What is it about these modest brown buildings on quiet West Maple Avenue in Ft. Mitchell that has attracted famous visitors from around the world, including magician David Copperfield, actress Candice Bergen and “America’s Got Talent” winner Darci Lynne Farmer?
Any dummy can answer that: It’s the Vent Haven Museum, the only museum in the world solely dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. Founded in 1973 by William Shakespeare Berger, who spent more than 40 years collecting ventriloquism memorabilia including puppets, scripts, playbills, recordings and more, it houses nearly 1,000 ventriloquists’ dummies used by entertainers over the past two centuries.
Speakers for this history hour are Annie Roberts, director, and Lisa Sweasy, director and curator of the Vent Haven Museum. Roberts’ involvement with the museum is nearly lifelong, starting with dusting dummies at age 10. She became curator in 1994 and served in that position for seven years during which time she created the first complete digital inventory and catalog of figures. In 2001, she was invited to serve on the Board of Directors; she also works as the media coordinator for the Vent Haven ConVENTion each summer.
Sweasy was curator of Vent Haven Museum from 2000-2008. In 2009 she joined the Board of Directors and became curator again in 2013. In addition to giving the tours of the museum, she focuses on archiving and preserving the photographs, playbills, correspondence, and library at Vent Haven.
Hosted by Shane Noem and Tara Johnson-Noem, vice president of the BCM Board of Trustees, “NKY History Hour” is a weekly offering of Behringer-Crawford Museum focused on Northern Kentucky history, featuring local authors, historians and archaeologists. “NKY History Hour” presentations are currently free to the public but may become a BCM members-only benefit in the future. To support “NKY History Hour” and access many other entertaining and thought- provoking programs for free, join BCM today at http://www.bcmuseum.org/…/membership-levels-and-benefits.