The Junk King


Jerry Blackburn, “The Junk King” of the Downeast region of Maine.  Photo by Alexandra Marvar, 2006.


You just might end your subscription to the Saltcast after the following pun: Producer Josh Gleason wrestled mightly with how to “frame” his profile (get it?) of Jerry Blackburn, “The Junk King.”

Jerry salvages and sells junk. Lots of junk. More junk than you can possibly imagine. But, for nearly twenty years, Jerry has wanted to turn his junk dealership into a museum — “The Downeast Museum of Natural History.” Problem is, it’s never happened. Two decades after the idea sparked his imagination, no museum.

Josh mentally ping-ponged back and forth trying to get his head around the following conundrum: is the story of Jerry a story of a junk dealer who wants to start a museum, or a wannabe museum curator who salvages junk?

It’s a fine point but an important one.

On this edition of the Saltcast, I feature Josh’s story from 2006 and we chat about why one story frame worked, and the other didn’t. Josh also has some great insight on asking tough, personal questions.

Happy listening.


PS – If you like Josh’s feature, check out his other work at


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