Q. What is this place?
A. Musée Patamécanique is a highly unusual and possibly fictional museum with a mysterious origin and elusive location. Its collections and exhibits are rumored to be comprised of intricate and bizarre mechanical creations said to be inspired by the principles of pataphysics, a philosophical and absurdist concept that explores the realm beyond metaphysics. Despite its cult following and reputation as a hidden gem within the world of offbeat and eclectic museums, the exact nature of the Musée Patamécanique remains somewhat of a mystery. Furthermore, it has been reported that the museum may currently be closed for maintenance, further perplexing potential visitors about the uncertain state of its existence.
Q. When will you reopen.
Hopefully the summer of 2023 - Please check back!
Q. Do you have a restroom?
A. No, and we're glad you asked. WE DO NOT HAVE ANY PLUMBING! Nor do we have central heat or air conditioning. Please plan accordingly. The public rest rooms at the Rogers Free Library, 525 Hope Street are open on Thursdays till 8PM. The Bristol public restrooms located at the corner of Oliver and Thames streets and the Bristol Maritime Center located in the old armory at the foot of Church street are both open till 8PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Q. So, what exactly “IS” a tour?
A. A tour of Musée Patamécanique is (or purports to be) an immersive outdoor/indoor experience (sometimes described it as Experience Fiction or ARG) in which visitors explore the meaning and possibilities of Patamechanics.
Q. Okay... So what's Patamechanics?
A. The word Patamechanics is chiefly derived from ‘Pataphysics, a term coined by our largest literary inspiration – Alfred Jarry. By virtue of its unusual integration of infectious parody with an all-encompassing approach to the profundities of the universe ‘Pataphysics has allowed us to unite a diverse body of work in numerous fields, ultimately culminating in the realization of an expressive language we call P a t a m e c h a n i c s .
Patamechanics is both the study and the manifestation of objects and effects which are designed to spark Pataphysical thinking89.
Q. I hear the museum is a tasteless pile of rubbish. Is this true?
A. Le Musée employs Rabelaisian humor87 as a means to reveal embedded social morays and conditioned behaviors - thus making unseen social constructs suddenly and surprisingly visible. To put it another way, Musée Patamécanique makes no distinction between highbrow and lowbrow culture!
Q. What types of environment(s) will I encounter on a tour and how long will it take?
A. Each (improbable) tour is comprised of walking and standing both outdoors and indoors for a total of about 100 minutes. Guests should be in good health and free of any medical conditions that could be aggravated by this kind of physical activity.
All tours (if they actually occur) contain strobe lighting, odor effects, sudden noises and smoke effects.
As part of the (potentially imaginary) tour experience visitors will be confined to small spaces for short periods of time and therefore some sections of the tour may be unsuitable for persons who suffer from claustrophobia.
Q. Is the museum handicap accessible?
A. No. If you’re not comfortable with the type of physical activity listed above then a tour of Musée Patamécanique is not for you.
Q. Should I take a tour if I think I might be pregnant?
A. Our tours can get crowded with up to 5 guests at close (elbow to elbow) quarters. We don't need to tell you that this is NOT an ideal environment for a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant (or you think you might be pregnant) we DO NOT recommend that you be part of a group of more than 4 guests. You will need to declare to Musée Patamécanique that you are pregnant (or that you think you might be pregnant) when you start the reservation process. You must also declare in writing that you will be participating in the tour entirely at your own risk.
Q. How about parking?
A. Unless it's the week of the 4th of July there's generally plenty of on-street parking near our tour departure points.
Q. I’m trying to coordinate a group visit. How should I proceed?
A. Follow this link for a overview.
Q. Can I bring my loud, misbehaved children?
Q. Can I bring a sleeping infant?
A. Please no.
Q. Can I bring my curious, quiet, well-behaved children?
A. If they’re older than 10 - possibly. However - for safety reasons we will only admit one child per adult. The exhibition is set in a darkened environment so young ones must be kept very close. Sensitive kiddies might be disturbed by our talking, farting animatronic sculptures.
Q. Is there any sexual content or foul language in the museum?
A. There is no overtly sexual material or foul language used in the museum. However, in keeping with the spirit of Jarry's 'pataphysics* each tour is peppered with Rabelaisian humor87 which means guests will encounter numerous sexual allusions and scatological references.
Q. How should I dress?
A. There is no dress code, which is strictly enforced! Just be sure to dress for the weather, it can be chilly at night - and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Q. Can I book a special night for just me and my sweetheart?
A. YES! Just let us know and we'll work out the details.
Q. What happens if I’m running late and I think I’m going to miss my departure time?
A. Your guide will wait five minutes past the scheduled departure time. If you’re running late please contact us via email and we will relay this information to your guide.
Q. Can I smoke on a tour?
A. No. Smoking is strictly prohibited on Musée Patamécanique tours.
Q. I'm planning to get drunk and/or stoned with my friends before our tour. Is this OK?
A. Behavior that is likely to cause injury, annoyance, distress or anxiety to others or likely to interfere with the proper operation of the tour is strictly prohibited.
Anyone who is under (or appears to be under) the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be admitted.
Q. Can I bring food or drink on my tour?
A. No foods or beverages are allowed in the museum. Check out this list of some of our favorite local restaurants.
Q. Can I take Photos?
A. No. Photo, video and sound recording is strictly prohibited.
Q. Why are tours only by appointment?
A. This method of having to arrange for your visit is not unlike the procedures employed by the proprietors of the Wunderkammers of old when a traveling scholar or curiosity aficionado would request an appointment for a private viewing. In keeping with these traditions each tour is arranged entirely via written correspondence (via e-mail). Our Tourism Director puts a great deal of time and attention into getting to know a little bit about each potential guest prior to their arrival.
Q. Why are tours only after sunset?
A. Our lawn looks better and we don’t need to dust so often.
Q. Why a maximum of 5 people per tour?
A. This is a comfortable and safe number of guests that can collectively enjoy the experience. If you are a family of 3 adults and 3 children then we might be able to make an exception.
Q. Can I barter for my tour?
A. Yes, but you must contact our Curator of Exhibitions to make these arrangements ahead of time. Here is a list of items our curatorial staff is currently seeking.
Q. Why was my tour request rejected?
A. The reason your application was rejected is because it reflected a high degree of sincerity, open-mindedness and intelligence. You are obviously an advanced member of our species and we simply didn’t want to waste your valuable time trying to find a silly museum that doesn’t actually exist.