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Museum of Dungeons & Dragons

D&D is an icon and a piece of US history. This museum will showcase the game - preserving its past and keeping up with its present.

It's time for the world to have a Museum of Dungeons & Dragons. This page asks for your support for it, but there is much that you will get for your donation:

  • First, and most importantly to us, YOU the supporters will get to choose the location of the museum. In fact, it is important enough to us that we aren't using Kickstarter simply because they required us to choose a location before they would approve us
  • Second, the story of the game will be told in a way that will be interesting for you whether you played a few times in college two decades ago, or you've played every week since the game came out in the 1970's.
  • Third, we will preserve all parts of the game - from rare unpublished manuscripts, to the module that everyone remembers playing.

 

THE THOUGHTS BEHIND THE MUSEUM:

For many years, we’ve been thinking about all of the collections that just get thrown out or given away to people who don't know what they are. We personally saw a pile of D&D books destroyed by a local charitable organization. I'm sure the person who donated them didn't want that, and the entire idea of books being destroyed makes us cringe. 

Also, we have a large collection personally (which will be the founding collection for the museum). We have no children, so have considered what will happen to our library when we pass away. We contacted the Smithsonian, who told us they would accept the collection, but it would most likely be stored away and not displayed. We heard of a university in Texas (I believe) that had a gaming collection, but in contacting them, we learned that it was not available to the general public, only university students and staff. So we were left wondering what to do.

Then E. Gary Gygax passed away, and parts of his collection were sold. A lot of people said, "These should be in a museum." But no one made any steps towards creating that museum.

Then Dave Arneson passed away, and there was a storage shed of his gaming stuff that was sold off at an auction like you see on Storage Wars. Parts of it ended up on eBay, but we don't know what happened to the rest of it. Again, everyone said, "These items need to be preserved," but no one did anything.

So the idea of creating a permanent museum that has been in the process in our brains jumped forward, and demanded to be done now. The founders of this game and the original gamers are aging, and more and more collections like this will be destroyed if something isn't done soon. 

Getting across our passion for the game online isn't easy. Maybe the best way to describe it is the way we explain it at conventions: we consider ourselves paladins of Dungeons & Dragons. Rather like Varys from Game of Thrones is a champion of the kingdom - no matter who sits on the throne, the kingdom must survive. 

Without the contributions of Gary and Dave, the world would be a different place. They created the concept of fantasy roleplaying games. Without them, we'd all be playing wargames. Video games wouldn't exist in their current form (although video wargames may have been developed). 

 

PLANS:

We will be opening the museum’s new location in 2014 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Dungeons & Dragons. The timing will be tight, as we have to find the right place to house the museum in a permanent resting place, build it out (i.e. put in necessary walls and ceilings), then design and build all of the museum's displays. But plans are in place to get it done, and you will be kept updated every step of the way! 

We have spent a lot of time planning over the past few years, including locations. We have decided to let you, our supporters, choose where the museum should be located. Once we fund, we will send an email to everyone on our mailing list with a link to a survey, so you can vote on where we will be opening (Yes, we're willing to move to the other end of the country if that's where you want the museum to be - we are THAT dedicated to this cause!). There are four locations that we consider appropriate to the game: 

 
 
LOCATIONS:  
1A. Lake Geneva, WI Where it all started, and where many of the artists and game designers who worked for TSR still reside. This area is rich with D&D gaming history. Also, it is fairly centrally located in the US
 
1B. Orlando, FL Dave Arneson taught game design in this area for many years. In addition, it is an area where most people will travel at least once in their lives (Disney World is located there, after all). It would be the most likely to allow international fans of D&D to visit the museum.
 
2A. Indianapolis, IN Where GenCon (where D&D became a smash hit) is currently being held. Tens of thousands of gaming fans flock to this area every summer.
 
2B. Renton, WA Where Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons since 1997, is headquartered. 
 
 

FUTURE PLANS:

One of the missions of the museum will be to spread knowledge of the history of the game to as many people as possible. This will be done, in part, through traveling displays at as many conventions throughout the country as possible. (For instance, we know MANY gamers who started playing in 2000, and have never held a copy of the older products, or looked through them to see if there are ideas in them that they can bring to their current game. Likewise, gamers who stopped moving to new editions at some point might gain ideas from new products.) 

The museum's first planned expansion will include related/licensed products like Judge's Guild and the D20 products. Future plans include adding wings to the museum for other RPGs. We hope to do three different sections - science fiction, fantasy, and horror. These would include both older and current games.  

 

REWARDS:

And now on to the fun things... the rewards! We know that you're curious about what you'll get, so below are pictures of the items we're giving you as a thank you: 

Book (note that ALL of the backers will be listed in the book, so if you want to see your name in print, this is your chance!):

Tote bag and t-shirt:

Convention tickets - it's hard to show pictures that give a good feel about these, so below are links to their pages, in chronological order:

The artwork shown below is copyright their respective artists, and is used with permission:

Elmore, Basic and Expert Box Sets, Basic D&D:

Easley, Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide, 2nd Edition:

Lockwood, Sunless Citadel and Forge of Fury modules, 3rd Edition:

All art will be signed with a note thanking you for supporting the museum.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Check out the museum's facebook page and blog. There are so many details that it would be impossible to put them all here. We've been trying to post as many of our thoughts and plans as we can.

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