The Musée Mécanique: Strange Faces

A series of portraits of the (accidentally?) sinister puppets of the The Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. The soundtrack for this post is Sofi Tucker – Awoo, embedded above.

The Musée Mécanique is home to hundreds of historical 20th century penny arcade games still in working order. The collection includes photo booths, love testers, mechanical games, pinball machines, video games, fortune tellers, mechanized dioramas and music boxes. Entry to the museum is free but you gotta pay to play. 

Many of the games and dioramas contain hand crafted puppets or figurines with painted faces and detailed clothing. As I walked around the museum I started looking closer at their faces, posture, and the way the figures related to each other. The original style and themes combined with aging and disrepair created deeply macabre scenes which straight up delighted me. 

The Musée Mécanique was hands down my favourite thing about visiting San Francisco. Apart from enjoying the detailed scenes in the games, I spent hours observing people playing unselfconsciously in a way that adults rarely do. It was charming. 

I really think these puppets inspire great captions but I didn’t include any because I had too much fun making them up. I didn’t want to rob you of that joy but in return I want you to leave a comment with your best caption! 

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