Strange Museums Around the World

By: Brandi Marcene
Strange Museums Around the World

For most people, the word ‘museum’ creates a vivid image of a well-maintained property with prestigious cultural and historical relics. The most popular museums in the world are indeed a collection of history, information, and culture. This is why education, knowledge, and congested corridors maybe a few of the things that come to your mind when thinking about museums.

However, there is another side to the world of museums that you might be missing. This is where things get more interesting in comparison to walking around corridors and looking at dirty fossils.

There are quite a lot of museums all over the world that focus on various, sometimes oddly specific subjects. Quite surprisingly, these venues celebrate unusual and bizarre subjects and artifacts.

So, not all museums focus on popular subjects, but many are also dedicated to strange and exotic aspects of the world. Here is a list of museums across the globe that are weird and interesting at the same time.

1.   Vent Haven Museum Fort Mitchell, KY


Have you ever been in a room full of dummies? Well, that is the kind of experience you will get when you visit the Vent Haven Museum. It is a must-see attraction if you like unique places that display vast collections. A one-of-a-kind museum, Vent Haven displays over a thousand dummies from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

It is the only museum in the entire world that is solely dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. Here, you can see the disarming collection of dummies and learn about their history. So if you’re interested in learning about this cornerstone of entertainment, make sure to visit Vent Haven museum the next time you take a trip to Kentucky. Not to mention, you can also see the real-life making of dummies.

It was in 1910 when William Shakespeare Berger bought his first dummy. But his personal ventriloquism-related collection grew so massive that it eventually became open for public visits. However, it is still semi-private, and you must book your visit at least 48 hours before the time you plan to visit.

W.S. Berger’s collection that he made over more than 40 years includes many things, including dummies, photos, playbills, recordings, puppets, scripts, memorabilia, and much more. You can also visit Vent Haven Museum during its annual Ventriloquism conVENTion.

2.   Underwater Museum of Art Cancun, Mexico

Talking about underwater tourist attractions, what are some things that pop up in your mind? For many, the mental image features experiencing aquatic life in Mexico or Cancun. But the Underwater Museum of Art or Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) is what many don’t expect from an underwater museum. Why? Well, this is because the venue allows you to take a glass-bottom boat or even dive and snorkel in it.

It is very likely that your first impression of the museum would be a port submerged by accident or maybe an ancient city. Installed on the ocean floor of the clear waters of the Mexican National Marine Park in the Caribbean, the Underwater Museum of Art is a one-of-a-kind museum that leaves its snorkeling tourists stunned.

MUSA was constructed in the year 2009 and now features more than 500 sculptures made from a special kind of material that is marine-friendly. Coral grows on these sculptures, and they are no longer just regular art pieces but ones that also feature life. Not to mention, the beautiful coral reef makes for a stunning attraction in itself.

The life-sized sculptures in the aquatic art gallery depict celebrities and residents of Puerto Juarez, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. You can visit MUSA to interact with the sights at 9 and 20 feet underwater through either of the ways: scuba diving, snorkeling, or glass-bottom boat.

3.   Torture Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands


Looking for an informative, fun, and entertaining place for an outing in Amsterdam? While most museums are informative, they can be quite boring. If you despise museums because you think museums are boring places, then the Torture Museum is a must-visit.

Located in the heart of Amsterdam, this museum on SIngel 449 is probably one of the most bizarre yet interesting museums. It is the perfect place to visit because of its ability to take you back to a dark time in the history of Europe. After you’re done and tired of visiting the hotels and bars in Amsterdam, visiting the Torture Museum will prove to be a good chance of scenery and environment.

Torture and execution were extremely common practices in Europe until a few centuries ago. In fact, each city had its own gallows field and scaffold at its gate and marketplace, respectively. It was common for there to be racks below the city halls that were used for sharp interrogation with a labeled table for the executioner.

There is a vast list of things and ideas that made Europe’s system of execution a horrible thing to exist and remember. The Torture Museum is a good place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the painful past of Europe through tools and other items. At the museum, you will be able to see 40 instruments of punishment from the Middle Ages, as well as the spiked inquisition chair and much more.

