Wisconsin county finds there’s no money in mustard

Ann Althouse via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license

Unless there’s a miracle, a big part of our condimental heritage could soon disappear.

Wisconsin’s Mustard Museum is in trouble, the Wisconsin State Journal reports today.

Barry Levenson, the owner of the Middleton museum, wants Dane County to take a $124,000 hit on a loan it made to lure the museum from Mount Horeb in 2009. Only 20 percent of it has been repaid and it’s due in three years. Levenson, apparently, doesn’t have the cash because, he has learned, you can’t make money with a Mustard Museum.

mustard_museum“It is doubtful selling 6,000 jars of mustard (all beyond their ‘best by’ dates), and the tins and pots we have acquired, would bring in very much money,” Levenson tells the paper. “They are valuable only as the collection of the museum, and it is unlikely anyone would want to buy it.”

“It wasn’t the best backed loan,” county supervisor David Ripp says. “Jars of old mustard — I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay much for them. They’re only valuable as a museum.”

Levenson says he came up with the idea of a mustard museum after his Boston Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series to the New York Mets, giving up his gig as an assistant attorney general in Wisconsin.

He didn’t charge admission to visit the museum.