If, as The X-Files posited, “the truth is out there,” perhaps it can be found right here in Saratoga County, among the thousands of pieces of show memorabilia at the new X-Files museum, which is opening at 4284 Route 50 (just past Wilton Mall) on April 30. As “X-philes” the world over know, the daring, experimental procedural—a mix of science fiction, mystery, horror, comedy, romance and drama—inspired a cult following that’s very much alive to this day, almost 20 years after the original series finale. And two of its most ardent fans, Saratogians Jim and Kelly Thornton, have amassed a collection of upwards of 10,000 pieces from the groundbreaking television program that they are excited to showcase.
The original X-Files ran for nine seasons—some 202 episodes—from ’93–’02, spawning two feature-length films, two spinoffs and an additional two seasons that aired in 2016 and 2018, not to mention an uptick in women in STEM professions courtesy of “the Scully Effect” (inspired by Gillian Anderson’s character, Dana Scully, a cynical FBI agent and MD whose observations were rooted in science). At the height of its popularity, nearly 20 million viewers tuned in to parse the adventures of FBI agents Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Scully as they investigated inexplicable paranormal happenings. The show proved life-changing for a once-troubled Jim Thornton, whose X-Files obsession helped him turn his life around and inspired a decades-long search for the items that now make up The X-Files Preservation Collection and Collectibles, the official name of the museum.
A place to show a permanent collection has been a long-held dream for Jim and Kelly. “We collaborated with the artist J.J. Lendl, who’s done work for several franchises including The X-Files, Star Trek, and Star Wars,” says Kelly. “Together, we developed a comprehensive look: color scheme, graphics and logos. We wanted something that felt dark and mysterious, like a ‘Monster Of The Week’ episode. We are excited to work this into the modern industrial feel of the building.”
Inside the museum’s walls, fans will find artifacts from as far back as the pilot episode—“show creator Chris Carter told us he had to pull the mammalian corpse right out of the dumpster after the episode was filmed, so it really is a miracle that it still exists,” says Kelly—as well as hundreds of wardrobe items, including garb worn by both Scully and Mulder. “We are also thrilled to have the actual computer Chris Carter wrote the pilot episode on, and many other items that detail the show’s creation.”
The pair have exhibited parts of their massive collection at various expos, but there’s one piece that is simply too large to transport: the Alien pod from the first X-Files movie. “We have had it for a long time now, but we have never had the space to display it,” Kelly says.
“It will be a sight to see.”