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.