NuTSR Group – The Beginning

This post had to be heavily edited due to some Facebook pages changing their URL handle without notice, specifically “TSRHobbiesMuseum” to “DUNGEONHOBBYSHOP”. I’ve now updated them, removed the dead links to things that have been taken down and were never archived and now attached links to screenshots. Anywhere you see a 📸, you can click it for a screenshot of the linked post, for record keeping purposes.

In instances where the screenshots third parties, I’ve pixelated out their faces and/or names to protect their privacy.


While it looks more or less like any other house, 723 Williams Street, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin has an extraordinary history as the original office for Tactical Studies Rules (TSR), the company founded by Gary Gygax and the original vendor of the now iconic role-playing game Dungeon and Dragons.

However, as TSR grew, Gary Gygax got pushed out and the venture (put a pin in that) was purchased by Wizards of the Coast (headquartered in Seattle, Washington) – the business of role-playing games move away. The history, and the significance of the site stayed present in the memory of many. Enter Scott Griffin, the man with original vision to make a homage to the Dungeon Hobby Shop (inspired by Jayson Elliot’s Gygax Magazine, though the company that published that is now Solarian Games) and the first man stepped on by Justin LaNasa in his quest for glory and fortune through nostalgia in the TTRPG space.

In a pair of interviews on the Tenkar’s Tavern YouTube Channel,1Ernie Gygax Call with Scott Griffin re: Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum 6/21 – Sorry I Gygaxed You! Part I, Tenkar’s Tavern, YouTube (22 June 2022) 2Ernie Gygax Phone Call with Scott Griffin re: DHSM – Part 2 – Justin is “Abrasive” & “A Bully”, Tenkar’s Tavern, YouTube (29 June 2022) which included recordings of calls with Ernie Gygax, Scott discussed how he had been scoping out the project with some specific intentions of replicating the early environment as much as possible: Incorporating early employees like Ernie Gygax, Jeff Perren (though more realistically his daughter Vicky Perren) and Jeff “Duck” Leason.

As with so many independent ventures by working class people, the problem that Scott ran into was it was a lot of work to do right, which means a lot of time for one person – including making business plans, setting up trademarks, securing financing, etc.

Ernie Gygax, however, claims he had lost hope that it would occur and instead spoke of the issue to one Justin LaNasa, a man he refers to in the conversations as “abrasive” and “a bully”. Justin was apparently hooked and moved in to immediately purchase the house, then started plans for the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum with no considered or conversation with Scott.

In the conversation, Ernie indicates that any bringing on of Scott would have required a dilution of his (apparently 24%) and Jeff Leeson’s shares (it is unclear if Jeff, himself was consulted on this. It is, however worth putting a pin in to keep in mind as the matter is discussed. Its also worth remembering there has never been any confirmation or clarification of how many shares either allegedly has or if this is a “to happen later” type deal.)

Preparation shown to the public

At the start on January 2020, the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum project started a page on Facebook. 📸

On the same day it shared the first sample of Lower Lanasian: “Look at these guys I would bet their gamers“. 📸

A photo of the Facebook post by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum, 2 January 2020.

Faces have been blurred out (by me) for everyone but Justin, Duck and Ernie.

Early posts were about the Geek Nation Tours, playing D&D in Gary Gygax’s old home and the plaque (📸) that Justin inexplicably had set up outside his shop in 2019.3For the uninitiated, it’s a copy of the Lake Geneva Plaque they’re gathered before, which has become a kind of pilgrimage site for many gamers and a standard attracting on a Geek Nation tour. And generic D&D humour, with the odd solicitation for donations. 📸

At the end of February 2020 they started soliciting money by announcing “membership levels” on the TSR Museum web site. Remember, no renovation had been done at this time, it was a house that was split into two apartments which had a apparently not been kept in good shape.

At the end of March, they posted a photo of Brian J. Blume declaring him to be “#3 TSR employee“. 📸

Which is a rather unflattering way to refer to the guy who’s buy-in as a shareholder funded the printing of the original White Box.

