Frequently Asked Questions

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zy'-mo-glyph'-ic, adj. [Gr. zyme leaven + Gr. glyphe carving] 
1. Of, or pertaining to, images of fermentation, specifically the solid residue of creative fermentation on natural objects
2. The collection and arrangement of objects, primarily either natural or weathered by natural forces, for poetic effect

Q: What does "zymoglyphic" mean?"
A:
This used to be the commonest question. It sometimes preceded "Hello." The formal definition is shown above and is posted in two places in the museum. The deeper ramifications of this important question have recently been analyzed in depth in "The Zymoglyphic Museum: Semiotics of a Fictocryptic Portland Institution" (Proceedings of the Society for Esoteric Museology). This article may be found on the museum's publications page.

Q: How did you find such a perfect word to describe your stuff?
A:
I made it up.

Q: How long have you been doing this?
A:
With the apparent success of the what-zymoglyphic-means awareness campaign, this question is now the most common. The museum welcomed its first visitor to the current location in December of 2016, but its roots go back to a childhood museum a half century ago. For details of the intervening years, see here.

Q: Is the museum kid-friendly?
A:
The museum is ideal for someone such as a junior nerd with a burgeoning collection of rocks and skulls, looking for creative inspiration. It is not, however, a children's museum with pushbuttons or even a good place to while away some time with the kids. Exhibits are fragile and should not be touched, so small children would need watching. Ultimately we rely on parental/guardian judgment.

Q: Do you give tours?
A:
No, the museum is best experienced as an individual or a in a small group, wandering and wondering. The curator will answer questions but does not lead a tour and group tours are discouraged.

Q: Do you rotate the exhibits?
A:
No, new ones just get packed in.

Q: What does your wife think about it?
A:
You can get the answer directly from the spouse's mouth! See here

Q: So you made all this? I thought this was a collection.
A:
All the artifacts and dioramas in the museum are assembled by me from mostly found, sometimes purchased or donated components. There is also a collection of art and artifacts downstairs by others which is in the process of being organized.

Q: Do you sell your work?
A:
As with any museum, the collections and exhibits are not for sale, but there is a museum shop! You can purchase prints, books, and souvenir merchandise online and at the museum. Postcards are available as well, but only at the museum.

Q: Why don't you sell some artifacts and dioramas?
A:
A few reasons:
- New works generally grow out of the museum and become an integral part of it.
- Anything made for the "tourist trade" would probably not be very inspired
- The works themselves are often fragile and not very archival.

Q: Do you get your ideas from dreams?
A:
No. I just put stuff together and see what happens. Sometimes I have dreams about a terrarium with some primordial ooze in it that is actually alive. Other times I will dream about art works that, in the dream, other people have made. I think, "Wow! I wish I had thought of that!". Which, of course, I did.

Q:What's your favorite piece?
A:
It's all one piece!

Q: Do you allow photography?
A:
Yes, in fact photography is encouraged. The museum maintains a special page for selected photographs taken by visitors.

Q: Hey, I've got a whole garage full of weird stuff!  Maybe I should start my own museum!   Any tips??
A:
Yes! The museum staff has compiled a handy booklet for patrons in just your situation! You can download it here (PDF). Should your museum develop an online presence, please inform the museum staff and you can be added to our list of affiliated institutions.

Q: Where can I see yet more questions answered?
A:
A couple of bloggers have done email interviews with the curator. You can see the results at Kicks Condor and Book of Cade.