The Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection - Atlas Obscura
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Bloomington, Indiana

The Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection

Explore a staggering collection of antique mind-benders, and try your best to solve a few!

Jerry Slocum's lifelong fascination with puzzles led to the creation of the Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection in Indiana University's Lilly Library, home to over 30,000 antique and unusual mechanical puzzles and thousands of books on their history.

Mechanical puzzles are brain-teasers that must be physically manipulated to achieve a specific outcome, so they tend to be complex contraptions rather than simple jigsaws or pen-and-paper mind games. Slocum collected mechanical puzzles his whole life, eventually becoming the unofficial authority on physical puzzles with the publication of his 1986 book, Puzzles Old and New. By 2006 he had accumulated over 40,000 mechanical puzzles, the majority of which now reside within the Lilly Library.

This Obscura Day, join us in the Lilly Library's Slocum Room to explore the permanent puzzle exhibit. An extended selection of hands-on puzzles will be available for visitors to try, and the Curator of Puzzles will be on hand to guide guests through the exhibit, sharing the history of the collection and answering any questions.

Visitors are welcome to drop in at any time between 10:00am and 12:00pm.



Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

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