In April, it started promoting artwork for Justin LaNasa’s Tales & Tots 4Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum’s Facebook page (12 April 2020)[0]=AZWYn581wQ2Tl7G_Xs9m9EIdi0RrV2h6ISdCEqwX-fUDhVNLnw6GdyZHVvlgmLoQs6F5H5IWcNsrnvHnWY4DLVoELjnJZ6GRQZr9iD5Ah2DAungzkyvQ2sRE_rlzamiyt3jHmLvJROEjR9CgLhzPT90_5FYgfvOtsNu-pS_W63UZy3zDp__4UnFH8wGOpRO_4L0Pq6Mx1iqaz2LOFsGN4NhV&tn=%2CO%2CP-R 📸 5Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum’s Facebook page (27 April 2020)[0]=AZXH6kriuZ0k8Oiynf6EvjK-AVgbGvR27gN0a9GySGZOjgkKdGzdqaWhVFnN6rbEf3vNjcB4oiw3ZlUK_ccvPzvLHZhhao6NmNqSe1s4sVy-ruQQ-9cDP0ugKWYRr9-V7HN5YbeoesoNFYWZS1hzy7-2PiM7ufYCLbvROIfpo26q161Q5jQP_izVHXeH_Mb0YdcniGbEFyVwQWpyYgpKEa6k&tn=%2CO%2CP-R 📸 booklet, without any explanation what that would be. Then in May, another solicitation for donations… 📸no clarification that it would be donating to a For Profit enterprise – and Ernie did an interview on GrogTalk where he declared Justin was “kicking out the poor, transient Mexicans” that were living in the building so they could fix it up.

At the start of July 2020, we go the first “please keep politics/religion out of the game design and gaming” nonsense 📸 with the example “just think if the person who invented the checkers decided to make all the pieces one color what next?”

A screenshot of the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum post: "To all gamers please keep politics/religion out of the game design and gaming. (Clarification ie: keep out all real-world politics/religion fantasy games are just that!) We can learn from the past; look at the satanic panic of the 80s! And just think if the person who invented checkers decided to make all pieces one color what next? We draw the line in the sand for all gamers here and gone!"
There are no words that can accurately summarize how ironic this post would become…

There was also the introduction of the basement door (later to be signed by many) though introduced as “Brian Blooms door RIp📸 along with a post of photos of “First game in the Dungeon in 40 year📸(including Justin’s obligatory selfie, 📸 there are a lot of those through the Facebook account). The also received a donation that they were so grateful for, they mispelled Sophie Kandler‘s name in the post – and never went back and fixed it, 📸 and weirdly tried to solicit Jim Ward into running a game there 📸 (again, no refurbishment yet… and it should probably be noted Jim Ward generally uses mobility aids so accessibility would be an issue) and Frank Mentzer as well… no clarification on if either party even knew they were being volunteered. Jeff “Duck” Leason also got introduced📸– along with his many roles he was assigned, and Ernie would be running games too📸 (that we know happened).

August 2020 was a huge month for the Hobby Shop, they received a German edition of the Red Box from Frank Mentzer,📸 registered the poorly fated trademarks, posted the “membership card“,📸 posted their first weird anti-modern edition post📸 (taken from Secrets of Blackmoor).

Then in September came a photo of young Justin,📸 which was slotted into the historic photos on the TSR Museum site as though it was linked to the original creators.

Screenshot from the page "Photo Gallery" with many images of pages, memorabilia, etc - and this picture of young Justin in the middle.
One of these things is not like the others…6TSR Hobby Museum, History,

They also announced that the memberships that they posted about in February were “reaching the final stage even as I write this.📸 Then two weeks later they would declare that they were almost done with the second floor of the place where you’d been able to buy a membership at for seven months, then posted a picture of the outside of the museum. 📸 Then they announced… “swag” was coming.📸

In October 2020, things really heated up, they introduced what was probably the most confusing product they have made… rebound copies of classic books, proper leather binding📸 but… also a baffling combo of three unrelated books. It was also announced Tales & Tots was “coming soon” with a link to a GoDaddy free site.

