10 Unusual Museums to Visit on Your Next Trip

29 de March de 2023

Museums are more than just buildings that house artifacts, they are sanctuaries of culture and history. They offer a unique opportunity to explore the past, present, and future, and are valuable educational resources that help us better understand ourselves and the world around us.

One of the primary functions of museums is preservation. They serve as guardians of the artifacts, art pieces, and objects of historical significance. Though beyond education and preservation, museums also have the power to inspire and spark imagination; they provide a platform for artists, innovators, and creators to showcase their work and challenge traditional ways of thinking.

While most travelers are familiar with the usual museums featuring paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, there are also a plethora of unusual museums to explore. Here are ten museums with exhibits which will certainly capture your curiosity and wonder! If you happen to plan a trip to visit one of these museums, don’t forget to pack travel insurance.

The Museum of Bad Art – Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Somerville, Massachusetts is a truly unique experience for art enthusiasts and skeptics alike. Located in the basement of the Somerville Theatre, MOBA houses a collection of “art too bad to be ignored.” The museum’s philosophy is that “art is too important to be taken seriously,” and their collection reflects this sentiment with a diverse array of truly awful works of art.

Visitors to MOBA can expect to see paintings, sculptures, and other art pieces that are so bad they’re actually entertaining. The collection includes everything from awkward portraits and bizarre landscapes to amateurish still lifes and cringe-worthy nudes. Some of the pieces are so terrible that they’re actually hilarious, while others are so bad, they’re actually kind of impressive in their own way.

One of the great things about MOBA is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The museum’s curators and staff are happy to poke fun at the collection and themselves, making for a fun and light-hearted atmosphere. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the artwork and share their own interpretations and reactions to the pieces on display.

The Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia

The Museum of Broken Relationships is a fascinating museum that features donated objects from former lovers, accompanied by stories about their breakups.

Visitors to the museum can expect to see a wide range of objects, from simple everyday items like keys and clothing to more unusual objects like a prosthetic leg or a voodoo doll. Each object is accompanied by a description that tells the story of its significance in the relationship, and how it came to be left behind.

One of the most striking things about the Museum of Broken Relationships is the emotional impact it has. The stories behind the objects are deeply personal and relatable, and they can evoke a wide range of emotions, from sadness and heartbreak to empathy and understanding. The museum provides a safe space to reflect on your own experiences with relationships and connect with others who have gone through similar struggles.

The Parasite Museum – Tokyo, Japan

The Parasite Museum in Tokyo, Japan is not for the faint of heart. This museum offers a unique and sometimes gruesome look at the world of parasites, showcasing a wide range of specimens that will make your skin crawl. Though despite its unconventional subject matter, it offers a fascinating and educational experience.

The museum’s collection includes a wide range of parasites, from tiny mites and fleas to larger creatures like tapeworms and leeches. You can see preserved specimens in jars and on slides, as well as interactive exhibits that explain the lifecycle and behaviors of different parasites.

One of the most striking exhibits is the collection of parasitic infections in humans and animals. This includes examples of tape worms and other parasites that can live in the human body, as well as cases where animals have been infected with parasites. The exhibits are not for the squeamish, but they offer a unique perspective on the world of parasitology.

Ultimately, it’s not often that you get to see such a wide range of parasites up close and personal, and the museum’s interactive exhibits and informative displays offer a fascinating look at this often-overlooked field of study. If you’re looking for something a little offbeat and unusual in Tokyo, the Parasite Museum is definitely worth a visit.

The Vent Haven Museum – Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, USA

The Vent Haven Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to ventriloquism. It was founded in 1973 by ventriloquist William Shakespeare Berger, and is home to the world’s largest collection of ventriloquist dummies and related memorabilia.

Expect to see a vast collection of dummies, including famous figures like Charlie McCarthy, Howdy Doody, and Jerry Mahoney. The museum also houses an extensive library of books, recordings, and other materials related to the history of ventriloquism and puppetry.

One of the unique features of the Vent Haven Museum is its emphasis on the personal stories of ventriloquists and their dummies. Many of the exhibits include detailed information about the performers who created and used the dummies, as well as the history and context of the performances themselves.

