ABRACADABRA! As the mission statement reflects, the Conjuring Arts Research Center is a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of magic and its allied arts, which include psychic phenomenon, hypnosis, deceptive gambling, mentalism, ventriloquism, juggling, and sleight of hand techniques.”
Based in the heart of New York City, the center appeals to practitioners and performers of the conjuring arts, academic historians, collectors, writers, and general enthusiasts; which serves to fill the gap between private collections of magic related history and information, and the public.
Accordingly, the crown jewel of this cultural institution is its magical library, housing over 12,000 volumes on the subject–over 500 of which are early printed works predating the year 1700. In addition to monographs, a variety of magic-related periodicals are also a part of the collection, some published as early as the 18th century. Included among the holdings, as well, is an extensive collection of unpublished manuscripts on magic methods, some dating back to the 15th century.
Additionally, the Conjuring Arts Research Center fosters and facilitates an outreach program directed toward disadvantaged youth and adults called Hocus Pocus. The focus of Hocus Pocus is not magic entertainment, but rather, magic education…the intended audience: patients at children’s hospitals, veteran’s hospitals, and at-risk youth. The goal of the program is to empower participants by introducing them to fun and accessible magic effects that, with some effort, they will master and be able to share in other settings. Among the desired outcomes aimed at by this program are relief from boredom and monotony, distraction from physical pain, emotional support, inspired curiosity, increased self-esteem, and FUN!
After all, who doesn’t like magic?!?