Then the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum announced📸 “TSR has been successfully resurrected.” and that they had five trademarks available for license to any OSR game designer, game publisher or fantasy book publisher.

Screenshot of the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum Facebook post made 16 October 2020: "Would like to announce that TSR has been successfully resurrected. Anyone that is an OSR game designer, game publisher or fantasy book publisher that would like to be licensed to use any of these 5 trademarks feel free to contact us"
[Beneath is the TSR Game Wizards, TSR dragon in the circle, TSR Wizard, TSR angled and Lizard Man logos]
This was almost certainly a very bad idea

In the comments they claimed Gary would love this as it was restoring his legacy and would be providing money to his family.

A screenshot of the Edit history of a comment by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum - the final is "My question to all the true gamers is: How would Gary feel about TSR being revived and his family profiting off it? We will make certain of that!" Two versions of it include "And WOTC feeling the burn !!!!"
“WOTC feeling the burn !!!” A truly baffling statement given WotC was a lot more supportive of Gary than they had to be, giving him writing work and a column in Dragon Magazine. It’s almost like Justin doesn’t know much about D&D history…

Notably at this time, Luke Gygax appeared in the comments section📸 with some concerns about the claims that the Gygax family would be profiting, since he had heard nothing – and that ownership by someone who wasn’t a family member wouldn’t have made Gary happy. His questions about what kind of contract and how good is the deal were… ignored with a casual “we’d love you to join in” (ie benefits to the Gygax family would be conditional upon them serving the interests of the museum, aka Justin).

A screenshot of the comment by Luke where he points out Gary would want to know how the "family" is profiting off it when only one Gygax is on board and they don't know what kind of contract Ernie has. He doesn't want them suggesting the family is on goard and wants to know more about the quality control etc.
This is perhaps not a good way to assure people you’re looking out for the Gygax family, particularly since Luke founded and runs Gary Con. Also put a pin in that “vetting process”, that’ll come up later.

The next day they made an announcement📸 that “great items” such as a mug with the classic TSR logo and a lowball glass with a frosted on Lizard Man logo would be “for sale in the near future.” There were also extremely mediocre unlicensed t-shirts.📸

They may have received a donation from Flint Dille (or he may just have signed some stuff they bought, despite having no credits in them – it’s very unclear).

A screenshot of the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum post on 29 October 202
"Thank you Flint Dille"
[Two photos of Flint Dille showing off a pile of 2nd Edition books, at least one he has signed the inside of, and his autobiography - The Gamesmaster: My Life in the '80s Geek Culture Trenches with G.I. joe, Dungeons & Dragons, and The Transformers.
For the uninitiated, Flint is the brother of Lorraine Williams, the person widely understood to be a key reason why Gary was pushed out of TSR Inc – it’s also widely understood that Flint introduced her to Gary.7The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax, the Kyngdoms (11 August 2022) (archived) So um… yeah not convinced Gary would have been thrilled about this.

Also the TSR Museum opted to rather bafflingly post a picture📸 of Gary and Gail Gygax. Another baffling decision given that Gail, Gary’s 2nd wife and widow, didn’t marry Gary until after everything had gone south with TSR Inc, and due to her decisions regarding Gary’s estates and an ill-fated memorial fund is not well liked by a lot of the old school gaming community – and was in a legal dispute with most of the children of Gary and his first wife Mary (who did work at TSR Inc) his will and hence estate. Put a pin in that, Gail will appear later in our story.

In November they showcased an artwork of Justin LaNasa📸 (origin story unclear), they released a video that made it clear the old house was… quite a ways from being a safe place to visit, let alone a playground of nostalgia or a suitable place for a museum. They posted a few follow up videos (1, 2, 3) which re-enforced that viewpoint.

