bizarre museums

Weird and Unusual Museums part 2

TRAVEL world's most unusual

21. Vodka Museum, Moscow, Russia

bizarre museums

Way back in the 1980s, USSR President Mikhail Gorbachov launched a highly unpopular anti-vodka campaign. A popular joke that did the rounds those days was: a man, tired of standing in line for vodka, swears he’s going off to kill Gorbachov- only to find a longer line there. If you didn’t think there was anything funny about wanting to kill someone who tried to outlaw vodka, this one’s for you. The Vodka Museum started out in St Petersburg, but was shifted to Moscow and is now located within the precincts of the Kremlin.

For all the fans of `little water’-which is what vodka really means, this is one `must-do’ pilgrimage. It’s dedicated to Russia’s favourite drink, and has 600 exhibits- it’s a fabulous tribute to what makes a Bloody Mary bloody good and gives a Screwdriver plenty of drive. Spread out across the rooms is a vast display of stuff connected to vodka- bottles and shot glasses, posters encouraging (and, in some cases, discouraging) the consumption of vodka, advertisements, and more. Some of the earliest moonshine distillation devices- a few centuries old- used in Russia are also on display, as are hand-written recipes, jokes, comics and a detailed history of vodka, beginning with its distillation in a Russian monastery in the mid-1400s.

But the pièce de resistance of the Vodka Museum is the ‘tractir’ or restaurant adjacent to the exhibition halls- a neat little place where visitors can sample up premium vodka. Na Zdorovye (“Here’s to your health”, for those not in the know) is the name of the game here, and caviar, marinated mushrooms, pickled cucumbers and salmon are among the snacks provided to make sure you don’t pass out after bingeing.

The Vodka Museum is located at 73G, Izmailovskoye Shosse, (Tel: +7 (499) 166-50-97). It’s open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, and prior bookings need to be made if you want to swig some vodka at the end of your tour. Children aren’t allowed in, but adults are, and pay about RUB25 for a `dry’ tour and between RUB375 to RUB435 for a tipsy one.

official website: vodkamuseum

22.Museo del Oro, Bogota

bizarre museums

Ever heard of a silver standard? Or of someone with a heart of platinum, who’s worth his weight in iron? Of course you haven’t- because it’s gold all the way. For a world obsessed with this shiny yellow element, aurum or gold is really the metal. And if you want to get your fill of gold, Bogota’s Museo del Oro is the place. The Museo del Oro is the main highlight of the capital of Colombia, and ranks as one of South America’s most stunning museums. Located on the premises of Bogota’s Banco de la Republica, the Museum of Gold has a mind-boggling 10,000 and more exhibits, one of the world’s largest collections of gold jewellery and artefacts.

Stuffed chockfull of gold artefacts from all across Colombia, the Museo del Oro includes pieces of jewellery, idols, coinage, and goods used for barter- all of it crafted in gold. Among the exhibits are Pre-Columbian items, and stuff which has been dredged up from Lake Titicaca’s waters too. Some of it is crafted from an alloy of gold and copper (known as tumbaga), and a major part of the collection consists of items which were interred with the dead. The entire display sparkles and gleams so brightly that you can actually take all the photographs you want without having to use a flash for your camera!

The Museo del Oro is open to visitors from 9 am to 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and from 9 am to 12 noon on Sundays and public holidays. If you want a souvenir to take back, pay a visit to the Museo del Oro’s shop. You won’t actually get any gold here, but there are plenty of gold-plated reproductions of the artefacts featured in the museum.

official website: banrepcultural.org
23. Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame, Los Angeles

bizarre and weird museums
Frederick of Hollywood, creator of such indispensables as push-up bras and thong panties, is a genius. How else do you qualify a man who was just another innerwear catalogue company in New York till he saw that the inherent potential of the stuff that he dabbled in everyday? He packed up his bags and his itty bitty packages, headed due west came to a town called Hollywood and got into the business of ensuring that whenever a star is caught with her pants down, the world has something pretty to look at.

Frederick Mellinger’s store on Hollywood Blvd has been around since the mid 80s, and it’s still sporting the art deco tastes from those days that privileged neon pink above all else. Check it out. The downstairs section is still devoted to retail but the upstairs is a veritable who’s who of famous undies. Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump boxers occupy pride of place as does Madonna’s black and gold bustier from the Who’s That Girl tour. While we’re on the point it’s worth mentioning that when Frederick’s was looted in the ’92 LA riots he lost, among others, Madonna’s original purple and gold contribution. This was replaced by her, eventually, with a neat quid pro quo whereby Frederick made a donation to a charity that funds mammograms for poor women. The black petticoat that kept Garbo’s skirt just so in Anna Karenina is here. So are the underthings of every cast member from Beverly Hills 90210. Liz Taylor, Mae West, Cher and Tony Curtis (his Some Like it Hot bra) have all shared their innerwear with the Frederick’s exhibition. There’s Ava Gardner and Robert Redford too.

The address where all this is at is 6608 Hollywood Boulevard. The museum keeps the same hours as the shop. This “tribute to the stars who glamorised lingerie” is yours to see for free. And what’s more, you’re allowed to take pictures in the museum as long as you keep the shutter closed on the shop floor.

24.Glore Psychiatric Museum

quirky museums

Who wouldn’t want to check out a museum dedicated to the history of such wonderful things as electroshock treatment and lobotomies? Well – most people probably. But for those who have a taste for the downright shocking, the Glore Psychiatric museum is for you. Dioramas span the history of treatment for mental illness — witch burnings and devil stompings; the “Bath of Surprise,” a gallows-like platform that dumped a patient into icy water; and a working model of O’Halloran’s Swing, in which strapped-in patients spun at up to 100 RPMs.

