Chicago has its share of world-class and quirky museums, but few have the storied past of the Museum of Holography. The West Loop spot was open from 1974 to 2009, and now it's getting a new life, thanks to dedicated Chicagoans who want to see the unique museum returned to its former glory.
Moshe Tamssot, a Toronto native who toured the museum more than 20 years ago when he first moved to Chicago, is spearheading the effort to bring the holography collection back to the city. He sees the collection, which has collected little more than dust in the last several years, as something worth saving.
"Every piece we've recovered is a hidden gem in my eyes," Tamssot said. "We saved art from destruction. Holograms are a body of human expression. Just like painting, sculpture and photography."
The science and art of holography is what attracted Loren Billings, a former Ice Capades skater, to create and grow the world's largest hologram collection, which even attracted celebrities like Michael Jackson back in 1988. Run by Loren and her husband, journalist Robert Billings, the museum thrived for years.
After years of neglect as the building was sold and the collection crammed into a dank basement, Tamssot diligently followed the trail.
"I couldn't believe someone would actually treat art like that when there would be museums happy to accept the donation," he said. "So I set myself to the mission of finding an individual, corporation or public institution committed to keeping the collection intact and on public display in Chicago."
This led to the December 2014 HoloRescue Exhibition and a benefactor who purchased the contents of the collection. Now the job is to sort through the chaos and relaunch.
"This is a slice of Chicago history. It was, and will be again, the West Loop's first museum, " said Tamssot. "We're hoping the MOH can take its place next to all the museum's in Chicago, large and small."
The HoloRescue 2.0 Exhibition is now set to appear at SoHo House on July 28. The collection will take over the fifth floor of the hotel, with cocktails and presentations from 7 to 10pm.