The American Museum of the House Cat has officially opened in North Carolina, proving that we as a nation truly have not yet run out of ideas for quirky roadside attractions.
And quirky is indeed the word. Among the 10,000 or so artifacts included is a petrified cat pulled from a 16th century English chimney, its last meow frozen in time.
The museum opened back on April 1 in Sylva, which is 160 miles northwest of Charlotte, and its the brainchild of a guy known in that area as “The Cat Man.”
His true name is Harold Sims and he’s a retired college professor and cat shelter owner who has taken a love of house cats to the next level. His museum is not the only cat museum in the nation (one in Ohio holds nothing but Japanese toy cats), however, it’s the only one honoring house cats.
“My mission now is to display my collection in a museum where these items can be shared and enjoyed by all cat lovers, and provide a place where everyone can learn more about the house cat,” Sims stated on AnimalPeopleForum.org.
“The museum will be an educational institution where one can learn the history of the house cat, its place of origin and migration all over the world, and how the cat has interacted with humankind throughout the ages.”
Tours are completely self-guided, the staff is all volunteer and the museum is entered through an Antique Mall.
If the idea strikes you as a bit eccentric, keep in mind that North Carolina’s mountains are also home to the Aluminum Tree & Ornament Museum, the world’s only museum dedicated to vintage aluminum Christmas trees.
The Asheville Citizen-Times recently profiled the museum and went on to describe it as a place that highlights “the bond between humans and cats, from ancient Egypt to modern day.”
The collection, which was compiled over 30 years, includes antique cat toys from the 1930s, pet store advertising from centuries past, and a hand-carved carousel kitty, states the Citizen-Times.
The Web site RomanticAsheville.com states a highlight is a bronze of the feline goddess Bastet, dating back to 600 BC.
“On most days, Harold will be there to share interesting tidbits about items that fascinate you,” said RomanticAsheville. “You can’t see a petrified cat just anywhere – and it still has its whiskers!”
For details on the museum, you can visit catman2.org or you can call 828-293-0892.
Photo credits: Citizen Times │ h/t: www.charlotteobserver.com