44 Dioramas of Dead Gophers

Posted by - July 12, 2012 | Category: Peculiarities

Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington, Alberta, CANADA

World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta Canada

“Mommy? Are they alive?”

“What do you think?”

I don’t know what I love more about this Mom – the fact that she’s so sarcastic with her kid, or the fact that she took him to see a bunch of dead gophers. Either way, Mother of the Year can’t be far behind.

Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

The World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop (that’s the official name) in Torrington, Alberta is certainly not for everyone, but for those armed with 2 bucks, a curious nature, and a willingness to make a detour on Highway 27 along the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, it’s a pretty unique way to kill an hour or so.

Facing a closing school, a dying economy, and the exodus of both jobs and people, the town elders got together and decided to do what all town elders do to keep their town alive – they killed and stuffed gophers.

They secured a government grant in 1996 and now have been drawing in about 6000 tourists every summer since. (The museum is only officially open from June 1st to September 30th, but if you email or call ahead, someone will come down and open the doors for you.)

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They’ll even let you try on the mask of the town mascot — Clem T. GoFur – if you ask nicely. The lady at the front desk, Bunty (I’m not making this up) said I could even go outside with it and take some photos if I wanted. Considering the fate that awaits most gophers in this town, I thought I’d pass.

Designed to mimic a gopher hole, the bulk of the dioramas are themed around local establishments or events. The titles below are what the museum has named each display. Smart ass comments are purely my own.

Once you step inside the doors of the Gopher Hole Museum, here’s what you’ll find…

(As a reward if you make it to the end – you can enter a CONTEST to win some cool (or creepy depending on your leanings) Gopher Hole Museum SWAG.)

1. Moonlight Romance

1950s moonlight gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Sometimes you just crave a little privacy to plant a big fat kiss on your lover’s cold dead lips. Love the poodle skirt. And the fact that they’re playing footsies.

2. Torrington Community Hall

A gopher wedding at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

How does that old saying go? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue? Somehow I don’t think they had lack-of-oxygen blue in mind for that.

3. Blacksmith Shop

Balcksmith gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“If this is a blacksmith’s shop, why am I so cold?”

4. Torrington Treasury Branch

Bank robbery stuffed gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“Go ahead. Try your best.”

5. Torrington Beauty Salon

Beautician stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Ummm…shouldn’t that be mortician?

6. Covered Wagon

Chuckwagon stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Bet they never had anything this cool at the Calgary Stampede this year.

7. Farming with Horses

Farming with horses stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“Buttercup, did you just break wind? It smells like something died in here. Oh wait…”

8. The Old Fishing Hole

Fisherman  at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

I like to call this one “Sleeping with the Fishes.”

9. Parade Day

Gopher clown at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Death of a Clown.

10. Lioness Fashion Show

Gopher contestants in beauty pageant at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Fur is murder.

11. Torrington Arena

Gopher curling at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Death on the Ice was a book I had to read in school when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve gophers. Or curling…

Gophers hockey and gopher figure skating at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

….or gopher hockey or gopher figure skating either.

12. Pizza ‘N’ More Eh

Gopher customers outside General Store stuffed Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

At least chivalry isn’t dead.

13. Rich Hay Farming

Gopher farmer at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington AlbertaFrom the Cliff Clavin useless trivia file, did you know that too much alfalfa can have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. Not that this little guy has too worry. (Source: WedMD)

14. Torrington Fertilizer Plant

gopher farmer with fertilizer at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

I believe that’s the same shovel they would have used for his grave.

15. Torrington Fire Department

Gopher fireman at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Since cats are natural predators of gophers, I wonder if these fireman just leave them stuck in trees?

“Sorry lady, nothing we can do here.”

“But, but…my kitty?!?”

“Your kitty ate my Nana.”

16. Yard Sale

Gopher flea market at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“How much for that corpse behind the picnic table?”

17. Hunting Season

gopher hunting at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Finally, for once, the hunted has become the hunter.

18. Village Campground

Gopher picnic stuffed gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Male gopher: “Gee I hope the ants don’t ruin our picnic.”

Female gopher: “I’d be more worried about the maggots dear.”

19. Lutheran Trinity Church

Gopher reverend priest in Lutheran church at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“Let us pray for the souls who have gone before us. And us too I guess.”

20. Silver Willows Seniors Club

Gopher senior citizens playing cards at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

I think they both have been dealt a shitty hand.

21. Barrie’s and Bernie’s Diner

Gopher teatime at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“Me too dear. Me too.”

22. Torrington Welcomes Tourists

Gopher tourists at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

You know, the one we cremated last spring.

23. Jungle

Gopher with butterfly net at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

The only gay gopher in the village.

24. Old Sod House

Gopher with farm equipment at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Why yes, that IS a pig in shit.

25. Torrington Go 4 Fuel and Parts

Gophers at a gas station at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

(I’m at a loss for this one. Anyone?)

26. Torrington Post Office

Gophers at the town post office at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Hang on now, didn’t George’s fiancée on Seinfeld die from licking cheap envelopes?

Better not take any chances dear.

27. Torrington Mobile Home Park

Gophers in a trailer park at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

See, there are those worse off than people who live in Trailer Parks.

28. Grain Elevators

 

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Oh grain elevator humour — it just doesn’t get any better than this. (Seriously, it doesn’t.)

