Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sidney Radner plans to open new Houdini Museum

The Republican reports that Sidney H. Radner, who at one time owned the largest collection of Houdini props in the world (including the Chinese Water Torture Cell), is seeking funds to open a new Houdini museum in his home town of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Radner, 88, is working on the new enterprise with Elizabeth C. Dobrska, a 19-year-old Mount Holyoke College student who sees the new museum as being an interactive experience. "I want it to be an interactive museum," said Dobrska. "I don't want it to be just artifacts."

Dobrska will serve as director of the museum which will also focus on the life and work of Radner himself.

The museum will be located at 147 High St., but before it can open, Dobrska and Radner need to raise $200,000 to renovate the building. "We are definitely searching for sponsors," says Dobrska.

Dobrska and Radner are optimistic because they believe many people will support a museum aimed at helping revitalize downtown.

While the bulk of Radner’s collection was sold at auction in 2004, he still has many Houdini-related items currently housed in Las Vegas. Those items will be shipped to Holyoke when the museum is ready to open, says Radner.

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