It’s confession time. I am a faux-museum enthusiast. You know those people that say ‘count me in!’ for a trip to a museum, only to be caught sleeping with their eyes open? That’s me; minus the sleeping with my eyes open part (I wish I was that talented) and plus a whole lot of whinging.
Sound familiar? Fear not! Spread far and wide over this glorious globe, there are some truly wacky collections that will do anything but bore you. It’s time to check out some of the world’s weirdest museums…
1. The Dog Collar Museum, Leeds
Image by Aaron Amat
Yes, you read right. A dog collar museum…From ferocious hunters to pampered pooches, the museum’s collection of collars had many proud owners, some of which were scampering around some five centuries ago! The museum is part of the impressive Leeds Castle and provides insight into canine fashion over the years.
2. The Spam Museum, Austin
Image by .Larry Page
Located in Austin, Texas the – excuse me, I have to stop giggling. You know you’re going to have an interesting time of it when a museum advertises itself as a ‘meat-packed day of fun’. Even if you haven’t experienced the ‘life-altering pure pork bliss’ that is SPAM, you’ll no doubt be entertained by SPAM trivia, displays and advertising. And of course, should you wish, you may even indulge in some SPAM on your way out. Admission is free!
3. The Icelandic Phallological Museum, Iceland
Image by jen robinson
Thank goodness for the rather scientific title of this museum. If you don’t know what this refers to, well, we’ll leave it to your parents to tell you when you’re old enough.
Opened in 1997, the museum is dedicated to all things phallic. Here you will be able to see over 215 phallic specimens belonging to a range of land and sea mammals, including the whale, polar bear, seal, walrus and human. Intrigued but scared to admit it? Don’t be; the museum had approximately 13,000 visitors in the summer of 2011 alone.
4. Mutter Museum, Philadelphia
Image by mistersmed
For those who are squeamish, it’s best to skip to the next section. The Mutter Museum is a medical museum that has a rather interesting collection. On display is a wax model of a woman with a horn growing out of her forehead, a nine-foot-long human colon (blech!), the conjoined liver of the original Siamese twins, slides of Albert Einstein’s brain, more wax models of heads with horrible conditions and the body of a lady whose corpse turned into a soapy substance upon being buried. I’ll just go quietly vomit, shall I?
5. Museum of Funeral Carriages, Barcelona
Image by charles taylor
From the truly macabre to the morbid, but slightly ridiculous. Upon arrival, visitors are escorted to a stuffy basement to view what is believed to be the largest collection of hearses. Dating from the late 18th century, the hearses are accompanied by costumed mannequins, because you know, the whole set-up clearly just isn’t creepy enough.
6. Vent Haven: Ventriloquist Museum, Kentucky
Image by andrewmalone
Thanks to Chucky, doll-related objects have suffered a hard rap over the years. Logic aside, there really is something unsettling about a ventriloquist’s dummy. The expressive unblinking eyes, the waxy cheeks…it’s all just so unnatural. The founders of the Haven: Ventriloquist Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky may just disagree. Touring the museum, you’ll see room after room of dummies of all shapes and sizes and learn things you never knew. You’ll even get the opportunity to pose with a classroom of dummies…if you dare.
7. Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, Minnesota
Image by A.M. Kuchling
To get a glimpse into the minds of some rather creative characters, visit this medical museum in Minnesota, also known as ‘The Quackery Hall of Fame’. On display are some very questionable inventions, including a foot-powered breast enlarger, weight reduction glasses, a phrenology machine, weight loss soap and a prostate gland warmer. Perhaps it’s really not that weird – we’ve all fallen for some bogus miracle cure at some point…right? Right?
8. Chamberpot Museum, Munich
Image by Patricia Hofmeester
Ever wondered how the ladies in Pride and Prejudice managed their err, toiletry needs? No, me either. Nevertheless, a trip to the Nachttopf Museum and the Bourdaloue Museum in Munich will open your eyes to the wonderful world of chamberpots and bourdaloues. From the intricately beautiful to the purely practical, you’ll get to gaze upon hundreds of these specimens – you lucky thing, you.
9. Museum of Bad Art, Massachusetts
Image courtesy of the Museum of Bad Art
According to its website, this museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and celebrating bad art. Go figure. From landscapes to nude portraits, the exhibition showcases the works of unfortunate souls or ‘artists’, whose hard work and efforts have led them to a place in this fabulous establishment. On another note, is it weird that I think some of the works are actually pretty good?
10. Parasite Museum, Tokyo
Image by jamesfischer
Well this was fun to research! Avoid reading if you’re in the middle of eating noodles or just about anything…Situated in the city of Meguro, the Parasite Museum began as a research facility in 1953. Today, visitors are treated to the sight of eight metre tapeworms and other lovely parasites that were pulled from the insides of animals and humans (yay!). For a lasting memento of your visit, why not buy a tapeworm shirt from the gift shop? No? How about a parasite keychain? Hmm, tough crowd…
So how are you feeling after all this wackiness? Queasy? Disturbed? Confused? Enlightened? But not bored, right? I thought as much…