In Renaissance and Baroque Europe, royal and learned collectors assembled in their own private ‘cabinet of curiosities’ (or also called ‘cabinet of wonders’) collections of objects from the realms of natural history, geology, archaeology and art to represent a microcosm of the world. A beach is such a microcosm as well, with its natural features that the activity of water, wind and time have formed, with creatures and objects that have been washed up or dropped.
The foot-sole museum at South Cayuga captures, as a small ‘cabinet of wonders’, the beach-microcosm of Lake Erie’s North shore. This shore, a meeting place of land and sea, abounds in million year-old fossils of crustaceans, as it does in smoothed fragments of coloured glass. The foot-sole museum offers scientific explanations on hand-written labels for every object.
There also are ‘lucky stones’, old fishing tackle, a vintage denture, a message sealed in a tiny container that floated down from Waterloo in the course of eighteen years….. And the museum building is a ‘fossil’ itself: a 1970s glass-and-aluminum telephone booth – possibly the world’s smallest walk-in museum. Visitors and supporters are encouraged to contribute any Found Objects Of The Shore Of Lake Erie.
Dr. Sabine Noack-Haley
You could fly to Paris, line up at the Louvre, and wait forever in a restless throng for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. You could spend your millions on a Faberge egg. You could shell out big bucks in search of unique, small-scale creations – or you could find some for free, close at hand in South Cayuga, Ontario. You never know what you’ll find displayed here, since the collection (including beach glass, flotsam, fossils, old lures, and other intriguing objects) is supplemented regularly with visitors’ lucky finds. The “footsole” in Footsole Museum stands for Found Objects On The Shores Of Lake Erie. The name has a certain ring to it—and so does the architecture, given that the collection is housed in a telephone booth. It’s definitely South Cayuga’s smallest walk-in museum. Is it the world’s smallest? You Paris-New York jetsetters ought to know.
Ania Szado, Author.