The weirdest museums around the world from Weirdest Museums Around the World [Gallery]
Weirdest Museums Around the World [Gallery]
The weirdest museums around the world
Flickr/5chw4r7z/(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Here are 32 weird and wacky museums that offer one-of-a-kind sights.
1. Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
Flickr/chee.hong/(CC BY 2.0)
In Ikeda, Japan, visitors can celebrate the world-famous invention of a man named Momofuku Ando: Cup Noodles, the world’s first instant noodles. The museum features a hall with 800 instant noodles packages from around the world and a station where you can decorate and customize a package of Cup Noodles.
2. Vent Haven Museum
Flickr/5chw4r7z/(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Fort Mitchell, Ky., is home to a unique museum that could haunt your nightmares. The Vent Haven Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism, which reached it peak in the ‘50s and ‘60s but has seen a recent resurgence with performers like Jeff Dunham and Darci Lynne Farmer, who won “America’s Got Talent.” The museum features more than 900 retired dummies, including some used by famous performers, as well as information on the history of the art form.
3. The Museum of Failure
Photo Courtesy of the Museum of Failure/Penguin Vision Photography
It’s been said that no great success was ever achieved without failure. And while most museums are dedicated to the world’s greatest successes -- moving works of art, sending man to the moon, amazing feats of athleticism -- there is value in also celebrating some of mankind’s abysmal flops along the way. The Museum of Failure, which was first opened in Helsingborg, Sweden, documents more than 100 of mankind’s worst innovations and inventions, from Trump: The Game to Betamax to Colgate brand lasagna.
4. Bata Shoe Museum
Flickr/Larry Koester/(CC BY 2.0)
What started out as the private collection of Sonja Bata, whose husband owned a shoe company, evolved into Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. The museum’s collection is comprised of more than 13,000 pairs spanning 4,500 years. The building was designed to look like an open shoe box, and inside, visitors can find Ancient Egyptian sandals, Elvis Presley’s famous “blue suede shoes” and designer delights from today’s biggest names in footwear.
5. Meguro Parasitological Museum
Flickr/Guilhem Vellut/ (CC BY 2.0)
Besides kawaii cat cafés and yummy Instant Ramen Museums, Japan also has its fair share of creepy sights. The Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo is best seen on an empty stomach as it houses more than 300 parasite specimens, including the world’s longest tapeworm at almost 29 feet long. Other gruesome displays are a preserved dolphin’s stomach and a turtle’s head that have both been overtaken by parasites.
6. The Museum of Bad Art
Flickr/Connie/(CC BY-SA 2.0)
There’s a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and the Museum of Bad Art outside of Boston is living proof of that. The museum is the only one in the world dedicated to displaying terrible art (on purpose at least). Its more than 600 pieces were mostly scavenged from dumpsters, curb sides or thrift stores. To be included, the art must be original and have been created with sincere intent. Co-founder Marie Jackson once explained, "We are here to celebrate an artist's right to fail, gloriously."
7. The National Poo Museum
NATIONAL POO MUSEUM/CC-BY-SA-4.0
This museum in Sandown, England, seeks to break down the taboo around poo by talking about all the fascinating things you can learn from it. Resin spheres encase samples from different animals as well as humans. Other items on display include fossilized feces that are millions of years old, owl pellets and a preserved shoe with a cat dropping inside it.
8. Electric Ladyland Phosphorescence Museum
Flickr/ilovebutter/(CC BY 2.0)
Amsterdam is home to many world-famous museums such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, but it’s also home to many quirky collections. Underneath the Electric Lady art gallery in Amsterdam lies Electric Ladyland, the world’s only museum dedicated to phosphorescent art. The psychedelic UV-lit rooms also feature fluorescent fish, mineral samples, toys and other glowing everyday objects.
Flickr/Shadowgate/(CC BY 2.0)
If glowing things don’t entice you, how about a collection dedicated to kittens? Amsterdam is also home to the Kattenkabinet, or Cat Cabinet, a museum in an old house dedicated to displaying work celebrating cats. The museum has pieces from by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as well as some real-life furry felines who walk around the house.
10. Icelandic Phallological Museum
Flickr/Jason Paris/(CC BY 2.0)
The land famous for fjords and Bjork is also known for this unique museum, which proudly displays more than 280 different phallic specimens. Visitors to the Icelandic Phallological Museum can marvel at the preserved privates of animals from mice to polar bears to whales as well as four donated human specimens.
