It’s not quite Game of Thrones, but it’s certainly been a game of thrones for this Texas man.
Barney Smith, the 96-year-old owner/creator of the Toilet Seat Art Museum, is gearing up to abdicate his throne overseeing a bunch of mini-thrones. Smith has been decorating the toilet seats that fill the museum for more than 50 years, according to an Associated Press story published on Tuesday.
Smith had promised his wife, Louise, that he’d stop at 500. That was 850 toilet seats ago.
“If I would have just read my Bible as many hours as I spent on my toilet seats, I’d be a better man,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
Smith said the museum started as a way to display hunting trophies: His father would “spend hours cutting out, sanding and varnishing wooden shields to mount his antlers. The son figured a toilet seat lid would do just fine,” the Associated Press reported.
“Well, I’m a master plumber, retired,” he says. “I thought I ought to stick with my trade.”
The museum officially opened in 1992 and has since drawn visitors from every state, as well as tourists from 83 countries.
Now, Smith is seeking someone to take over his collection of toilet seats. He doesn’t want money; rather, he wants someone dedicated to preserving the art.
“I want all 1,350 (toilet seats) to be intact in another museum somewhere,” he says. “It’s not the highest bidder. It’s not being raffled off.”
A book, King of the Commode: Barney Smith & His Toilet Seat Art Museum, is being released on Saturday, just in time for Smith’s 97th birthday, the Associated Press reported. Its publisher, Daedelus Hoffman, said he hopes the book will help Smith attract a buyer for the collection.
Read the full story here. (It’s actually a pretty interesting piece — Smith sounds like a character, and there are some nice photos and a video of the museum.)