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The Jewish Museum’s newest exhibit explores the life of the world’s most famous magician

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MILWAUKEE -- The Jewish Museum Milwaukee's newest exhibit explores the life of the world's most famous magician. Brian Kramp spent the morning getting a preview.

Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini, showcases the incredible story of how this Hungarian Jewish immigrant, Ehrich Weiss, began his legendary magic career in Milwaukee and transformed himself into the acclaimed illusionist. The exhibit is on view at the museum through January 5.

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The exhibit features photos, videos and archival records as well as rare artifacts and hands-on illusions for all ages. Visitors can recreate Houdini`s famous metamorphosis and milk can tricks, escape from handcuffs, learn to be the king of cards and find their way out of an escape room.

About Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini (website)

Inescapable, curated by performer and magician David London, tells the story of how Ehrich Weiss became Harry Houdini and investigates the technologies, marketing prowess and entertainment trends that transformed him into a superstar. On one level, the exhibit is pure fun – incorporating magic, escapes, séances, films, rare artifacts and hands-on illusions.  On a deeper level, the exhibit pulls back the curtain, revealing the story of the man behind the image.

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In addition to the exploration of his early life, visitors will find sections illuminating stages of his life and career:

  • Setting the Stage describing the struggles of Houdini’s early life and the difficulties faced by his father and includes his father’s Rabbinical Ordination certificate.
  • The Self Liberator features a spectacular display of reproduction posters, photos and press clippings, as well as original handcuffs and lockpicking tools that

Houdini used in his performances.

  • On the Cutting Edge investigates his exploration of new technologies, features clips from his film career and a chance to listen to a rare recording of his voice.

  • Houdini’s Third Act: Exposes Frauds showcases his crusade against deceptive spiritual mediums.

  • The Final Bow/Curtain Call sets the record straight on the events that led to his death and explores the séances to contact him by his wife, Bess.

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