29. Torrington Play Park

Gophers in school playground at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“Over my dead body! Oh…okay.”

30. Torrington Viscount School

Gophers making a snowman at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“So cold…so…very…c-c-cold…”

31. Indian Village

Indian teepee stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Dances With Gophers.

32. Old Log House

Log cabin stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

The resemblance to Laura Ingalls is uncanny.

33. Old Tyme Music Jamboree

Old Tyme Music Jamboree stuffed gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

They used to be like 10 times better, but I heard a rival band poached their drummer.

34. Albert GoFur

Olympic athlete stuffed gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

The 2010 Olympic Committee contacted the Gopher Hole Museum to create a custom diorama to be displayed at the games in Vancouver. This is Albert GoFur, on his way to a very special Olympics. I believe he placed third in the luge.

35. Torrington Hotel

Pool hall pool shark and waitress at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“You know Johnny, my shift’s about to end, and they do rent rooms by the hour here…just sayin’.”

36. Prehistoric Times

Prehistoric gopher at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Everyone knows that prehistoric gophers had horns. At least they got the dead part right.

37. R.C.M.P.

RCMP Officer and dog at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

The Mounties always get their man. Errr…mole. Errr…gopher. Oh whatever.

38. Serenity Garden

Serenity garden with well at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

A Gopher’s Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know that none of it matters because I’m fucking dead.

39. Snow Scene

stuffed gopher with sleigh at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“What’s that Mom? I better come in before I catch my death of cold? Ummm…I think you better sit down.

You’re not gonna like what I have to say next…”

40. Library

stuffed gophers in a library at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

“What do you mean you don’t have any books on taxidermy?”

41. Johns Air Cooled Marine Engines Service

Engine mechanic at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington, Alberta, Canada

The diorama that outed John as a Jew.

42. Old Train Station

Torrington Train Station stuffed gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Yeah, any time now. It’s only been 18 years…

43. Village Office

Town mayor versus PETA stuffed gophers at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

When PETA protested the opening of the Gopher Hole Museum in 1996, the museum sent them a postcard with a two-word message:

Get Stuffed.

44. Gopher Olympics

Winners of the gopher Olympics at Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington Alberta

Who am I kidding? They’re all WINNERS!!!

If you’d like to be a winner too and get your greedy paws on a decidedly awesome prize, then enter the Rafflecopter Contest below.

I may not have buckets of cash or fancy iPads to give away,  but I do have something I’m pretty certain none of your friends have – a World Famous Gopher Hole Museum 2013 Calendar featuring images to ooh and ahh and all around impress your posse.

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Hang this baby in your cubicle to separate yourself from the herd. Give it to that special someone this Christmas to let them know what a truly twisted person they’re sleeping with. Or just safeguard it in cellophane, because one day it will most certainly be a collector’s item.

The choice is yours.

Contest ends at Midnight EST on July 31st, 2012. The contest is open WORLDWIDE. I will contact the lucky eccentric on August 1st, 2012 to get your mailing address.

For those that REALLY just NEED to have this calendar, you can come back every day to comment on and tweet about this post to get extra entries.

Good luck!

(If you’re the type of person who really gets a kick out of stuffed gophers in little doll dresses, I hope you’ll come even if you don’t win.)

Smile

(If you don’t see the Rafflecopter widget below, click on that wee little link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to be taken to the contest.)

The World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop, Corner of 2nd Avenue and 1st Street, Torrington, Alberta Canada (follow the plywood gopher cut-outs)

Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from June 1st to September 30th

Admission: Adults – $2.00, Under 14 – $0.50

Phone: 1 (403) 631-3931, Email: [email protected]

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84 comments
  1. OMG, this place is BRILLIANT! I so need to go here now! I love this kind of stuff…wrong, yet adorably hysterical. How did you ever find this place? I need to see what other gems of creepy awesomeness you can make me aware of now!

  2. Holey Mole… Thanks for saving me the trip. I don’t know if I’m more disturbed by this Gopher version of House of Wax or the fact that the “bank” has what is clearly bathroom flooring.

    1. I take great comfort in the fact that there are twisted geniuses in small towns all over the world willing to do things like kill, stuff, and apply makeup on gophers for money.

      This world rocks.

    1. You know, there were a lot of gopher holes just outside the museum — tons of ‘em, which made me think they were planning a heist of some sort — that whole tunnelling into the building business. Not sure if they were looking to reclaim their dead or take vengeance though.

  3. How about offering this outstanding calendar for sale for those of us who are not the lucky winner?! I NEED THIS CALENDAR…

  4. Surprised they let you take pictures of the entire place. That kinda takes away the desire to visit the museum,in case I were ever to become that demented. Definitely a warped place, but cute, too.

  5. Where do you find all of these places?! Do you do a Google search for weirdest places in …? :) This place does look interesting though. I would have some fun taking photos here for sure.

    1. Though most Americans consider it the 51st State, Canada might be offended at the association. However, no offense to Canada, this museum has Americana written all over it, so come on over!

  6. Baaahahahhaa I can’t believe someone else has heard of this place!!!!! I drive by the sign every single weekend when I go on the road to visit my son. Never have I turned off to go see what it actually is. Now I know.

    WOW it takes all kinds to make the world go round huh.

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