The West Virginia State Museum at The Culture Center
What's up with the fleas?
Reaching the pinnacle of their lavish career in the flea circus of New York City's Hubert's Museum in the late 1800's, Emmiline and Alexander joined the ranks of the immortal in 1906. Mrs. R. P. Dayton generously donated this celebrity couple to the West Virginia state collection. More than 100 years later, they serve as "Ambassadors of Hospitality" when you enter the lobby gallery.
What gives these two such a position of distinction?
They are the most popular artifacts in the collection. There are more inquiries regarding the whereabouts of this dynamic duo than any other single item. Many adults recall seeing the fleas when they were youngsters visiting the former museum in the capitol basement.
They are a symbol of what many collections used to be: a conglomeration of the unusual and extraordinary. While many museums have focused their efforts on mission and interpretation in the last half of the 20th century, wonderful collections of curiosities can still be found.
They have been the subject of national radio commentaries and sited as a "must see" attraction in a variety of publications.
And most important, they make us smile!