About the Museum


Obscura Society visit, 2013/photo: Annetta Black

The Zymoglyphic Museum is the last remaining outpost of the once-thriving Zymoglyphic culture. Emigrating from its native mist-shrouded archipelago, it settled on a driveway at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac, in San Mateo, California, surrounded by a sea of mid-century tract housing, welcoming visitors (on occasion) for a decade and a half. It is currently in the process of extracting its roots for a relocation to Portland, Oregon, where a temporary annex is being constructed. Contact the museum to be put on the mailing list for any news concerning the Portland annex! Or you may peruse this Web site for a virtual tour.

What is it? A self-museum, a cabinet of curiosities, no, make that fishtanks of curiosities, with lots of little eyes secretly staring at you, and organic matter arranged into beings with souls.

The world's finest collection of artistic detritus

Today I discovered I'm a zymoglyphile...I'm chuffed pink to have found the proper name for my condition

Judith Hoffman
Frequently asked questions
"What does 'zymoglyphic' mean?" and other mysteries explained
How the museum came to be
The evolution of the museum from a 10 year-old boy's collection of rocks, bird nests, fossils, arrowheads, and marine animals
Views of the museum
Reactions to the museum from visitors both physical and virtual
Museum as muse
Artists and writers inspired by the museum and its collections
  • Photographs of the museum taken by Judith Hoffman, artist-in-residence
  • A gallery of photographs taken by museum visitors
  • Poems, sketches, and art inspired by the museum's collections
Events that the museum has participated in, on site and off
Affiliated and sympathetic institutions
Museums, libraries, esoteric societies, etc.
Curator's corner
Earnest exhortations, a quote collage, wakey wordplay, and a pair of satirical gestures
The Zymoglyphic Way
Philosophical foundations; or, the grand view
Creator's Manifesto
Becoming a true disciple of the Zymoglyphic Way
Literary guestbook
An imaginary guestbook, hosting writers from Shakespeare to Pynchon
"It seems to be some very extensive museum, a place of many levels, and new wings that generate like living tissue-though if it all does grow toward some end shape, those who are here inside can't see it."
Tour the museum with Joyce and Re-joyce!
"Well, come to The Zyglomorphic Amusing Rheum! Lots of fun with Finnegans Wake!"
Artist's statement
"...nascent dialectic between naive eccentricity and self-referential parody in the creation of an institutional persona..."
Curator's resume
"Objective: Integrate diverse elements from a wide variety of media into a conceptually unified syncretic framework..."

Disclaimers and legal amusements