So Many Magical Treasures at New York Historical Society’s Summer of Magic: Treasures From the David Copperfield Collection! By Waverly W., 9 years old, and Mom, 49 years old 🙂
The Mom here! Get ready for a magical summer! New York Historical Society has teamed up with amazing award-winning magician/illusionist David Copperfield to bring us an exhibition adults and kids just have to see to believe! Not only have they brought us a fascinating exhibit complete with rarely-shown artifacts from The Golden Age of Magic (Houdini’s handcuffs!!) from David Copperfield’s personal collection, this is truly an all-encompassing, entire summer’s worth of magical talks, programs, and free film screenings! We were already super excited to check out this amazing exhibit and to explore NYC’s connection to magic during a press preview – but when David Copperfield himself suddenly appeared to lead the tour along with Cristian Petru Panaite, Assistant Curator of Exhibitions, we knew this was no illusion – the morning became even more magical!Waverly here! Yep, it was no illusion – the one and only David Copperfield himself was there at the exhibit opening to personally walk us through it. I saw him standing to the side and whispered to my mom, “Mom, that’s David Copperfield!” Mom said, “Shhh!! Quiet!! No, it’s not, now let me hear this!” LOL – I guess sometimes Mother doesn’t know best….then he stepped up to the podium and gave a little speech, and then took us on a personal tour of all the amazing things they have on display! He told all about his early life as a ventriloquist (yes, that’s how he started!) and how his magic career got started and grew throughout the years. It was so interesting learning all about how he was a young boy who was interested in being a ventriloquist but needed a new dummy…so he found his way to Macy’s where they had a magic counter, and suddenly his interests changed and his amazing career in magic began!
Yes, before he was world-famous , super successful David Copperfield, he was a kid like me, just a kid with a big dream, in those days, he was “Davino the Boy Magician!” We loved hearing all about his magical journey and being inspired to keep on following our own dreams!
We learned all about the old magic shops that were all over New York City a long time ago. “It was like being in heaven” for the young magician, and it sounds so cool to this kid, too! The exhibit shows you just what it was like inside one of those old-time magic stores – it was so interesting to see!
He also explained why magic was – and still is – important. Without magicians, some of our technology would never have been invented. For example, the first Smart Home, with doors that open “magically,” was invented by – you guessed it – a magician! And long before there were radios, there were earpieces hidden inside the turban of Alexander, The Man Who Knows. So, before these things became reality, they were imagined and created by magicians. At this very magical exhibit, you can check all this out for yourself and you can “try on” one of those famous turbans, like I did! As he walked us around to see all the cool artifacts, he told us really interesting stories and we learned all about great magicians of the past like Herrmann the Great and of course Harry Houdini, and some not so great ones like Chung Ling Too – who fooled everyone and ended up dying during a bullet catching trick that also killed 15 other people who tried it. Kids – do NOT try that at home!! How did he fool people? Hmmm….you’ll have to see the exhibit! I learned from David Copperfield that this poster of Herrmann the Great was first adorned at Martinka’s Magic Shop.
We saw so many amazing and interesting things!! Here are the actual nesting boxes used in a trick that was performed for Teddy Roosevelt and his family by magician Harry Keller. Speaking of Harry Kellar, David told us that he was the inspiration for the wizard in The Wizard of Oz! We were then led to Houdini’s Metamorphosis Trunk, where he would “change into” his wife Bessie. (Note from Mom: I’m still letting it sink in – to be led by David Copperfield to Harry Houdini’s artifacts….can you imagine? Does my kid understand how incredible this was? Chills!!)We also saw his straightjacket and the milk can from his original act, the Milk Can Escape:
I saw some cool movies on the wall of some of the great escapes Houdini made in that jacket – wow!
We took a quick break to levitate….this was a really magical moment that you can have, too, when you go see it for yourself!
And posed for a quick selfie (another magical moment!!
Then David told us more about himself and how his passion is not only for magic but also for telling stories, and how he had the idea of telling a story about an escape, which led to the invention of his history-making act….THE DEATH SAW! He explained that before he introduced the world to this act, it was only females in boxes who were sawed in half. He took away the box and made history with his very unique way of telling the story of the magician who could not stop the saw, got cut in half in front of the audience’s eyes, and then turned back time, magically, to put himself back together again. He told us that the first time the audience ever saw that trick, they freaked out! I can see why! You have got to see this, if you haven’t already – and you CAN see it, both a video of the act, plus the actual Death Saw, and so much more magical and amazing artifacts, right here in NYC at the New York Historical Society. Go see it – you will be amazed – before it disappears! Take it from the kid who knows, because she saw it! You will want to see this, too.
Mom here again! This was such a fabulous way to spend our morning – even if David Copperfield hadn’t magically appeared (thanks for that unexpected awesome surprise, New York Historical Society!) to personally take us on a tour, it would have still been one of my and Waverly’s favorite exhibits of all time – and we see a lot of exhibits! It is hard to describe the feeling I got when being in such close proximity to so many authentic, historical artifacts – it was…ok, it was magical, and more! Many of these extremely rare treasures are from David Copperfield’s personal collection – you really have to see them while you have the chance. Experience this magic for yourself and for your kids – do not let it “escape” you! Thank you so much to New York Historical Society and David Copperfield for not only displaying such awesome items for the regular “non-magical” people like us in NYC, but for showing us that on any ordinary day, a magical moment can materialize just when you least expect it. We will definitely be back to spend some more time here this summer – and we will also be checking out some of the other magic-themed weekend events and programs they have planned. Parlor Mind Reading? Magic Workshops? And how about an evening with Emmy winning, groundbreaking “Living Legend” David Copperfield? I can tell you firsthand that he is friendly, funny, and a fabulous speaker on all things magical. Take it from “The Mom Who Knows” (couldn’t resist). New York City just got even more magical…see you behind the curtain at
Summer of Magic: Treasures From the David Copperfield Colletion
For more info:
Summer of Magic
New York Historical Society
And of course….David Copperfield