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic – Boscastle, Cornwall, UK

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is a unique and fascinating museum that explores the history of witchcraft, magic, and occult practices throughout the ages. The museum was founded by Gerald Gardner, a well-known practitioner of modern witchcraft, and now houses an extensive collection of artifacts, books, and other materials related to the subject.

If you’re heading here there are a wide range of exhibits, from ancient ritual objects and spell books to more contemporary examples of witchcraft and occultism. The museum also offers regular workshops and events, as well as a library and archive for researchers and scholars.

One of the most striking things about the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is its emphasis on the history and culture of witchcraft and magic, rather than simply its sensational or spooky aspects. You can actually learn about the ways in which these practices have been used throughout history for healing, divination, and spiritual exploration, as well as their ongoing significance in modern times.

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum – Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is a quirky museum that showcases over 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers from around the world.

As soon as you step inside the museum, you’ll be greeted by a colorful and eclectic display of shakers that cover the walls from floor to ceiling. The collection includes shakers in every shape, size, and material imaginable, from vintage glass and ceramic pieces to modern plastic and metal designs. The shakers are arranged by theme, so you can marvel at collections that range from animals and food to holiday and cultural motifs.

What’s particularly fascinating about the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is the stories that accompany each set. Many of the pieces have a unique history, and the museum’s knowledgeable staff is always happy to share anecdotes and interesting facts about the collection. The museum also offers a scavenger hunt for kids and an interactive exhibit where visitors can create their own virtual salt and pepper shakers.

The Toilet Seat Art Museum – San Antonio, Texas, USA

The Toilet Seat Art Museum is a museum dedicated to toilet seats, all of which have been turned into works of art. This one-of-a-kind museum is the brainchild of artist and owner, Barney Smith, who has been collecting and decorating toilet seats for over 50 years.

As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a vast collection of over 1,300 toilet seat art pieces, each intricately decorated with a variety of materials, including paint, jewels, and even small figurines. The themes range from pop culture and politics to nature and everyday life.

What’s particularly fascinating is the personal touch that Barney Smith has infused into every piece. Each seat has a unique story and meaning, and Smith is always happy to share anecdotes and interesting facts about the collection. You’re also encouraged to leave your own mark on the museum by signing one of the seats or contributing a decorative element.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum – Reykjavik, Iceland

Visiting the Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik is an unusual and fascinating experience that is not for the faint of heart. The museum is devoted entirely to the study and display of phalluses from over 200 different species of animals, including whales, bears, and even humans.

As soon as you step inside the museum, you’ll be greeted by a vast collection of over 280 specimens, ranging in size from tiny hamster phalluses to a massive whale penis that measures over five feet in length. The specimens are preserved in jars of formaldehyde and arranged by species, making it easy to compare and contrast the different shapes and sizes.

What’s particularly fascinating about the Icelandic Phallological Museum is the scientific and cultural significance that the collection represents. The museum’s knowledgeable staff is always happy to share information about the biology and evolution of the phallus, as well as the cultural significance and symbolism that it holds in various societies around the world.

MONA – Hobart, Tasmania

Visiting the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is always a thought-provoking experience that challenges conventional notions of art and exhibition. The museum is the largest privately funded museum in Australia and is home to a vast collection of contemporary and ancient art.

As soon as you step inside, you’ll be struck by the unconventional and edgy atmosphere that pervades the space. The exhibits include a diverse range of works, from paintings and sculptures to immersive installations and interactive pieces. The museum’s commitment to pushing boundaries is reflected in its presentation, with artworks often displayed in unexpected and confrontational ways.

What makes MONA so famous is the diverse range of themes and concepts that are explored through the artworks. There are pieces that explore everything from gender identity and sexuality to politics and social justice issues. The museum also offers a unique digital guide, called the O, which uses location-aware technology to provide additional context and information about the exhibits.

Overall, a visit to MONA is an engaging and challenging experience that invites you to expand your horizons and explore new perspectives. Whether you’re an art lover or simply looking for something different to do in Hobart, this museum is not to be missed.