EAST LANSING, Mich. — Hidden in the back corner of an office at the planetarium at Michigan State University's campus in East Lansing is one of the most unusual collections you will ever see — the Moist Towelette Museum.
John French, the production coordinator at the planetarium, is the man behind this museum.
"I started collecting moist towelettes 30 years ago, probably," French said. "People seemed to be very interested in my moist-towelette collection, and so it evolved into the Moist Towelette Museum.”
These moist towelettes didn't wet-wipe their way onto the scene until French worked at a planetarium in Pittsburgh in the early '90s.
“I searched on the internet — that was really in its infancy at that time — and found out that there wasn't [sic] any moist towelette collections that I could find," he said.
In the late '90s, French moved to a planetarium in Texas and decided it was time to make the most — or the moist — out of this opportunity.
“I moved the Mars exhibit out [and] put the moist towelettes in there," he said. "I made this little sign that says ‘Moist Towelette Museum.’ Then I noticed visitors to the planetarium were spending a lot more time looking at the moist-towelette collection than they ever did on the Mars exhibit. So I thought, 'I am on to something here.'”
What started as a joke turned into a squeaky-clean success. He eventually moved to Michigan but kept the museum going and growing.
“Most of them, people have given to me," French said. "Once they know that I collect moist towelettes, they start giving me moist towelettes. I get them from people that I know and also get a lot of them from people that I don't know. Just people that heard a story like this and say, 'Oh, I have some moist towelettes that are unique. I'll send them in.'”
French now has more than 1,000 moist towelettes in his collection from all over the world.