2012 Road Trip Photos #33: Underground Salt Museum, Part 3 of 3: Hollywood Under Glass

The curators of the Underground Salt Museum realize that visitors want their money’s worth for the experience. Staring at shelves filled with real film canisters and acid-free storage boxes isn’t the most stimulating visual aid to the average tourist. Either to drive home their mission statement or to dazzle and delight us, the tour ends with a collection of sample movie props that have been forwarded to Underground Vaults & Storage for permanent preservation. If American civilization ends and the next wave of settlers happens to be searching for clues as to the leisure-time predilections of their predecessors, the contents of this fortified entertainment bunker will tell them all they need to know about the movies and characters that meant the most to all of us, that transcended commerce and became High Art worth saving from oblivion.

They’ll also see the Mr. Freeze suit from Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin.

Mr. Freeze suit, Batman and Robin

(Having seen it up close, now I understand why Schwarzenegger was cast in the role. I’m not sure any other actor could have donned that armor without being crushed.)

If you prefer more heroic togs, UVS houses one of the few genuine Superman suits in existence that hasn’t already been acquired by the Superman Museum in Metropolis, IL. Full disclosure: this one wasn’t worn by Christopher Reeve or George Reeves, but by Dean Cain on TV’s Lois & Clark.

Superman suit

This miniature Daily Planet represents for the world of Superman on the big screen rather than TV. It’s from Superman Returns, but try not to hold that against it.

Daily Planet miniature, Superman Returns

From the world of rarefied Academy Award-winning films comes this authentic article of James Dean wardrobe from Giant, his final film before his passing. I’ve seen far tackier museums in other states that I could just envision using that factoid to justify labeling it, “James Dean Death Shirt”.

James Dean Giant Shirt

From the world of disappointing sequels comes this reminder of one of the zillions of Agent Smiths from The Matrix Revolutions that weren’t CG copy/paste screen-fillers. Note the large photo of a typical UVS corridor that’s used here as a backdrop, possibly to convey the impression that your world is not real.

Agent Smith suit, The Matrix Revolutions

Speaking of men in black, behold the arsenal that made Jay and Kay real men.

Men in Black gun machines

If you prefer scientific surveying to military hardware, we present Dorothy II from Twister, now several stories below the surface, where no storm can ever reach or be measured by her ever again.

Dorothy II, Twister

Younger viewers who know their holiday movies will be frightened and confused when you try to convince them this monster’s name is Jack Frost. They’ll protest, insist nothing like this appeared in Rise of the Guardians, and furrow their brows when you waste their time trying to explain who Michael Keaton was. Just don’t.

Jack Frost, Michael Keaton

Thus endeth the whimsical legacy tour of the Underground Salt Museum, one of the world’s largest walk-in time capsules. Our vacation, Day Eight, and our day in Hutchinson still weren’t over yet.

To be continued!

[New readers and completists: be sure to check out the 2012 Road Trip checklist for the ultimate reading guide, still in progress. Thanks for reading!]

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