Museums cropping up everywhere

Upstate New York is riddled with museums, landmarks, historical sites, preservation societies and the like. But here's one we haven't heard before: An outdoor museum for unspecified objects, consisting mainly of a giant wooden bobcat in a vacant lot.

Items for the museum will come from area residents, [artist Matt Bua] said, and can be placed in Plexiglas boxes or plastic sleeves for protection from the elements.

“I am building it as a structure but then it is open to the community to decide what goes in,” Bua told an assembly of Catskill entrepreneurs earlier this month. “I would like to build it and at least have it up for a year and see how it winters and let things go from there.”

Meanwhile, down in Sullivan County, a group is planning a bungalow museum.

"Many individuals and their children joyfully remember their summers here in the Catskills as some of the happiest moments in their life. But there is no physical, visual place to share those memories again," organizers said in a news release.

The news story linked above doesn't mention his name, but we're pretty sure the museum plans are the work of artist Raymon Elozua, a dedicated mapper, curator and chronicler of all things bungalow. While the Borscht Belt nostalgists may not (yet) have a physical spot to store their memories, the deteriorating bungalows of the Catskills have a home online at Elozua's website, Here's an excerpt from his manifesto:

Here, as I traveled the local back roads, I would spot a rusty swing set or a rotting handball wall in the empty fields, concrete steps leading nowhere or hand-laid stone columns marking an entrance to a vanished hotel now overgrown with trees and brush. For all the structures I have photographed, an equal, if not greater amount, have been lost to vandalism, demolition, fire and nature. These architectural ruins have many thousands of personal stories within them, stories that are now memories at best, but mostly forgotten, and rarely documented. The ruins still standing are emblematic of the cycles of life and death, of dreams, visions, experiences, of individuals and nations.