15 Weird Museums You Never Knew Existed
Some museums hold stranger collections than others. Here’s our list of the exceptionally odd ones.
With a world filled with billions of people, there are bound to be a variety of eclectic interests and museums are no exception. From bad art to bananas and roller skating to UFOs, there’s a museum for every person. Here are the strangest museums in each state.
The Museum of Bad Art
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to the curators at the Museum of Bad Art, none of these pieces are beautiful. They’re either bad pieces made by otherwise talented artists or bad pieces made by exceptionally untalented artists. The collection includes portraits, landscapes, and still life pieces. This one, for example, is “Mana Lisa” by Andrea Schmidt of Vancouver, Canada. You can see most of the collection online, but there are also three permanent galleries in the Massachusetts area.
The Dog Collar Museum
Located inside Leeds Castle in Kent, England, this museum showcases five centuries of dog collars. Some are iron, some are plastic, and some have large spikes. There’s something for everyone. This museum dedicated to garbage might make you rethink what you throw out.
International Banana Museum
You can find practically every object shaped like a banana at this museum in Mecca, California. Some examples: staplers, statues, record players, and salt and pepper shakers. Even better, you can also eat practically any banana-flavored treat here, like banana ice cream, banana soda, and, of course, banana splits.
Busy Beaver Button Museum
Learn about the history of buttons. Browse a collection of political, humorous, and just plain entertaining buttons. Visitors can even make their own buttons at this hidden Chicago gem (or button?). This museum wants to pay you to complete 18th-century puzzles.
Museum of the Odd
Next time you’re in Lawrence, Kansas, stop by the Museum of the Odd to see things you never thought you’d want to see. The museum is actually the home of Randy “Honey Boy” Walker, who has collected such strange items as Elvis Presley’s toenail, pictures of corpses in their coffins, and elephant dung in the shape of Adolf Hitler. (If you’re a super-fan of odd art, check out these abandoned works in the middle of nowhere.)
National Mustard Museum
Founder Barry Levenson is seriously dedicated to mustard. He left his job as an assistant attorney general to start this condiment-honoring museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. It holds a collection of nearly 5,700 mustards from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. We didn’t even know that many types of mustard existed!
National Museum of Roller Skating
This museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, boasts the largest collection of historical roller skates in the world. Some skates are almost 200 years old! There are also skating costumes, thousands of photos of skaters, and programs from national and international roller-skating competitions. Get a look inside the world’s first museum dedicated to Dr. Suess.
International UFO Museum and Research Center
Do extraterrestrials exist? If so, what is their preferred mode of transportation? The IUFOMRC in Roswell, New Mexico, is dedicated to answering these questions and researching UFO activity. It includes exhibits on crop circles, Area 51, and other alien-related events. It even keeps a log of UFO sightings across the country. These are the 12 UFO myths scientists wish you would stop believing.
The Mob Museum
Located in Downtown Las Vegas in the United States, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also called the Mob Museum, provides a thorough history of organized crime and a view in the Mob world. Located in a former 1933 U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, the Mob Museum has both permanent and rotating exhibitions on everything having to do with the past and the present, including the Valentine’s Day Massacre wall and film selections. Here are 13 additional things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve casinos.
The Museum of Bread and Art
Located in the German city of Ulm, the Museum of Bread and Art is exactly what you think it is: a museum about bread. German entrepreneurs Willy Eiselen and his son Dr. Hermann Eiselen founded the museum in 1955, with a focus on art and the global food system.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
Located in an unassuming building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a wonder to behold. The front of the shop contains apothecary jars, medical instruments, surgical tools and other paraphernalia pertaining to pharmacists in New Orleans while the back contains a setup of what it would look like for a pharmacist to work. Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. was America’s first licensed pharmacist and “the first to pass the licensing examination, therefore making his pharmacy the first United States apothecary shop to be conducted on the basis of proven adequacy,” according to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum’s website.
The Museum of Broken Relationships
The Museum of Broken Relationships opened in Croatia’s capital city Zagreb in 2010. Developed by founders Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, the idea, after their own failed relationship, was to collect items from other relationships and even included donations from local residents. The museum has since expanded to pop-up locations where you can have a look at the broken relationships of people from around the world. Recovering from a broken heart? Here’s how this woman’s dream guy broke her heart—and allowed her to find the love of her life.
Iceland Phallological Museums
Located in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Iceland Phallological Museum is, according to its website, “probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country.” The museum brings the ancient science of phallology to light and allows people to take an educational and scientific approach to this field. There are more than 215 penises and penile parts in its collection. Here are 17 virtual museums and concerts you can now see online.
Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum
Who would have thought there would be such an interest in washing machines? The Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum, located in Colorado, has more than 1,400 antique washing machines. Lee Maxwell, a retired electrical engineering professor from Colorado State University, began collecting the machines in 1985 and the collection grew so vast that the Guinness World Record was awarded to him for the world’s largest washing machine collection. Here are 16 things you never knew you could put in the washing machine.
Museum of Miniature Books
Books come in all shapes and sizes, and at the Museum of Miniature Books in Baku, Azerbaijan, these books come in miniature. The Museum of Miniature Books, which opened in 2002, contains thousands of tiny books from the private collection of bibliophile Zarifa Salahova. Some of the books are so small they can only be read using a magnifying glass! How’s that for dedication? Next, be sure to check out the most impressive library in every state.