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Tips sought on vandalization of rural roadside museum
South Sleepy Hollow Road
Museum vandalized
Smashed art and downed shelves littered the floor after vandals struck the Museum of Unremarkable Objects.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - Martha Querin-Schultz and her husband were enjoying a quiet evening at home Saturday June 11, when their dogs started to go nuts. 

Querin-Schultz curates the Museum of Unremarkable Objects, a gallery of artworks housed in a garden shed on her property along Sleepy Hollow Road. As the name implies, the gallery celebrates things like postage stamps and safety pins–simple objects otherwise unnoticed.

On Saturday, her dogs alerted her to a burglary-in-progress at the museum. She caught a glimpse of a silver sedan as it peeled out, leaving behind an empty beer can in the road, and a mess of smashed art in the museum.

“I cried, I screamed, and I said more naughty words than I have in a long time,” said the curator. 

The vandals also stole two artworks. Anyone with information is urged to call Crimestoppers or the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department.

Stolen Sculpture
The vandals stole two artworks from the museum: “Did He Meet Him?” by Wauzeka artist Larry Larsen and “The Unremarkable Manual Can Opener” by Rick Sanford from Boscobel (pictured above).

Roadside attraction

Querin-Shultz said she was inspired on a trip to Vermont.

“I am a huge fan of things that are quirky and little roadside attractions,” she said. “While seeing family, we went to the Museum of Everyday Life. I turned to my husband and said, ‘I want to do something like this at home.’” 

Querin-Schultz is an artist and expressed that the museum connects with her passion. 

“I already was making art out of reused and recycled things that people do not want,” Querin Schultz said. “So, I thought that I can make art out of unremarkable objects.”

Most of the displays featured at the museum are reused items. If anything is bought for the museum, it is purchased at either Goodwill or a Thrift Shop, Querin-Schultz said.

A happy accident

The outdoor section of the museum began with a fallen cottonwood in 2016.

“After it was cleaned up, my husband was going to grind the stump. ‘I said don’t! I have an idea for the stump. I’m going to put some stuff on it,’” she said. 

Querin-Shultz expressed that the idea for putting things on the stump is based on a tourist attraction in Mexico called the Island of The Dolls. 

“I have a love of making things out of baby dolls,” Querin-Schultz said. “I thought to myself, I am going to make my own little island of the dolls. So, I started doing dolls and soon other people who I have no idea who they are went ahead and left dolls too. Pretty soon, it evolved with over 50 percent of the objects that are here not being anything that I have done,” she said.

Trivial pursuit

Not only does the museum use reused and recycled art for the exhibits, but it also incorporates other interests of Querin-Schultz.

“It ties in with my love of trivia,” she said. “The museum also includes my vast knowledge of useless information. If I do a display with a toilet paper roll, I have to do the research on who invented the roll, when it was first used and the patent,” she said. “Everything that is in the museum, I have written history the about it. There is a book in the museum that includes what I wrote as well as a brief description by each item.” 

According to Querin-Schultz, not everything that is in the museum belongs to her. 

“About every month it grows,” she said. “People are always donating things. Rick Sanford and Joe Chamberlain, co-curators of The Little Free Art Gallery on Elm have done several displays in the museum. I have had displays sent to me from the States of Washington, Colorado and Florida,” she said. “Many people see the museum on Instagram and they message me and ask if they can send something to display. The people mail it to me and we display it.”

Although the museum is in rural Crawford County and not near a metropolis, it still attracts a lot of people according to Querin-Schultz. 

“On the weekends and evenings we hear them laughing and talking.” she said “We have comment cards in which we do get quite a few of those. I cannot even venture to guess how many people we get. Sometimes there are five to 10 UTVs parked with people walking around at a time,” she said.

Open year round, the museum is open for self-guided tours at 43525 South Sleepy Hollow Road near Mt. Zion

“Just stop by and enjoy,” Querin Schultz said. “I just ask that nobody take anything except photographs and share your ideas.”