Clowning around could lead to a museum

October 11, 2012 by  

A Fort Lauderdale resident who inherited more than 13,000 items of clown memorabilia following the death of his father-in-law says he is now considering opening up a museum dedicated to the clownish artifacts.

Over the years, Richard Levine and his father-in-law, Jack Kline, would travel around Florida searching for figurines, paintings, and costumes to add to the collection. When Kline passed away in 2010, the collection of clown memorabilia was inherited by his widow but storage proved to be a problem. Levine inherited the collection but now has to decide how to fulfill the dream of his father-in-law of housing the collection in a museum.

Speaking to ABC News, Levine said that Kline had spent 50 years collecting clown memorabilia and longed to build and open a museum to house the collection, which includes a portrait of Emmett Kelly thought to be worth around $25,000. Levine and his wife met in 1975 and he started working for his father-in-law soon after their marriage. Kline could leave Levine to care for the business while he went off in search of clowns, although Levine often traveled with him.

Over the years, Kline’s clown collection was so large that he could open a small museum at his home in Winter Haven, which he called Clown Rushmore. Levine travelled from his home in Fort Lauderdale to Winter Haven numerous times to collect the memorabilia, thought to have a value of around $250,000. If he decides to open a museum to house the display, Levine will possibly utilize the poster printing services of local printing companies to ensure support for the collection.