Experience the Bob Ross Experience: A New Museum Open in the TV Painter’s Former Studio Home

Bob Ross is as renowned for the gen­tle encour­age­ment of his voice as for his speedy tech­nique: indeed, these very qual­i­ties are syn­ony­mous with the name “Bob Ross.” His revival in recent years has as much to do with the de-stress­ing effects of his permed onscreen per­sona as with our awe, iron­ic or oth­er­wise, at his kitschy pic­ture-per­fect land­scapes in under an hour. He’s become as much a saint of pub­lic tele­vi­sion as Mr. Rogers and even more of an inter­net icon.

But unlike most oth­er fan­doms, the devot­ed lovers of Bob Ross have had no place to call their own. They might show up in Bob Ross cos­play at com­ic con. Yet no Bob Ross Con has made the scene. Leave it to Ross’s orig­i­nal Joy of Paint­ing stu­dio to fill the gap with a muse­um ded­i­cat­ed to the paint­ing instruc­tor. The Bob Ross Expe­ri­ence is part of a larg­er cam­pus of build­ings called Min­netrista in Muncie, Indi­ana, found­ed by the Ball fam­i­ly of Ball mason jars. It’s an “immer­sive exhib­it,” fea­tur­ing “orig­i­nal paint­ings and arti­facts” and “inspir­ing vis­i­tors with Bob’s mes­sage of fear­less cre­ativ­i­ty.”

What more could you want from a Bob Ross muse­um? Well, maybe a ful­ly-online expe­ri­ence these days. For now, you’ll have to make the trip to Muncie, where locals pay $8 a tick­et (kids $6, 3 & under are free) and non-res­i­dents shell out $15 ($12 per kid, etc). There may be nowhere else you can see Ross’s hap­py lit­tle trees in per­son. As Ayun Hal­l­i­day wrote here recent­ly, “sales of his work hov­er around zero.” Almost all of his paint­ings, save a few owned by the Smith­son­ian and a few pri­vate indi­vid­u­als, reside in stor­age in North­ern Vir­ginia, where an exhib­it came and went last year.

Ross him­self, who honed his method dur­ing short breaks in the Air Force, hard­ly ever exhib­it­ed in his life­time; he was a made-for-TV painter with a small mer­chan­dis­ing empire to match. Now, fans can make the pil­grim­age to his cre­ative TV home at the Lucius L. Ball house. Swoon over per­son­al relics like his keys and hair pick and, of course, “the artist’s palette knife, easel, and brush­es,” writes Colos­sal. “Many of the arti­facts are free to touch.” A cur­rent exhi­bi­tion at the Expe­ri­ence, “Bob Ross at Home” through August 15, 2021, show­cas­es “a few dozen of the artist’s can­vas­es, many on loan from Muncieans who got the works direct­ly from Ross.”

Not only can you hang out on set and view Ross’s paint­ings and per­son­al effects, but you can also, Art­net reports, “sign up for $70 mas­ter class­es with cer­ti­fied Bob Ross instruc­tors.” That’s $70 more than it costs to watch the mas­ter him­self on YouTube, but if you’ve already made the trip…. One only hopes the instruc­tors can chan­nel what George Buss, vice pres­i­dent of the Expe­ri­ence, calls Ross’s best qual­i­ty, his gen­tle fear­less­ness: “He takes what looks like a mis­take and turns it into some­thing beau­ti­ful.” And that, friends, is the true joy of the Bob Ross expe­ri­ence.

via Colos­sal

Relat­ed Con­tent:  

Watch Every Episode of Bob Ross’ The Joy Of Paint­ing Free Online: 403 Episodes Span­ning 31 Sea­sons

What Hap­pened to the 1200 Paint­ings Paint­ed by Bob Ross? The Mys­tery Has Final­ly Been Solved

Watch 13 Come­di­ans Take “The Bob Ross Chal­lenge” & Help Raise Mon­ey for The Leukemia & Lym­phoma Soci­ety

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Tommy Fish says:

    I have checked out sev­er­al sites relat­ed to Bob Ross and I have yet to find what I am look­ing for. I know his muse­um is in Muncie, IN. I also know how much it costs to get in. What I don’t know is where exact­ly it is locat­ed as I’m sure it has a street address, and the hours and days it is open. Does any­one out­side of Muncie know or is it a close­ly guard­ed secret? If some­one out there knows I sure would appre­ci­ate it if you would let me know. Thanks

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