They also started their first weird ramble about the disclaimer.📸 I believe this is known as foreshadowing when it happens in fiction.

A screenshot of a post on 30 November 2020 by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum: How can one make a comment stating that D&D wasn’t diverse? Maybe that person wasn’t  there back in the day !!!
“We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.”
“maybe that person wasn’t there back in the day !!!” says man who also was not, and has not evidence to support his claim.

They also then posted about the “old/new signage” six times… for unclear reasons, but as a great sign of the kind of quality that people would come to expect from them (in the event that they actually released anything… we’ll get to that eventually).

They would repeat this in December with an even more inexplicable post, but only five.

They also bragged that the floors were looking good!📸 They promoted iron on patches of generic words📸 and hilarious bragged that they had banned their first two people along with a another hilariously ironic statement in hindsight… but also they do not bow down to people who don’t like prejudice.

Screenshot of the comment by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum:
"We do not tolerate trolls in any shape or form. Prejudice in all forms is unacceptable."
“Prejudice in all forms is unacceptable.”

At the start of 2021, there was another📸 pair📸 “coming together” posts showing the place being refurbished and polished up to look a lot nicer than it must have been under the previous owner. Then a follow up about art and merchandise and exhibits.📸 Then “Filling up.Games Games Games !!!📸 and a collection of videos and photos of Jeff Leason running a game, then more work being done, then Ernie running a game… so far this seems to be a lot of playing games.

Included due to being the first Dinehart sighting. “Pay attention to that guy in the hat, he’ll be important later in our story….”8Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum (23 January 2021)

The also went on to create the first stream… it seems they’ve done six in the lifetime of the Twitch account… most of which haven’t clear thirty views… for some reason.

A screenshot of the video list from the Dungeon Hobby Shop Twitch channel that shows 5 out of 6 of their videos are 2 years old, most have under 30 views.
The Facebook links to the mobile site, someone was clearly on their phone doing the post.

February began with them bragging they’d banned someone📸 (this makes me sad that I never got my ban announced… am I not worthy of notice?) and made an odd post which started with “Partnership Announcement📸 but was… about a partnership they had no connection to. They also launched the online store with “it’s up“.📸 They also launched Dinehart’s weird fusion of the classic TSR logo and… Autobots symbol from Transformers.

A screenshot of the Facebook post with "Tactical Studies Rules" and the coloured in version of the TSR angled down logo.
The top comment is "Grognards, roll out..." with a gif of the Autobots/Decepticons transition.
TSR would later show themselves to definitely be Decepticons, but I respect the classic 80s toy ad too much to make further comparisons.

In March it seems that Dinehart really got involved and started escalating their marketing, as well as aggressively pushing his own product. In addition to the TSR Games account, there suddenly appeared Twitter accounts for TSR originals who previously hadn’t demonstrated any aptitude for the technical or the online, sticking pretty much to Facebook.

For example: Jeff Leason suddenly had a Twitter account📸 that immediately promoted the TSR Museum, using hashtags in the same manner as Dinehart does and engaged in strange banter Stephen Dinehart… the account hasn’t had any kind of activity since July 2021.

A screenshot of tweets by Jeff R Leason (aka: Duck) @JeffLeason1 on 29 March 2021 where he announces:
"Hello #ttrpg Twitter! Glad to be part of bringing #TSR back to the world! Stop on by soon! #ttrpg #dnd #tsr #gamedesign #gamewriting"

There also a response of "Thanks!" to a now deleted tweet by @SEDart4.
Duck was born in 1960 and is barely active on his own Facebook page… yet here he is hashtagging like a boss!

There was also an announcement that they’d be gaming on particular days in March, so feel free to drop in and watch (and bring donations) but please avoid if you have Covid or just recently recovered📸 giving the overall impression the whole “gaming in the museum” thing was primarily for the benefit of Justin whenever he is in town and expected the public to supply his for profit museum with exhibits. It also started the trend of referring📸 to Ernie as Gary Junior on their media. There was another mention of it on a podcast📸 – so it seems this was a Dinehart innovation.

