By Emily G. Peters
If you’ve been a resident of Pasadena for some time, chances are you’ve collected a handful of your favorite spots around town. Yet just north of the city there’s a gem hidden in plain sight: The Bunny Museum.
As the website reads, this isn’t a petting zoo. The Bunny Museum is just what it says: a staggering collection of bunny-based art, figurines, toys, antiques, even Rose Parade float paraphernalia. More than 35,000 items fill the two-story building, all enthusiastically curated by husband-and-wife co-founders Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski.
“There wasn’t a lightbulb moment,” Frazee said of their decision to create the museum, now celebrating its twentieth year. “It was gradual. We joked we lived in a bunny museum and looked into it soon after we opened in 1998, but it took a lot of paperwork and money to become a museum.”
Now situated in a former art gallery, the couple moved the museum (along with Lubanski’s bike shop) from Pasadena to Altadena last year. It’s easy to overlook the location—but the oversized rabbit heads from past Rose Parade floats peeking above the roofline is the perfect double-take to attract passersby.
“At first, the objects had to be cute. Now in the new location, some objects acquired aren’t cute but are displayed for their relevance to society, culture, or history with label explanations,” said Candace. Some displays are whimsical—like one where visitors literally look down a rabbit hole—while others are more intense.
“The Chamber of Hop Horrors displays the abuse of bunnies throughout time, such as experimenting on bunnies, ‘lucky’ rabbit foot keychains, bunnies in horror films, etc.,” said Frazee. It’s this opportunity to educate as well as entertain that’s most inspiring for her.
“Bunnies cross all cultures,” she said. “They provide a stepping stone to learning about historical facts like pregnancy tests, environmental balance, even propaganda.”
Even while tackling the more harrowing side of rabbit welfare, The Bunny Museum mostly conveys Frazee’s celebration of the animal and the joy they bring. One unexpected room even secrets three live Flemish Giants—the real article, not to be confused with dust bunnies.
“True fact: dust is a museum problem,” Frazee joked. But conscientious museum visitors can do something about that, too.
“Visitors can become members in The Bunny Museum’s 24-Carrot Garden, which provides funds for the museum’s electricity, office supplies and care of the real bunnies,” she said. “As for dust bunnies, well—they live at The Bunny Museum. Expect to see one hop along the floor when you visit.”
The Bunny Museum is located at 2605 Lake Avenue in Altadena. A new exhibit called “Gooba” will open in fall 2018, with an accompanying contest where the community can guess the meaning of the word “gooba.” Keep in the know at thebunnymuseum.com | (626) 798-8848 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow museum updates on Facebook @thebunnymuseum.