Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding Museum Opens in Brooklyn Apartment, But the Skaters Aren’t Visiting

Rebecca Greco, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan cross stitch. Photo: Sophia Callahan, courtesy the Creators Project.

Two New Yorkers recently hatched the crazy idea of opening a museum dedicated to the legendary 1990s rivalry between figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, and believe it or not, they’ve actually done it. As reported by the Creators Project, the THNK1994 museum debuted this weekend.

Following in the grand tradition of New York apartment museums (see Help Save New York’s Troll Museum), Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins have transformed the hallway of their Williamsburg home into a tribute to the relationship between the two skaters, with a focus on a brutal attack on Kerrigan prior to the 1994 US National Championship (also that year’s Olympic trials), orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband.

Their Kickstarter campaign asked only for $75, but the duo wound up raising just over $2,000—more than enough to keep the museum open for the year-long duration of their lease.

Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen at their Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan museum. Photo: Sophia Callahan, courtesy the Creators Project.

Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen at their Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan museum.
Photo: Sophia Callahan, courtesy the Creators Project.

They also received a number of donations of Harding/Kerrigan-related items, including tabloids covering the infamous attack, ticket stubs and programs from their skating competitions, and even a tweet inspired by the project, handwritten in calligraphy: “If you can’t handle me at my Tonya, you don’t deserve me at my Nancy.” The quip refers to a widely quoted admonishment by Marilyn Monroe to would-be suitors: “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

A professional Tonya Harding impersonator will even be on hand for the opening festivities at Brooklyn performing arts venue Standard Toykraft on April 18.

Booking a visit to THNK1994 is a bit like setting up a date with someone you meet online, Olen told the Creators Project. “You know, you have to butter us up a little bit, look like your pictures, have a few things we can verify, and then we’ll meet you on the corner, and if you look like your pictures, then you can come to our house!”

As for the skaters themselves, Kerrigan has refused to comment on the new museum. Harding, however has relayed the message that “she thinks it’s cool and interesting, but she’s very busy and can’t come,” said Harkins.

“We get it,” Harkins added. “We get it.”

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