Collection features rock legend, rodent icon

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Juneau fans of memorabilia are invited to come see what secrets lurk deep in the closets of friends and neighbors during the city museum's three-part Juneau Collectors Series, running from January through September.

In three separate shows, Juneau collectors will have a chance to share their private gatherings of unusual items and quirky collectibles with the public.

An opening reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, launches Part I of the series with Joel Orelove's "Elvis Lives in Juneau!" and "Mickey Mouse Memorabilia" collections.

In celebration of Elvis Presley's 75th birthday (Jan. 8, of course), the city museum will display a variety of almost a hundred Elvis-themed treasures, including a real sample of his hair, several Elvis nesting matryoshka dolls, handcrafts such as dolls and quilts made here in Juneau, and a wide assortment of other fun items from Orelove's personal collection.

According to Orelove, both Elvis Presley and Mickey Mouse are enduring American icons worthy of celebration, but for different reasons.

"Elvis changed everything. He showed the potential of mankind," says Orelove.

"He came from the most humble of origins and changed our culture, the music, dress, race relations, everything."

As for that loveable mouse, Orelove declares, "Mickey is the universal embodiment of what's near and dear to us. He's been around for over 75 years and is still going strong."

Orelove also points out that there is almost nothing in use today that doesn't have Mickey's image on it. His own collection includes everything from Mickey Mouse drain covers to can openers.

In the spirit of good old-fashioned American fun, the city museum's opening reception for this show will feature Elvis music, Elvis impersonators and one of Elvis' own favorite treats - jelly-filled doughnuts.

"We know there are many Elvis fans here in Juneau," says Director Jane Lindsey. "Because of this, the museum will be setting up an 'Elvis shrine.'

"We invite all of you fans to bring in an Elvis memento to adorn the shrine and take a moment to write a heartfelt note in memory of the King. All objects deposited at the shrine will be given to Joel Orelove at the conclusion of the exhibit to enhance his much beloved collection."

Be sure not to miss the Tlingit King, Leonard R. Johnson, from Angoon, who will attend the event in his prize-winning Tlingit Elvis costume from last year's Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Wearable Arts Extravaganza.

Join us at the city museum for opening night festivities, or drop in through Feb. 26 to check out the exhibit that collections curator Ellen Carrlee describes as "a burst of fun in the dark heart of Juneau's winter."

"Our community is full of creative and passionate people, and this is reflected in the things they choose to collect," says Carrlee, describing the Juneau Collectors Series as being "as much about a peek into the local personalities who collect as it is about the collections themselves."

The Juneau Collectors Series continues on March 4 with Michael Hunter's Keen Stuff, followed by Jeff Brown's Alaska Board Games collection on display from May 15 through September.

For more information, call 586-3572. Winter hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is at 4th and Main streets and is a program of the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department.

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