Dracula’s North American Road Trip Extravaganza
Happy Halloweek, dear readers! I hope you’re all enjoying obscene amounts of candy and watching scary movies to celebrate (if you want recs, please hit me up. Please.) In honour of the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve decided to take time out of my busy vampire movie marathon schedule to give you all a little treat in the form of a new article! Even better than a full-sized candy bar, I know.
The Mütter Museum (you may remember them from my article on skeletons and human-bound books last year) has proclaimed 2022 as the Year of Dracula (if you’re me, every year is the Year of Dracula, but I digress). Dracula was published by Bram Stoker in 1897 and has since become a cultural icon. While it was not the first vampire book, it’s the one that’s arguably had the most significant cultural impact with Dracula becoming synonymous with vampires and inspiring countless movies, plays, a Sesame Street character, and books. As a result, Dracula’s impact has extended into museums all around the world. So, it was only natural that I compiled a list of some of the coolest Dracula-related objects found in museum collections.
First up, we have the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia (Dracula having such a presence in Philly wasn’t something I expected, but alas, I imagine European castles can only be interesting for a few centuries before you need a change). Amongst the Rosenbach’s impressive holdings are an early manuscript of Dracula and Stoker’s copious research notes and newspaper clippings.
Next, onto sunny Los Angeles (presumably, Dracula prowls the Sunset Strip at night). Here, at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, we can find the cape Bela Lugosi wore in the 1931 film adaptation of Dracula. They won’t let you try it on but seeing it in person is a close second.
Move over Klimt, there’s a new kiss in town. Andy Warhol’s The Kiss (Bela Lugosi) can be seen on display at The Broad, on the other side of Los Angeles and is perfect for all you art fanatics. You might be thinking (as I did): What? Andy Warhol did a Dracula piece? Yes, he did and it’s glorious! The screen print depicts Lugosi’s Dracula poised over Helen Chandler’s Mina from the 1931 film. If you find Campbell’s Soup Cans too mainstream, this is the perfect option for you.
Of course, Dracula can be found on the East Coast too, more specifically in New York City (read that in Lazlo Cravensworth’s voice). While it’s not exactly an object, photographer Martha Swope captured the 1973 Broadway revival of Dracula through photos. The sets, designed by Edward Gorey, feature his distinctive gothic style and suit Dracula’s story perfectly while also providing the inspiration for your next home reno.
Finally, I urge you to all lock your windows because Dracula has found his way to Toronto. Head to the Lillian H. Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library (a mere 10 minutes from campus) and you can meet Dracula, if you dare. The library owns the first edition of Stoker’s novel which can be viewed by the public. Fieldtrip, anyone?
Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope it doesn’t suck!