11. The National Museum of Funeral History
Flickr/A Yee/(CC BY 2.0)
For 25 years, funeral director Robert L. Waltrip dreamed of a museum dedicated to the the history of death care and funeral services, and in 1992, his dream became a reality. This surprisingly not macabre museum in Houston has memorabilia such as vintage funeral coaches, funny custom coffins, the Popemobile used by Saint John Paul II, and fantasy coffins from Ghana. Exhibit topics include funeral customs and techniques from around the world.
12. The Museum of Broken Relationships
Since 2006, the Museum of Broken Relationships, whose permanent home is in Zagreb, Croatia, has curated a collection of items left over after love affairs have disintegrated. The items are donated and accompanied with a note from the donor explaining the item’s significance. Objects range in size from a small vial of tears to a wedding dress and range in seriousness from candy underwear to a prosthetic leg.
13. UFO Museum
Since the “incident” of 1947, alien enthusiasts have been flocking to Roswell, N.M. In 1992, two men who worked for the military at the time opened a museum to document not only Roswell’s claim to fame but also to other alleged UFO sightings, landings and phenomena, such as crop circles and area 51.
14. The Plastinarium
© Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com
Guben, Germany, is the permanent home of anatomist Gunther von Hagens’ famous “Body Worlds,” a touring exhibit of dead bodies that have been preserved with plastic. More than 13,000 individuals have donated their bodies to von Hagens, and visitors can see how scientists dissect and preserve bodies via a technique called plastination as well as see different displays of skinless bodies and body parts of humans and animals like giraffes.
15. The Underwater Museum of Art
Flickr/Ratha Grimes/(CC BY 2.0)
While most people take to the waters around Cancun, Mexico, to see marine life, intrepid explorers can snorkel, dive or take a glass-bottom boat to see a one-of-a-kind museum. At the Underwater Museum of Art, more than 500 sculptures have been installed on the ocean floor. They are made from material that allows coral to grow in and on them. Thus, the art becomes living, changing as the sculptures meld into their environment.
16. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
“Beercades” dedicated to classic ‘80s and ‘90s arcade games like “Donkey Kong” and “NBA Jam” might be all the rage with young city dwellers, but since 1960, Marvin Yagoda has been collecting and preserving vintage coin-operated games, automata and other oddities. In 1990, Marvin opened his obsession to the public in Farmington, Mich., and became a bit of a local celebrity, to the point where a band named an album after Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. Though Marvin died in 2017, his museum is still running and delighting visitors of all ages.
17. Avanos Hair Museum
Wikimedia Commons/Nevit Dilmen/(CC BY-SA 3.0)
Take a break from exploring the fantastical “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia and visit another local oddity. Under the Chez Galip pottery in the town of Avanos is a “museum” that is simply a cave filled with more than 16,000 locks of different women’s hair. The story goes that Galip was first given a lock of his friend’s hair to remember her by after she left Avanos. He hung up the tendril in his shop and would share the story with visitors from around the world, inspiring other women to give him locks as well. Despite the collection’s size, the cave still has scissors sitting around should anyone else want to contribute.
18. The International Cryptozoology Museum
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While most major cities in the U.S. seem to have zoos, Portland, Maine, is the only place in the world to boast a cryptozoology museum. Cryptozoology is a field that attempts to prove the existence of mythical as well as extinct animals such as dinosaurs, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. Founder Loren Coleman’s cryptid collection includes “evidence” of footprints and hair samples as well as props and replicas of famous and obscure creatures not recognized by science.
19. The Museum of Sex
The Museum of Sex in New York City documents the history of human sexuality, both with high-brow erotic art and frivolous fun like a bouncy house made of breasts. Exhibits include the sex life of animals and a collection of historic sex toys. And the gift shop sells more than NYC keychains, offering sexy gear and gadgets that those feeling inspired can take home with them.
20. The Neon Museum
Flickr/JACKSON TYLER/(CC BY 2.0)
The Neon Museum collects and preserves retired Las Vegas signs, displaying the historical art in its outdoor Boneyard. The signs in the collection range from the strange to the iconic, with old lettering from famous hotels such as Caesars Palace, Binion's Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust. Visitors can take guided tours as well as book the funky venue as a colorful backdrop for weddings or special events.
21. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
A champion of educating people about sanitation practices in order to improve their lives, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak founded an organization, Sulabh International, in 1970, then a corresponding museum in Delhi, India, in 1992. The Museum of Toilets documents the evolution of sanitation and toilets, commodes, urinals and chamber pots around the world from 2500 BC to present day. It might seem like a niche topic, but more than 1 million people have visited the museum.
22. The Museum of Historical Chamber Pots and Toilets
Dr. Pathak isn’t the only one with a fixation on how humans go. The Museum of Historical Chamber Pots and Toilets in Prague has the largest collection of its kind in the world. Among its 2,000 items are chamber pots made for Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, Chinese Emperor Chi-Lung and the RMS Titanic.
23. The Guanajuato Mummy Museum
A tragic yet fascinating natural phenomenon took place in the small Mexican town of Guanajuato. After a deadly cholera outbreak in 1833, the cemeteries were full, so the city decided to enact a tax for people to keep their loved ones buried. Most people didn’t pay, so more than 100 bodies were exhumed over the next century and found to be naturally mummified. The grim figures range in age from a fetus to the elderly and include a woman who was buried alive whose face is contorted in a grotesque mask. Word traveled about the mummies and soon a museum was built to house them.
24. The Corpus Museum
Flickr/Pedro Layant/(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Ever wished you could tag along on the episode of “The Magic School Bus” where the class shrinks down and gets to tour inside Ralphie’s body? You’re in luck. The Corpus Museum near Leiden in the Netherlands allows you to travel through the entire human body. Visitors enter through the knee and make stops at throughout the body, such as the intestines, where they witness the digestion of a cheese sandwich.
25. The Museum of Miniature Books
Wikimedia Commons/Gulustan/(CC BY-SA 3.0)
Bibliophiles can find a rare treasure in Baku, Azerbaijan: the world’s only Museum of Miniature Books. The collection was compiled over 30 years by Zarifa Salahova and has grown with donations from other book enthusiasts since it opened in 2002. The museum houses more than 5,600 books published in 66 different countries, including classics by Gogol, Dostoevsky and A.S. Pushkin; a 17th-century copy of the Quran; and the smallest book in the world, which must be read by magnifying glass.
26. The National Hobo Museum
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Britt, Iowa, a town of fewer than 2,000 people, has become the center for hobo culture since it began hosting the National Hobo Convention in 1900. While the hobo lifestyle might seem a vestige of another time, in the 1970s three former Hobo Kings sought to preserve and educate others about the hobo lifestyle and customs. The museum has compiled artifacts and memorabilia from around the world, including the personal collections of famous hobos the Pennsylvania Kid, Connecticut Slim, the Hard Rock Kid and more.
27. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
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Though Salem, Mass., might be the witchcraft hub of the U.S., the largest collection of witchcraft paraphernalia is housed at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is Boscastle, England. With more than 3,000 objects and 7,000 books, the museum documents a variety of magic, superstitions and rituals with exhibits on the persecution of witches and the practices of various occult beliefs.
28. The Museum of Bread Culture
Bread has been a source of sustenance for cultures around the world for 6,000 years, so it’s no surprise it pops up in books, art and more. The Museum of Bread Culture in Ulm, Germany, documents the significance of bread and the evolution of breadmaking through a collection of more than 18,000 objects.
29. The Dog Collar Museum
Flickr/Herry Lawford/(CC BY 2.0)
30. The Barbed Wire Museum & The Devil’s Rope Museum
Flickr/russellstreet/(CC BY-SA 2.0)
Both LaCrosse, Kansas, and McLean, Texas, have museums dedicated to the invention, rise and implications of barbed wire, the material that effectively ended the era of the open plains in the American West. The Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean is off Route 66 and promises to get visitors “hooked” on barbed wire. The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum displays more than 2,000 varieties of barbed wire, including samples from as far back as 1873, when the tool was invented.
31. Gopher Hole Museum
Flickr/Alan Levine/(CC BY 2.0)
Torrington, Canada, population fewer than 200 people, needed a way to put itself on the map, and townspeople founded an unusual attraction in 1996. The Gopher Hole Museum features dozens of dioramas of stuffed “gophers” (actually Richardson's ground squirrels) dressed and posed to resemble different citizens of Torrington. Thousands of visitors each year pass through the attraction and place and pin on a world map to mark where they’re from.