4.   Museum of Sex New York, NY


How can we perpetuate the existence of humans and other species except through ‘sex’? Although extremely common, the subject still remains quite taboo even today. The Museum of Sex seeks to break taboos and stereotypes related to sex and sexualities, bringing the two into a much more positive light. The museum depicts the complete history of human sexuality, along with its evolution from the beginning of time to today. Not to mention, you will also learn about human sexuality’s cultural significance when you visit this unconventional museum.

David Gluck, the owner of the Museum of Sex, opened it in 2002 in New York City to bring more awareness and light to the taboo subject. As the museum focuses on providing information about sex, it does so in a fun and entertaining ways so that the visitors enjoy the learning experience.

For instance, you will find erotic art and vintage photography on the walls around, while you can also have fun experiences in activities such as the bouncy breast house. Visitors can also learn about the sex life of different animals in the exhibition. Not to mention, the museum also features a vast collection of sex toys that have existed throughout history.

The 4-story building of the museum divides into two sides: a typical museum and a Funland. On the first side, you can read about and look at artifacts, galleries, costumes, etc. On the other hand, ‘Super Funland’ is a place where you can indulge in fun activities such as rides and games with interactive sexual and erotic elements.

5.   The Mutter Museum Philadelphia, PA


The Mutter Museum may be the best museum of medical history in the US. Founded as the result of a donation by Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter in 1863, the museum displays a vast collection of medical instruments, anatomical specimens, and models. From the first donation of the surgeon, the collection now includes over 25,000 objects.

The cabinet-museum setting inspired by the 19th century also serves as a great attraction for visitors. Besides, the museum is informational, educational, and fun at the same time. At The Mutter Museum, people learn about the mysteries of the human body in such a way that they can’t help but appreciate it.

Not only this, but the exhibits at the museum also provide detailed and interesting insights into the history of diagnosis and treatment of various diseases.

6.   Museum of Witchcraft and Magic Boscastle, England


Cecil Williamson opened the Museum of Witchcraft in 1960 after the failure of the initial museum in Stanford-upon-Avon due to opposition. Cecil was a filmmaker who used his exceptional skills in the field to create a huge variety of theatrical displays.

However, in 1996, Cecil sold the museum to Graham King, who later gifted it to Simon Costin on the 13th of October in 2013. It was under the ownership of Simon, director of the Museum of British Folklore, that the museum got renamed the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

Located by The Harbor in Boscastle, Cornwall, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (MWM) houses a huge collection of witchcraft paraphernalia in the world. It is, in fact, the witchcraft hub of the US.

At the museum, you will also see documentation of various superstitions, magic traditions, rituals, and practices from the past. The exhibits of MWM also exhibit various occult belief systems as well as the persecution of witches.

If you’re interested in such subjects that relate to paranormal activities and events and magic, then you must visit the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The museum allows its visitors to explore the magical practices taking place since the beginning of time. Not to mention, you can also compare the different belief systems that either existed in the past or do now, relating to magic and witchcraft.

At the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, you are bound to experience the vigor and diversity of magical practice in an entertaining and fun way. Through the unique exhibitions, visitors accurately learn about magic and its history while also enjoying a fun time. What else? The exhibits at the museum also provide insight into popular magical practitioners and their practices.

7.   Museum of Broken Relationships Zagreb, Croatia


Many people prefer to quickly recover from broken relationships, but the Museum of Broken relationships stems from a different kind of broken love story. In fact, it is all about sharing the misery of heartbreak. This museum tells the story of a love story that took the wrong turn in a Croatian museum, as well as the story of many other lovers.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is the result of the breakup between two Zagreb-based artists who fell in love and dated for quite some time. At the time of separation, artists Drazen Grubisic and Olinka Vistica joked about creating a museum that could honor their relationship. Although it was initially a joke, it soon turned into reality.

