I wasn’t sure what to expect at the Mermaid Museum. Was it going to try to convince me that they are real? Or wait, are they?! I must say I still have no definitive answer as to whether they exist or not upon leaving, but what I do know is that they have a much larger historical influence than I ever knew, and the evidence of them existing is actually really interesting.
The history of the building and whimsical mermaid references
But what makes this museum even better than just a historical look back at the human race’s obsession with these mythical creatures, is the tongue-in-cheek, whimsical references, to all different sorts of aspects of a mermaid’s life. From the snacks they eat, to the pets they keep, the Mermaid Museum is a perfect blend of fact and fantasy, set upon a backdrop of beautiful music, in a beautiful former secret Odd Fellows lodge, and a ceiling that I would like to install in a future home one day when Pip is a movie star and we have things like vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Maybe, what I really need is to create a Pip the Beach Cat Museum in an old antique property and just live there with Pip. Anyway, back to the Mermaid Museum. I don’t want to give away too much but I will walk you through the layout and why I think it’s so cool, and a great addition to the town of Berlin.
How to get there and How much it costs
Just next to the Atlantic Hotel and a half step off of main street, the Mermaid Museum’s wooden staircase welcomes you to its front door, if you’re lucky you may also see bubbles floating about outside the entrance. Up the stairs you go and are able to enter the gift shop, which is filled with handmade and other curated items, worth a look on the way out; as well as, the front desk where you purchase your ticket to enter. Currently it is $11 per person with all children under 3 being free. There is a little hole in the door where you can peak into the space, but otherwise you must wait until you enter to see the displays.
The museum is being curated by a local photographer Alyssa Maloof, in what was her photo studio. As I think any artist would, she began to realize that this space needed to be used for something extraordinary. And so she got to work. It is very clear that she has an innate ability to balance all the different pieces on display, and place them in a visually appealing layout, both within their own display cases, and the museum as a whole. I was truly impressed with how well everything was placed together, and how much information was spread through the space. It really makes you want to keep circling back to make sure you didn’t miss anything in the last thing you were looking at.
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering is a trunk full of costumes and accessories where you can easily dress up as a mermaid or sea creature while you enjoy your visit. Children are also told to see how many little mermaids they can find throughout the museum for a special prize if they are right— and I personally witnessed many enjoying this little hunt as they looked through the displays.
The FeeJee Mermaid
The walls are covered with historic information, where I learned the most about the origins of mermaids and our obsession with them. If you think this is a new trend, it is not! While learning how far back (we’re talking ancient civilizations) we’ve been seeing mermaids was really cool- I was most fascinated by P. T. Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid and how far people would travel to see it in person, and how much they would pay! Even cooler, the Museum has acquired its own Feejee mermaid (sometimes called Fiji Mermaid), which turned out to be Pip’s favorite exhibit, and I must say, quite thrilling to get to see this piece in person considering the history of it.
There is a wall where you can draw a mermaid yourself, some fish sticks to play with, a movie to watch, and below each display case are peep holes you can peer into as well— plus a bathtub you are allowed to sit in- that- if you position yourself correctly, will make you look like a mermaid as well! The entire room is centered around a beautiful fountain that water quietly flows through situated under a beautiful chandelier.
The Cheeto Mermaid
I asked several children who have been to the museum more than once what their favorite part of the museum was, and they almost unanimously responded, “the Cheeto mermaid!!!” And I must say, they’re not wrong. After the year we’ve all had, I think it’s really nice to just look at a Cheeto shaped mermaid and smile.
So if you’re in Ocean City for vacation, you’ll want to go to Berlin for at least a day, or consider making that your main attraction! I mean it is the birthplace of Pip the Beach Cat! We’ll have more on this quaint little town our whole family grew up in, but for now, enjoy these lovely photos of Pip on his first visit to the newest attraction in Berlin, the Mermaid Museum. Photos are by us and Alyssa Maloof Photography
A Look At Pip’s Visit to the Mermaid Museum in Berlin