land. I have also talked to the person who managed the place for almost 20 years and he has a lot of information for the restoration. We hope to be open by April 2021.

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    1. I checked out your website and Facebook page. I’m not sure how to sign up for updates. It would be good to know more about who’s behind this and what’s involved. There will also need to be some security considerations such as how to deal with graffiti, vandalism, and theft. Please keep me posted.

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