The artists actually ended up creating the museum as a way to heal from the heartbreak and mishaps in the relationship. At the Museum of Broken Relationships, you will find their story as well as the stories of many others who loved and lost.

The exhibits at the museum are a combination of romantic memories, video confessionals, and other items that people send over. Not to forget a notable exhibit item that a woman used to dismantle the furniture of her cheating partner. People from around the world love to visit the museum and see the said notable exhibit item.

The idea of the museum may sound bleak to some people, but it really is a transfixing museum in all senses. Started as a way to store leftover items from a failed love affair, it is now also helping many people recover and let go of memories turned sour. At the museum, you will find both obvious elements like rings to strange items like orange pants gifted by an ex-lover.

8.   Spam Museum Austin, MN


Spam is among some of the most famous brands that are produced by Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods. There are high chances that you know spam as the brand is quite famous all across the world. But you may not be aware of the fact that an entire museum out there is dedicated to this canned meat product.

Located in Austin, in Southern Minnesota, the Spam Museum is a must-visit tourist attraction. It first opened up in January 1991 under the name Hormel Foods First Century Museum, which was later rebranded as ‘Spam Museum.’

The simple yet interesting museum highlights the history of the brand and its influences through interactive exhibits. Visitors love to capture photos and videos in front of a wall made out of Spam cans. You can also visit the gift shop at the museum to shop for a unique product branded by spam.

Spanning over 14,000 square feet, the Spam Museum comprises 7 galleries that you can visit. These are called the World Market, Spam Brand 101, Can Central, a World War II-themed exhibit, and others.

Besides the interesting exhibit galleries, the exterior of the Spam Museum is also one of a kind. On one side, you will see red brickwork that adds an old-school vibe. On the other hand, the blue-colored paintwork on the siding and glass entryway adds the perfect hint of modernity.

9.   Museum of Bad Art Somerville, MA


You may know the saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ Well, that is exactly the case with the Museum of Bad Art or MOBA. As the name indicates, this strange museum exhibits art that is not usually considered impressive or good. The idea behind the display of such artwork in an exhibition is to simply bring attention to art that is too bad to be ignored.

Museum of Bad Art is the only museum in the world that focuses on displaying terrible pieces on purpose. Not to mention, it is always open for donations from anyone and anywhere. The only eligibility requirement for a donor is to be downright bad at creating art.

The more interesting part of the pieces on display in this museum is that over 600 of these are the result of a scavenger hunt from dumpsters and thrift stores, etc. So, wouldn’t it be fun to look at bad art hanging in MOBA that may have been dumped? Take along your friends and figure out bizarre art pieces together.

Not to forget, some of these pieces in the art galleries of the Museum of Bad Art may also belong to talented artists. This also serves as encouragement for many people that might be at the point of giving up on creating art. This is the reason why many people believe that MOBA is truly an appreciation for art, even its worst forms.

10.   Museum of the Weird Austin, TX


The Museum of the Weird was created to pay tribute to dime museums that served as a great source of entertainment during the old days. P.T Barnum opened the first dime museum in 1841 called the ‘The American Museum. Several dime museums came into existence until the early 20th century.

While there are quite a handful of museums that still exist to this day, the Museum of the Weird is different for its mystery and strangeness. In fact, it is one last dime museum in the US that exists in the truest form.

Inspired by downtown Austin, the museum was originally a gift shop called Lucky Lizard Curious & Gifts. But the owners also had some objects that were not available for sale, so they decided to showcase the collection.

Although the gift shop was initially popular for pet lizards, it soon became a popular attraction for the strange items on display. It was not until 2007 that the Museum of the Weird was open to the public. Not to mention, the museum quickly became a hit due to the exhibition of mummies, shrunken heads and deformed animals, etc.

Bottom Line

Many people, especially the newer generations, tend to find museums quite boring. However, many weird and strange ones like the Torture Museum, Museum of Bad Art, Vent Haven Museum, and others can be quite interesting. Not to mention, most of these are also incredibly informational and educational at the same time. In summary, you can learn about the culture or history in a fun way when you visit any of the above-mentioned museums.

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