Houdini is here!

June 5th, 2012by John RussickFiled under: Exhibitions, Stories

On Friday, May 25, 2012, one of the most famous and mysterious artifacts in magic history was uncrated in the gallery at the Museum. Typically, the milk can is stored in the collection of the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan. But for the next seven months it will be on display in the Museum’s newest exhibition, Magic, which opens on Saturday, June 9, and documents the history of magic in Chicago.


Museum preparator Elain O’Sullivan opens the crate holding the milk can Houdini used in one of his most famous escapes. Photograph by Enrique Gonzalez.


Registrars Julie Katz and Kathy Ludwig and curator John Russick prepare to remove the milk can. Photograph by Enrique Gonzalez.


Registrars Julie Katz and Kathy Ludwig and curator John Russick examine the milk can. Photograph by Enrique Gonzalez.

Houdini’s milk can was part of an extraordinary and mesmerizing routine. The handcuffed magician climbed into the water-filled metal can and was padlocked inside. Houdini easily escaped each time he performed this famous feat, and crowds were amazed again and again.


Houdini’s milk can is on view in Magic from Saturday, June 9, through the first week of January 2013. Photograph by Enrique Gonzalez.

Today, the secret of the milk can escape is known to only a few people. And you won’t discover how Houdini did it at the Museum—we’ve vowed to keep both the artifact and its secrets safe. But you will find a host of interesting stories of Chicago magic, lots of engaging interactive exhibits, and some remarkable live magicians. Please join us this Saturday at the opening—and bring your sense of wonder.

> Learn more about Magic

> Attend Magic events

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3 Responses to “Houdini is here!”

  1. John Cox (@HoudiniWild) Says:

    Wonderful! Can I share one of these photos on my Houdini blog?

  2. John Russick Says:

    Yes you can, John. Thanks for asking. The Chicago History Museum negotiated with all of the lenders to the exhibition to allow photography in the gallery too. So if you come to the museum and see Magic you can share images of your experience with anyone you wish.

  3. John Cox (@HoudiniWild) Says:

    Thanks John. I will post about this on my blog tomorrow. I’d LOVE to come and see Magic (but I live in LA). Looks fantastic. Thanks again.

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