A screenshot of the Twitter post with Ernie standing in a TSR Game Wizards shirt and labeled "This is Ernie (Gary Jr)" next to him Justin LaNasa in a "Neutral Evil" shirt and labelled "This is Justin (he's a nerd)"

In the middle in the Transformers TSR logo and there is copyright branding in the bottom right.
We can now be confident Justin’s t-shirt was not ironic.

It seems at least some of this gaming was a playtest of GiantLands where participants were treated to pizza,📸 which seems to have, oddly, been a big deal for them given the photos.📸 The official stance given at the end is that GiantLands is “a unique excellent game“.📸 But many of the photos and material seem more dedicated to the merchandise available than anything about the game.

This was followed by an extremely awkward presentation of a lifetime award to Jeff Easley which Ernie tries to turn into an advertisement for the museum. Notably the Facebook makes no mention of the other presenter, Heidi Gygax, and was apparently unable to tag in Jeff.

This is a genuinely impressive self own and demonstration of how little they care.

Heidi’s name would later be found on the infamous “Haters List” that was kept on the same server as the controversial draft of Star Frontiers: New Genesis.9nuTSR Insider Speaks Out, Shows Files Directly from nuTSR Server – SFNG, Haters File and More, Tenkar’s Tavern YouTube Channel (22 July 2022)

There was also an announcement that there would be a member’s only gaming event at Gary Gygax’s old house (mentioned only by address.. as if to gatekeep out people who didn’t already know where Gary had lived) and to the best of my knowledge… there was no follow up on this.

A screenshot of the announcement where they posted "June we will have a D&D game session at 330 center street for members to the DHS. Date TBT 8 th to 14th"
Prioritizing gatekeeping over communication and marketing is probably not a good strategy in any business.

Ernie, at least, seems to have been (understandably) more interested in other gaming events where most of the people who probably would have been eligible were attending. Very legit Jeff Leason Twitter also made a post with a photo of him and Harold Johnson…📸 the event later being shared by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in September 2021 for unknown reasons.📸

April saw the first promotion of the works, Alarms & Journeys magazine,📸 of Dave Johnson, the man who’s mere presence in the hobby caused the creation of No Hate In Gaming. Mark that name down, he’ll be a major player in our story.

There was a then and now post📸 showing that the shop was the sort of thing that you’d expect to be open and fully functional.

A screenshot of a Facebook post by Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum on 4 April 2021 "Then & Now TSR the Early Years" where they have posted a historic photo of the shop in winter (there's snow) next to a photo of the shop as it stands today.l
This is kind of nice… except for fact of who owns the building.

There were also a number of semi-related posts, with Justin re-sharing the artwork of himself,📸 sharing two classic advertisements for Dungeons & Dragons📸 – one of which was “Why women don’t play war games“, certainly a choice that one can make if trying to convince people the hobby was always diverse. Also a post📸 about Dave Arneson that neither mentions him, nor his creation Blackmoor by name (instead, rather confusing referring to David Wesley‘s Brauntstein… which Arneson refereed several times)

Jeff Leason went on ECPCTV to do what is actually a quite charming podcast where he revealed they were waiting on zoning for a parking lot, and also that Justin was quite proud they had the original toilet from the original TSR days (“Gary’s throne”). He also talks about the origins of Melf the Elf, different approaches to DM’ing between himself, Ernie, Jim Ward and Gary Gygax – honestly the whole interview is one of the few good things to come out of this.

