Paul Boyer, Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings
1205 M Street, Belleville, Kansas, 66935, United States
The museum is now run by his daughters and is open seasonally during the afternoon, May to September, or by appointment, for a nominal fee.
About the Artist/Site
Paul Boyer, who grew up in Aurora, Kansas, had carved as a youngster and also showed significant mechanical abilities, although he did not attend secondary school, nor does he have any higher education or formal training in carving or clock making, or in art and engineering. In 1965, at age 35, he lost his leg in an accident, and, adding insult to injury, the blood transfusion necessitated by the operation infected him with hepatitis C. Unable to return to work, he started to fill his time crafting animated dioramas composed of wood, metal, and other reclaimed materials. These exacting automatons, most hand carved pieces in pine, cedar, or walnut and animated with hand-built motors and mechanics of pulleys and gears, emanate straight from Boyer’s imagination, skipping the blueprint phase. In order to share his work with the public, in 1997 Paul Boyer and his family opened a small museum highlighting Boyer’s fantastic, whimsical, mechanical contraptions.
Boyer’s paintings, caricatures, comic strip doodles, and other artwork by various members of the creative Boyer clan cover the walls of the large entry room of the gallery. Around the corner, the main room of the museum houses the animated carvings, each behind glass. Push a button on the wall and the art whirls into action. Dioramas include humorous scenes of musicians banging wildly on drums, people playing golf, and moonshiners stealing a quick drink of hooch while the boss is looking the other way. Other pieces are not as literal and are more conceptual in nature. One of the more amazing sculptures consists of about a dozen silver marbles rising up an elevator and rolling through a series of chutes before free falling squarely onto one of six perfectly calibrated drums, ping ponging to another drum, and then landing in a chute that leads back to elevator. The effect is chaotic and hypnotic as a steady stream of marbles bounce around and never hit the ground.
After being closed between 2005-05 after Boyer had a heart attack and recuperated, the museum is now run by his daughters and is open seasonally during the afternoon, May to September, or by appointment, for a nominal fee.
Map & Site Information
1205 M Street
Belleville, Kansas, 66935 us
Latitude/Longitude: 39.8286693 / -97.630719
Junction City, Kansas