Paul Boyer Museum Of Animated Carvings

The last stop (whew!) on our weekend road trip around north-central Kansas was the Paul Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings in Belleville. Born in 1930, Paul began carving animals, people, and vehicles in about 1950. With no formal education in art or engineering, and only a 4th grade education, he began to animate his carvings using complex systems of pulleys, gears, small electric motors, and wire mechanisms. Paul has no blueprints for any of his carvings. He forms his ideas in his head, and then carries them out: hand-carving figures from wood, painting them,

and then assembling the intricate systems that make the carvings come to life.

Here’s a horse and rider,

and here they are in action.

Here, a guy tries out his hand-pedaled flying machine:

Another guy has set up a needlessly complicated system to fan himself:

Here’s a couple out for a horse and buggy ride:

Below them you can see the working mechnism.

Here’s an assortment of early flying machines:

And here’s one of my favorites: a mother vulture with a string in her beak attached to a swing,

upon which her youngsters sit,

and when the mother pulls on the string, they youngsters go for a ride on the swing.

A farrier’s shop is operated with horsepower – literally:

a horse runs on a treadmill connected to ropes and pulleys which in turn operates all the equipment in the shop.

And you can see the working mechanism below the shop too.

This is my very favorite. Two billy goats repeatedly run at each other,

and butt heads.

Then they back away from each other they same way they came, only to run at each other all over again.

There are 60 displays assembled in the museum in Belleville where visitors can press a button on each display to see the animations come to life. Ann and Candy, Paul’s daughters, are on hand to answer any questions you may have about their dad and his creations.  Paul’s health in recent years has frustrated his ability to work as much as he would like, but his ever-active imagination is at work dreaming up ideas for more carvings to add to his collection. His wish is that his artistry will continue to be available to the public for their enjoyment for many years to come. The museum’s phone number is (785)527-5884. Give Ann and Candy a call – they’ll be glad to show you around the museum.

After being away for a few days, we came home to a vegetable garden in need of attention. We pulled the onions, and picked lots of cucumbers. And so I made roast chicken with Italian bread and onion stuffing, and also made refrigerator pickles….. Those posts are coming later this week. 🙂


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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18 Responses

  1. Hey there! I just discovered your blog today and I love this post! I work in stop-motion animation and so this totally caught my eye since much of what we do is with miniatures. Anyway, great blog. I plan on coming back!

  2. Wow! I think this stop is my favorite from your weekend, whirlwind tour. I may have to stick the kids in the car and go for a visit. I love how you’ve captured the movement of the objects in your photos! They are wonderful!

    Can’t wait to read about the pickles. I’ve always wanted to know how to do that! 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Girl with a Camera,
      Thank you, and do visit if you can. It’s amazing to see in person, and my photos don’t capture all the action.

  3. The engineering is amazing the carvings awesome! What a great museum. I love it.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I love this museum Suzzane! Oh wow I will spend hours here. Those baby vultures look so cute on the swing he he… Oh those horses are so captivating. Love to see how they move in real. Thanks for taking such good pics and posting them in this blog. I enjoyed them very much! TQTQ

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      You are very welcome. If you would like to see the animated carvings in action, there are some on YouTube. Just do a search for “Paul Boyer”, and you’ll find several of his works.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  5. Wow! This guy is so talented…and amazing! It just makes you wonder how things just make sense to some people, and how they can just figure out how to make all the gears work and all that stuff….And all the wood carving! Some people are just gifted in that way and it is amazing.

  6. Shailaja says:

    Oh, I loved every thing about the animated thingummies you have shared with us! Such intricate mechanism, lovely carvings, and each of them with the most appropriate facial expression, too! That look of stoic determination on the face of that man sitting under the fan (sword of Damocles!) is priceless.

  7. Tes says:

    These are so beautiful and amazing! I wish I could take my family to see this museum!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Tes,
      There are a few of Paul Boyer’s creations on YouTube. Just do a search using his name. Enjoy.

  8. Linda says:

    What a unique place! That man is talented!


  9. Marty Boyer says:

    Paul is my uncle and he does amazing work. I take people through the museum too and I am amazed each time.

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