They showcased that they were selling some gold-plated Ral Partha figures in the online shop📸 (not keeping them as exhibits for some reasons), also TSR dice… they’re regular cheap dice sets but the cheap packing had the TSR branding on it.📸

May started with them showcasing an old gift certificate that Jim Ward📸 still had, promoting📸 the Demeo VR Game… including when linking to Facebook groups📸 completely unrelated to it. Mostly this sort of posting continued though in June we had the first announcement📸 of TSR CON 2022, at the Horticultural Hall, Lake Geneva (site of the original Gen Con) with no particular date but promises of miniatures, board games, fantasy role-playing games, tournaments, seminars, dealers, auctions and celebrity guests. It was quickly declared it would be the “Nation’s Premiere Wargame Convention📸 which was a bold stance given they hadn’t booked the venue or secured a single partner.

Tales & Tots got a shout out, now with a summary… well Justin copy and pasted the foreword. Then a baffling post📸 about “spot the veiled Steganography” – by which they meant “did you notice the letters TSR appear in the drawing”.

Another very legitimate Twitter account, claiming to be Jim Ward (no longer existing, or locatable), started shouting them out, along with this game GiantLands – and how he gets a really generous royalty thanks to that great guy Stephen Dinehart… who is very grateful for the nod.

Stephen’s a great guy… apparently…

As a side note, the Jim Ward Twitter was around much longer (same with Ernie’s), having spent no small amount of time promoting GiantLands through use of imagery from old school TSR Inc. If you’re curious about Elise Gygax’s modelling career with TSR Inc, I highly recommending listening to the Slovenly Trulls episode about the topic.

The official TSR Games Twitter also posted this promotion for Justin LaNasa which while not technically factually incorrect but is definitely misleading. Justin does have military experience, he was in the Army for a couple years before being transferred to the Coast Guard. He was not a marine, and certainly did not qualify as sniper (as was evidence during his shit show shooting in a Mr Beast video)

A screenshot of TSR Games (@TSR games) tweeting on 20 June 2021: "Met our CEO Justin LaNasa? He's not only a vet, entrepreneur & artist, but has been playing #ttrpgs since '80. His passion lead him to Lake Geneva to partner w/ @Gygax_Jr on @tsrmuseum & @TSR_games. Look out for his "Tales & Tots", an RPG for the little ones, coming soon to TSR!"
[A photo of Justin LaNasa stinding in front of half full shelves, wearing a 2D Mar Div, UMS Scout/Sniper School shirt]
Not sure who he thinks he’s fooling…

They also, on Twitter, announced that they would be “rebooting” Star Frontiers as a second product to go alongside the “flagship” product of GiantLands – and used the Alpha Dawn cover to promote this. An, unusual action given they would later claim there was not going to be any confusion between the two products and nobody would be confused.

Screenshot of a tweet by TSR Games (@TSR_games), made 22 June 2021:
Happy to announce that in addition to our flagship new world and game system by @drawmsemaj & @SEDart4, @GiantLands, and our children's RPG Tales & Tots, our next internal project "Star Frontiers", a reboot of the original, is currently in preproduction. #SCIFI #TTRPG
[Image of the Alpha Dawn cover]
The shit show that would become Star Frontiers: New Genesis, begins…

And… not long after that is when the infamous spectacle began.

About those exhibits…

Another issue was that the particulars of artefacts from the early years of the western RPG are hard to acquire and collect is that there aren’t many repositories for them, and those that there are have complications. The biggest issues to stocking a new museum full of rare and unique artefacts are:

  • Most of the materials that were retained by TSR Inc were transferred to Wizards of the Coast when they bought the company outright
  • Those that were retained by Gary Gygax fell into his estate which means that, at the time of the purchase they were either:
  • While there are a few very rare, choice items with substantial value like the few copies of the White Box, most products created by TSR Inc are modestly valued even in mint condition and do show up on auction sites from time, so lack mystery or dazzle. And even the genuinely valuable White Box is periodically available on Ebay… as they know,📸 having bought one their themselves.
  • Of the unique items that do become available from time to time – many are only of interest to the very few who have a deep personal attachment from the era. Jim Ward’s business cards, Jeff Leason’s payslip, etc. Most of the things Ernie Gygax sold at auction fit into this category.
  • Being a for profit business mean that some who could have contributed or donated, such as one of the original TSR Inc employees Tim Kask unwilling to do so.10Curmudgeon in the Cellar **178**, Tim Kasks’s YouTube Channel (26 June 2021)
  • The truly striking, items such as the original paintings by artists like Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, etc that are in circulation are held by collectors who know their value and would never list them or sell them unless truly desperate.

