Offbeat: Museum of Imagination

August 9, 2004--Posted at 10:00 p.m.

BROCKWELL, AR--If you're not looking for it you'll miss it. Just a rocks throw off Highway 9 near Brockwell, AR, it's the Museum of Imagination.  It's Northeast Arkansas' answer to Washington's Smithsonian Institute, only on a smaller scale, a much smaller scale.

Albert and Barb Lorenzi are the founders, curators and tour guides. 8 years ago they migrated to Region 8 from Chicago and just 4 years ago they made a fateful decision.

"We just decided that the house was too cluttered and we had to clean it out," says Albert Lorenzi.

You see, the Lorenzi's are collectors of all things odd and unusual with a prevailing theme of natural history.

"Plant life, animal life, insects, any form of life on earth. Rocks, shells and any other kinds of actual organism that hav ever lived on the earth," says Lorenzi.

And let's not forget Lorenzi's prized "poop" collection, a true managery of manure.

"Yes, we do collect manure," says Lorenzi.

Back in March the museum opened to the public, by appointment. All in an effort to engage all who come inside.

"Opening up the mind," says Lornezi. "A stimulation of their curiosity. A stimulation of their mind to go home and open the book."

At each station there's an explanation and at some there are questions. The whole idea is not to be fun, not to be comical, and to spark interest in curiosity.

"If we were just showing objects then we wouldn't be here, because most of our objects aren't that good," says Lorenzi.  "By hook or crook we got some interesting objects to put into an exhibit and say something to us."

The Museum of Imagination is all about taking part in the greatest adventure of man. To think with knowledge and honesty.

"To see beyond the object seen," says Lorenzi.

The Lorenzi's want the public to be a real part of this effort. They'll do school tours in the fall and hope to get others to volunteer their time, initiate some ideas and offer their collections for display. If you'd like to make an appointment to tour The Museum of Imagination call the Lorenzi's at 870-895-2087.