Ripley's curator retires after decades selecting history, oddities for display

Edward Meyer talks favorite finds: Marilyn Monroe's dress, wooden Mercedes-Benz

ORLANDO, Fla. – Most people don't know Orlando is the epicenter of a very strange universe. Every piece of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not collection comes through Orlando at some point. And the man who has been curating the odd objects for the past 33 years lives in Central Florida.

Ripley's vice president of archives and exhibits, Edward Meyer, has traveled to 47 states and 47 countries. He has found everything from shrunken heads to pieces of history.

"People say it's the coolest job in the world," Meyer said. "I think it's a pretty darn good job."

After 40 years of working for Ripley's, Meyer has decided to hang up his passport. He retired this summer, leaving this amazing job to someone else. He plans to do some fishing and write a book in his new found spare time.

Meyer shopped for all 32 Ripley's museums and he has some favorite finds. In 1989, he flew to Germany to hand pick pieces of the Berlin Wall.

"We ended up buying 16, 10-foot sections. So I got 160 feet of the Berlin Wall which is more than anybody else has, including Berlin at this point," Meyer said.

Meyer also spent $4.8 million on the dress Marilyn Monroe was wearing when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

However, Meyer said his favorite exhibit in Orlando is the wooden car from Venice, Italy. Meyer found a man who made a Mercedes-Benz out of wood. The car doesn't drive on land, it was designed to float on the city's famous canals.

About the Author: