Art and Entertainment

Image courtesy Museum of the
Moving Image

"Babylon 5" Prosthetic mask

Internet Unites Sci-Fi Fans for Museum Donation

June 30, 2008 07:15 AM
by Amy Goldschlager
Fans of “Babylon 5” pooled their funds to buy a show prop and donate it to the Museum of the Moving Image.

30-Second Summary

In 2006, Marc Zicree, a former scriptwriter for the 1990s sci-fi show “Babylon 5,” placed a show prop up for bid on eBay. The prop consisted of a latex mask worn by the late Andreas Katsulas when he played alien ambassador G’Kar on the show, plus a foam lifemask of the actor, used to fit the prosthetic to his face.

Worried that the mask would vanish into some private collection, “B5” fan Amy Guskin sent out an alert on a Usenet newsgroup frequented by show fans. She hoped that if enough fans pooled their money, they could outbid any individual. Ten other fans from all over the world answered the call; most of them were not acquainted with the others in real life.

After unsuccessful attempts to donate the prop to several museums, including the Museum of Science Fiction in Seattle, the group decided to give it to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, which announced the acquisition on June 25, 2008. The museum is currently closed for renovation until late 2009, but the mask can be viewed online.

Museum Director Rochelle Slovin said, “This is a wonderful story of how members of a fan community gathered online from around the world to preserve an artifact that otherwise would have gone into a private collection ... We are honored that these donors chose the Museum as the home for this mask.”

Headline Link: Fans donate ‘Babylon 5’ mask to Museum of the Moving Image

Background Link: An online call to action

Key Player: Andreas Katsulas

Reference Material: ‘Babylon 5’


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