The formation of the North American Bigfoot Center is a huge task, and one that I couldn’t do without the guidance, advice, and partnership of those that have blazed the trail before me. Other museums around the country have served as inspiration to me, and I would be remiss to not discuss the role that the Willow Creek – China Flat Museum has played.
The Willow Creek – China Flats Museum opened on May 6, 2000 with an event featuring both John Green and Jeff Meldrum. The “bigfoot wing” was funded and built specifically to house the artifacts that were in the possession of Bob Titmus who passed away in 1997. Titmus was one of the first investigators into the bigfoot phenomenon, and was in fact partially responsible for the very first known bigfoot footprint cast made by Jerry Crew in October, 1958.
The WC – CF Museum houses the entirety of the Titmus original cast collection, as well as a handful of other casts, both replicas and originals alike. Most notably, the museum houses most of the original casts taken by Titmus at the Patterson/Gimlin Film Site, taken 10 days after the filming. Besides the treasure trove of footprint casts, there are a few dioramas and photographs, as well as several locked cabinets which house paperwork, newspaper articles, and a few odds and ends.
I have visited the WC – CF Museum many times, as whenever I’m doing an expedition at nearby Bluff Creek, I stop by. Once back in 2006, I was permitted by the museum staff to photograph all of the casts in the collection for my files. I had the pleasure of meeting Al Hodgson for the first time that day as well.
The Willow Creek – China Flats Museum is another of the excellent crypto-museums that can be found dotting the landscape. The museum is humble and unassuming, but the artifacts it contains are mind bogglingly important for the history of the bigfoot subject.
When you’re planning a visit to the Pacific Northwest, be sure to swing down to Northern California to check out their collection after you visit the North American Bigfoot Center. Or, do it in the opposite order. Either way, you have to see both museums.