If you’ve ever been to one of the 826 stores around the country (Superhero Store in Brooklyn, Cryptozoology in DC etc), you’ve sort of stumbled through a version of the Museum of Jurassic Technology that Lawrence Weschler describes here. The difference is that while those stores are storefronts for a local tutoring nonprofit and that everyone is in on the joke. But for the museum of Jurassic Technology, there’s a level of seriousness to it all that adds to the wonder and charm. It’s like going to a Ripley’s Believe it or Not, without the “or not”. So there’s no breaking kayfabe, and there’s no ulterior kind of purpose. The various exhibits described here do range from the true to the “true” adding to the level of credulousness that someone might experience on a visit.
Add to this the tone and writing of Weschler in treated his subject with real seriousness. There’s some discussion of veracity of the claims and the veracity of the proprietor, but there’s also a level of research and depth here that makes the writing just as convincing as the exhibits themselves. The book is blurbed left and right with comparisons to Calvino and Borges, and while that’s accurate, it’s also a little too on the nose. I decided instead to treat it more like Errol Morris’s documentary Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control where the discussions of the subjects is more important than the exploration of the content.