Some may know him as bigfoot, yeti or yowie, but no matter the nomenclature, the Lacey Museum is going to bring the history and mythology of the crypto-hominid to life with the exhibit, Sasquatch Revealed. Guest curator and sasquatch researcher, Chris Murphy, has acquired a diverse collection of art and artifacts throughout his 25-year quest for sasquatch and has cultivated his collection to demonstrate the rich history of the folklore and cultural phenomenon. Sasquatch Revealed begins on May 31, and the opening day event will feature guest speakers, guided tours, and family-friendly activities.
Guest Curator, Chris Murphy, began searching for evidence of sasquatch in Canada in 1993. Through his research, Murphy found that the depiction of a hominoid creature wandering through the wilderness has been a part of the belief system of numerous Native cultures for millennia. “There are 157 different names for it, but if you interpret those names, they all mean basically the same thing,” explains Murphy. “A large, hairy ape-like creature that walks in the woods. Sometimes they’re held in reverence, and sometimes they’re held in fear.”
The concept of the sasquatch known in pop culture today stems from a California news report in the 1950s. A construction worker installing a road noticed abnormally large footprints in the forest and reported his findings to the nearby town. Locals from the area were familiar with the footprints and had long referred to the mysterious being as “Bigfoot.” The construction worker created a mold from one of the footprints and took it to the local newspaper, which ran the story. Soon after, the Associated Press picked up the report and published it across the country. “When it hit the news in the US, bigfoot just went crazy,” says Murphy. “Everyone wanted to know all about it. Sasquatch and bigfoot became household names. Now, I don’t think you would find a kid in the United States who doesn’t know what a bigfoot is.”
In addition to field research, Murphy has written and co-written multiple books on the subject of sasquatch, including a theory on the creature’s habitat. “We’ve recently completed Sasquatch in British Columbia,” says Murphy. “Because that is where I believe the sasquatch comes from. The interior of British Columbia has never been explored. You can’t get in there. It’s too rough. Thousands and thousands of square miles that have never really been explored. You can fly over it, but to explore it, you would have to walk it. I do believe the sasquatch perhaps inhabits that particular area. I haven’t seen a sasquatch, but I’ve talked to about 100 people who have. I’ve seen footprints and I’ve seen casts and there are so many people who have sworn that they have seen them.”
Now that sasquatch holds an interest in the broader culture, Murphy hopes to settle the mystery of the crypto-hominid once and for all by creating a scientific discipline to determine sasquatch’s existence. “I call it a cultural phenomenon on the fringes of science, because we haven’t proven it yet,” explains Murphy. “But we have all these thousands of sightings. The study is called hominology, the study of homins. Homins are things like sasquatch, yeti, yowie, yeren and the Russian snowman. We meant for our book, The Making of Hominology, to go before the scientific world and get some scientific involvement. We need anthropologists and field researchers and backwoodsman to go out there and they can’t do it for nothing, they have to have some support. So hopefully that book is going to take us to that point.”
This sasquatch exhibit has been in circulation since 2004 and the Lacey Museum will be its ninth showing after being displayed in Vancouver, Indianapolis, Idaho, and Yakima. The May 31 opening will feature numerous guest speakers, including field researchers, Tom Steenburg and Paul Graves, and adventurist, Ron Morehead. The Lacey Museum exhibit will feature Murphy’s 25-year collection of sasquatch research, history, art and pop culture references. “The first thing that’s going to blow your mind is all the casts,” explains Murphy. “All the footprint casts, they’re in there. Photographs of all the different artifacts and artwork. Posters, statues, a model sasquatch foot and hand, sculptures, dioramas, and masks will also be on display.”
Murphy is anticipating the public’s reaction to Sasquatch Revealed and is excited to distribute more information about sasquatch’s mystery and future research. “I’m looking forward to the reaction of people who come to this exhibit because it’s got everything,” says Murphy. “I’m excited for Lacey, because I think that it’s a great little museum and you’re probably going to get quite a few people from here over the months. I’m excited to see what the visitors are going to say.”
Sasquatch Revealed will open at the Lacey Museum on May 31 and will be on display throughout the summer. To learn more about the exhibit and opening day festivities, visit the City of Lacey website.