Classic TTRPG mini company Ral Partha donated an old LCD handset game📸 – an action which I am just going to assume they deeply regret given how things have turned out. They also advertised they would be stocking miniatures📸 there which… congratulations on getting a retail agreement with a business that sells to the public as well as countless hobby stores.

They even seem to have tried padding it out with at least one item frequently featured item was made as recently as 2017 by Wizkids.11Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum’s Facebook (19 January 2021) It even got it’s own feature on the Instagram.

Similarly the D&D Eye and Hand of Vecna, featured as an exhibit in February, is still available on the WizKids site for $129.99. Looks great, but not exactly of staggering historical value.

They also may have received a donation of original artwork from Fight in the Sky from Mike Carr. Here it is on display next to the WizKids D&D Eye and Hand of Vecna.

Photo of the Fight in the Skies artwork mounted on the wall, right next to it on a plinth is the D&D Eye and Hand of Vecna item.
You’re probably wondering in what module or story did Vecna fly a bi-plane… I know I am.

Also a box of undisclosed contents in June.📸

But it seems that all of these efforts were not particularly effective in securing a grand collection worth a museum, most of what’s on display in the first stream (featuring Stephen Dinehart) is very generic looking, or prints on walls (no information about what these prints are has ever been publicly supplied).

According to Michael K Hovermale, the solution Justin found in mid 2021 was to purchase a U-Haul full of rare items from a collector who’s hoard included modules that were supposed to be surrendered at the ends of conventions as well as countless books he’s heard of but never seen. Justin paid cash, and they took the haul back to the museum.

They didn’t make real claims of actually full shelves📸 on 21 July 2022, and did their soft opening on 22 July 2021 (though they had apparently been openly inviting anyone who read the Twitter in March…) and Michael only joined officially (he’d been a moderator in the Discord)12Interview with a TSR Insider, Tabletop Taproom (24 July 2022) in the first few days of July,13My Twitter (2 July 2022) so basically at least one U-Haul of content was only secured at the 11th hour and was purchased entirely from a single, unknown, collector who should probably get credit – ala The Wallace Collection.

A photo of Ernie Gygax DM'ing in the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum - in the background is a shelf with a few items on the lower levels, but otherwise all random clutter.
Photo from January 2021 – note the shelves in the background.

Except well, if you visit the Wallace Collection you can expect information on the artefacts to be available, the collection to be carefully curated and the information prepared by experts in the field. They have several in house experts, produce educational videos, highlight specific exhibits on Instagram, and make themselves available for other experts doing research.

At the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum you used to have one expert, Jeff Leason, who as funny and charming and knowledgeable as he is – does not have the background or the the time to write up explanations of every item. However, based on recent photos – you’re not even likely to get that – you’re likely to go get information from a kid who wasn’t even alive when 3rd Edition was announced.

It’s almost impossible to know without visiting what materials they have, what is on display – how much of it would be of note to a collector. As you can see in the photos, most of the materials are just stacked on shelves like it’s a private library – artworks hung on the wall do not appear to have cards to explain them – its just up to guests to know the significance of every item. It just sucks – you honestly get more information and better history on TSR by browsing the old item catalogues on DriveThruRPG and then looking up the items that interest you on Wikipedia.

I honestly feel sorry for anyone who donated anything hoping it’d actually contribute to fulfilment or education of others – particularly since without a public inventory, or a trust to oversee it, etc its impossible to know how much is being kept, how much might get sold or discarded etc. I mean, they’re not even arranged by topic either… unless… I’m going to go check in on this Vecna in a bi-plane theory.

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