Have you ever wanted to learn magic?

Become a member of the Society of American Magicians.

The Society of American Magicians, founded on May 10, 1902, in Martinka’s famous magic shop in New York City, New York, is the oldest and most prestigious magical society in the world. For over a century it has promoted the ideals shared by Kellar, Houdini, Thurston and more than 47,000 others world-wide who have held membership in the society. Those ideals include the elevation of the Art of Magic, the promotion of harmony among magicians, and the opposition of the unnecessary public exposure of magical effects.

The S.A.M. offers the opportunity to unite and associate with leaders in the World of Magic – not only professionals, but amateurs, manufacturers, magic dealers, book authors and magic collectors. Through its monthly publications, annual conventions, and with almost 300 Assemblies throughout the world, the S.A.M. provides the necessary forum for the advancement of magic through discussions, lectures, research, performances, and exchange of magic secrets within the magic community. To promote those endeavors the S.A.M. presents awards and fellowships in recognition of outstanding achievement in the Art of Magic.

If you have a serious interest in the Art of Magic then you, too, can follow in the footsteps of Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Siegfried & Roy, Lance Burton and David Copperfield by joining the most prestigious magical organization in the world – The Society of American Magicians.

Also as a member you will have access to so many great magic opportunities to learn and grow as a magician. Including the Magic Center Foundation Inc. a non-profit that in the future plans to build a center that will be truly wonderful for the public and magicians alike to learn about the history of our great art form.

I am currently serving on the board for the Magic Center along with Phil Milstead who took the time to write a fictional dream story of what we hope the magic center will be like in the future. While this is not a real story I felt it really does a great job at showing you what we plan to bring into reality for fans of magic around the world who visit the Center. Enjoy this wonderful story by Phil Milstead.

SAMMCF Flythrough Dream like story:

     Wanda, the two kids, and I decided to go to the new Magic Center and Museum here.  We didn't know exactly what to expect, but we had heard a lot about it on the news and from our friends who enjoyed it.

When we arrived, we had no problem parking and found the garden space at the entrance to be a nice welcoming.  One tidbit that was interesting were the pavers dedicated to various magicians, most of whom I had never heard.  It reminded me of the stars in the sidewalk in Hollywood.

The foyer was fantastic!  Overhead, hundreds of wands in various sizes and colors were suspended in mid-air.  Some of them moved through the cloud of other wands.  The kids loved it!  Giant images of old-time magicians provided plenty of color and the videos showed amazing clips of magicians doing their thing.

At the reception desk, we opted for the "backstage" tour, which included entry to the usual museum and show.  Once it was over, we were glad we did!  For the difference in price, we got to see a LOT more.  The museum and show were incredible enough, but the backstage tour provided so much more.  The family pricing made it extra attractive!

The Tour

We were joined by about a dozen other people, which made it a rather intimate presentation.  It seems most people just went for the regular museum and show.  We quickly learned there was a lot more to the building than meets the eye.

The guide introduced herself and told us she was a magician for children's birthday parties.  She pointed out another guide across the way that performed at a couple of the local restaurants.  She told us the facility was built by The Society of American Magicians, which she claimed is the world's oldest and most prestigious magic organization, for the public to enjoy.

First off was the meeting space.  It was huge!  The said they could hold a banquet for 3,000 people in the main space and use the stage at the end for a show.  At the time, the space was divided down into three sections and each was being decorated with a special theme for the group coming in later that day.  My 11-year-old son, Jason, said the Halloween themed area was awesome!  Beth, our 8-year-old daughter, loved the butterfly decorations in another.  We were told magicians used it for special meetings and shows a few times a year.

We even got to go on the stage.  Our guide pointed out the various aspects of the stage and how they are used, the different types of lights and drapes, the overhead bars for lifting stuff, etc.  It was the first time I ever even heard of a fly house.  Beth had to do a short bit from her ballet class while on the stage and took a bow at the end to the applause of the rest of the people on tour.  One thing that none of us expected was the organ console just off the stage.  It is the modern electronic equivalent of the old theater organ, but with far more capabilities.

Wanda marveled at the kitchen!  Workers were busy preparing meals for the evening's events, but there was a place to the side where we could watch the bustling activity.  Wanda said she had never seen professional appliances like the ones they had.  She said it made her kitchen look inadequate.  I may be in for a remodeling of our kitchen.

We went past several smaller rooms of various sizes.  We stopped at a couple of them so our guide could explain how they are used for classes, small meetings, and special projects.  Through the window in the door for one room, we could see several kids working at tables learning magic from their instructors.  Jason quickly said he wanted to take a class.

