The Strangest Museum in Every State
From disturbing oddities to “why-does-this-deserve-an-entire-museum?” subjects, these are the types of out-of-the-box attractions that make America what it is.
Alabama: Spear Hunting Museum
Make your way to Summerdale, Alabama, and you can take a stop by the Spear Hunting Museum, founded by and dedicated to the late Gene Morris, the self-proclaimed “greatest living spear hunter in the world” in his day. Most walls are covered with taxidermied animals, animal heads, and horns from his expeditions.
Alaska: Hammer Museum
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The Hammer Museum in Haines is apparently “the world’s first museum dedicated to preserving the history of the hammer”—and it probably didn’t have too much competition reaching that title. Items on display include hammers used for crushing ice on planes in the ’70s and ’80s (back in the days when you could get free peanuts) and a hammer designed for 1950s cowboys. Find out about other crazy world records that have been broken in each state.
Arizona: The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
courtesy The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
This is no ordinary history museum. The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures tells stories—historic, magical, and everything in between—through teeny tiny figurines. Take a sneak peek inside a Japanese farmhouse, a 19th-century German grocery store, and Santa’s elves hard at work.
Arkansas: Maxwell Blade’s Odditorium & Curiosities Museum
What would you expect from illusionist Maxwell Blade except a collection of the weird and wonderful? Fair warning: Maxwell Blade’s Odditorium & Curiosities Museum isn’t for the easily creeped-out. The museum is an extension of the Hot Springs theater where he performs, and it’s filled with some of the strangest artifacts you never knew you’d want to know about. Stop by before a show (or on any day) to catch a glimpse of more than 300 items of intrigue, like an accidentally mummified cat, preserved reptiles, and a model ship that uses human hair for its rigging.
California: International Banana Museum
There’s just something a-peel-ing about the International Banana Museum. As its website says, it holds all the “banana related items you can possibly think of and some you’ve never thought of.” Just a taste of its memorabilia includes banana record players, banana staplers, and banana slippers; jade bananas, alabaster bananas, and wooden bananas. We’re going bananas just thinking about it all.
Colorado: Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum
Just in case you wanted more laundry in your life, the Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum is home to all the washers you wanted and many, many more. One thing is for sure: After seeing the 1903 hand-operated washer, you’ll come home thankful for your newfangled Energy Star washer and dryer.
Connecticut: The Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum
Delaware: Zwaanendael Museum
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A museum celebrating the history of Dutch colonists in Delaware wouldn’t seem so strange if it weren’t for one notable item featured in the Zwaanendael Museum: the Fiji Merman. Most family heirlooms include jewelry and china, but for a century, one family kept their hands on a grotesque imaginary creature made of a fish and a shrunken monkey head, thought to have been created in China in the mid-1800s. Don’t miss these other 13 of the world’s most bizarre tourist destinations.
Florida: The Waste Pro Garbage Truck Museum
Courtesy Ron Pecora, CMO Waste Pro USA
The Waste Pro Garbage Truck Museum is an ode to the often-unthanked industry of garbage collection. You probably prefer to just toss out the trash and forget about it, but this collection of antique trucks will make you want to know more. Any car lover will want to take a closer look at the 1926 flatbed just like the one the Waste Pro CEO’s dad drove back in the day, and movie buffs should seek out the truck Denzel Washington rode in Fences.
Georgia: Vidalia Onion Museum
When there’s a bulb vegetable named after your town, you’d better believe you’ll be honoring it. The Vidalia Onion Museum goes through past and present, showing how the humble onion changed the economy and cooking. You can even see the onions in action—the tiniest registered Vidalia onion field is on the museum grounds. Find out the best state fair or food festival in your state.