Next, we went where we didn't know existed.  We went over the large meeting space that was being decorated for events.  Here, we were shown some of the lighting for the stage and event space.  We passed by the office space for the organization and facility.  We got to see through a window into their restoration area.  There were some colorful items in there and the guide described some of them to us.  The next room contained racks of costumes.  The ones on display were wild!  Another window gave us a view of the upper areas of the fly house.  It's interesting to see the mechanicals that help make a show.

When we returned to the lower level, we went into the secret library.  It was not huge or ornate, just functional, but interesting.  There were a few people about reading books, watching videos, and making notes.  Our guide explained the library access is by prior approval only and is for research on magic performance.  She said many magicians come through the library looking for ideas on how to improve their shows or just do research in magic history.  She suggested we may want to start our magic education in section 793.8 of our local public library and that the librarians could help us find additional materials on magic.

At the end of the tour, we were each given a magic wand with golden tips.  According to our guide, those just doing the museum and show had silver tips on their wands and their wands were plastic while our wands are wood and metal.  She hinted that we might try our wands out in a few special places in the museum by inserting them into holes marked with a star.  Then she invited us to tour the museum and see the show while on the tour.

The Museum and Show

The museum was outstanding!  I enjoyed learning about various magicians, some of whom I had never heard.  Such fascinating lives!  Imagine a guy who takes his lion for a walk!  Who knew that Houdini had such an unusual childhood or was admired during his life by immigrants who saw in him what they could become.

Wanda liked the exhibits on how magic is used in other performing arts.  She still talks about the one guy who made the early movies including that one where the bullet-shaped space ship hits the moon in the eye.  She also loved all the posters.

The kids enjoyed the interactive illusions.  Those special holes were put to use by them, sometimes several times.  Most activated mechanical toys that performed magic, but some of those "toys" must have cost a fortune.  Some of the other kids nearby tried to do it with their wands, but when they didn't work, they asked where we got our wands.  In one place, Beth stepped through a tunnel and into a chamber where we could see her.  Slowly, she changed into a gorilla before our eyes!  Fortunately, she changed back and came out okay.  Jason said he always knew she really was an ape.  Beth punched his arm for that and it was well deserved.  Beth said there was a voice that guided what she should do and where to stand.  She said it was a one-way path with doors that closed behind her, but she didn't know what happened; just that she saw us change into a gorilla.

The show was short, but a lot of fun.  The magician started out with several quick items mostly of things appearing and vanishing at her fingertips.  Her assistant came out and was quickly cut in three parts by the magician.  Both the boy and girl introduced themselves as students at the local university studying magic and theater.  Then, they brought up a couple of people to do a couple of quick things that got lots of laughter.  They closed by making a giant flag appear.  We loved it!

After all that, we went back into the lobby.  The magic canteen had some interesting food that we enjoyed.  The great part of it was when what we ordered appeared under a dome cover where nothing had been before.  At the magic shop, Jason had to have a magic kit.  When Beth saw him with one, she had to have one, too, so we bought her a different one thinking they couldn't duplicate each other much.

After The Visit

Going home was a little sad since we enjoyed it so much, but the kids were filled with anticipation.  They are in their rooms now practicing with their magic kits.  Sometimes Wanda or I give them a bit of a hand with some of the more difficult parts, but they do well on their own.  Tomorrow, we are taking them to the library to find books on magic.

We did sign Jason up for one of the magic classes.  We'll see how he does with that before signing him up for more.  Beth, who we found out is old enough for them, expressed some interest in the classes, but wanted to wait to see what Jason said about it, besides, she didn't want to be in the same class with Jason.  We learned there is a special club called Society of Young Magicians that they can join if they like the classes.

We picked up a brochure at the Magic Center that says they have a "parent's night out" every few weeks with different shows.  We decided to hire a sitter for one and give it a try.  Some include wine and hor devours, but ours includes a full meal.  We understand they have different types of magic at the different types of events with constantly changing performers.  Since they do a large magic show a few times a month, we are taking the whole family to at least one of those.  It seems far better than what shows in the movie theaters.

After what I saw, I just may have the right place for my company's new product roll-out.  It seems they can do it with magic.  That will keep the attention of the sales staff!  We have started talking about it at the office.

Don't tell Beth, but her birthday is coming up and we plan to have it at the Magic Center.  They furnish the specially decorated space, the cake, and the entertainment.  No more horse droppings on my lawn!

It all seems like fun.  I just might try to learn to do a little magic.