The museum is recognized as “one of the 50 most unusual Museums in the country.” It is also featured in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada.”

The Glore Psychiatric Museum is located one mile west of I-29, on Frederick Blvd. (exit 47).

There is one admission price for the museums located on Frederick. Adults $5.00, seniors (60 & above) $4.00, students (ages 7-18) $3.00, children (under 6) free, group rate (20 or more) $4.50. Museum members always receive free admission at all sites. The museum provides guided tours of any or all of our museums and group rates are available.

25. Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum, Seoul

bizarre museums

Take your quest of finding unusual museums a step further with Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum in Seoul, Korea. Dedicated to the favourite delicacy of Koreans — rice cake, the museum endeavours to pay a tribute to the Tteok and also educate the young generation about this delicacy.

Housed at the third floor of the Institute of Traditional Korean Food – an important research and educational institute devoted to traditional Korean cuisine, the museum endeavours to inform the visitors everything about Tteok — traditional rice cakes. Covering the history and the Tteok making process the museum offers the visitors a rare opportunity to taste this delicacy.

On display are Korean Kitchen utensils that are approximately 2,000 years old and ranging from ancient grinding stones to early 20th century kitchen wares along with the variety of Tteoks that is rice cakes. The items have been displayed under various themes and the displayed utensils are handmade household necessities and are essentially handmade utensils revealing the simple lifestyle of the working class of Korea.

For those who are little adventurous and love to taste different sorts of cuisine a visit to the Tteok café is a must as it offers the traditional Korean tea along with the variety of rice cakes.

The Tteok and Kitchen Utensil Museum is located at Seoul-si Jongo-gu Wayong – dong1 64-2, the museum is opened all the days from Monday to Saturday 10.00 to 17.00 and on Sundays and holidays from 12.00 to 17.00 hours. It is closed on Seollal which is Korean New Year and Chuseok which is a harvest festival. Visitors are advised to check the holidays prior to their visit as they are based on Korean Lunar calendar and subject to change. Admission fee for an individual over the age of 19 is 3000 won (2000 won for group tour) and ages 7 to 18 the fee is 2000 won and 1000 won for a group tour. (A group implies 20 or more)

official website: kfr.or.kr
26. Celebrity Hair Museum, Independence, Missouri

bizarre museums

Leila Cohoon, now a retired cosmetologist teacher, was always fascinated by hair. We suppose this is why she started collecting hair in 1949. Not weird enough? In 1989, she opened a hair museum in a small room within her Cosmetology school. Today, the museum and school are way bigger; in fact, the museum has several rooms that have hair art covering its walls, from top to bottom. Leila’s haie museum showcases over 500 wreaths and over 2,000 pieces of jewellery, which include locks of hair dating back to the 19th century. Here, it is interesting to see how beards, bangs, moustaches and mullets were made into funky bracelets, watch fobs, necklaces, earrings, chains, brooches, hat pins, postcards, pictures and other interesting stuff. We recommend you pop in for a visit sometime soon; after all, Hair today, gone tomorrow! The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The admission fee is $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children below 12 years.
27.  Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada

bizarre and weird museumsA vintage Louis Vuitton shoe trunk holds 30 pairs of Downton Abbey era footwear in a temporary exhibit devoted to the 1920s.

The Bata Shoe Museum was founded by Sonja Bata in 1998 to house her extraordinary personal collection of historical footwear.

Today the museum is an internationally-recognized centre for research which maintains and displays a collection of over 13,000 artifacts spanning 4,500 years. The collection includes ancient Egyptian sandals, Japanese snow-stomping fumidawara, silver paduka from India, beautifully beaded Native North American moccasins and glamorous 20th century shoes by Elsa Schiaparelli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vivienne Westwood and Roger Vivier.

Historical and celebrity memorabilia in the museum’s permanent collection includes Robert Pattinson’s brogues, the Dalai Lama’s Bata flipflops, Queen Victoria’s slippers and Napoleon’s socks.

The museum’s Star Turns mini theatre provides a soundtrack to the permanent exhibit and features Elton John’s platforms, Elvis Presley’s loafers, Ella Fitzgerald’s velvet pumps, Justin Bieber’s Supras and John Lennon’s Beatle boot.

From Cinderella and Puss n’ Boots to my own middle-school style statements, shoes are much more than an indicator of status, occupation and culture. They’re the stuff of fairytales, fantasy and art.

The Bata Shoe Museum is located at 327 Bloor Street West, just a block west of Toronto’s shopping ‘mink mile’.

via: culturetripper
28. British Lawnmower Museum, Merseyside, England

bizarre and weird museums

What some might consider an icon of the worst aspect of suburbia is cherished at the British Lawnmower Museum, which details the history of the push-powered garden tool.

Want to see the first solar-powered robot grass-chopper, or the original mower itself, transformed from a contraption used to hem guards’ uniforms? This museum is for you.

From royal lawnmowers belonging to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, to the world’s most expensive lawnmowers, this place allows everyone to at least talk up appearances even if you can’t keep them.

Don’t Miss: A fully functional lawnmower less than five centimeters high, ready to shave the errant blade of grass off even the tiniest lawn.

British Lawnmower Museum, 106-114 Shakespeare St., Southport, Merseyside, England; www.lawnmowerworld.co.uk

29. Siriraj Medical Museum (Museum of Death), Thailand

bizarre and weird museums

It shouldn’t be taken lightly when a museum is colloquially known as the museum of death, and indeed, this museum is not for the weak of spirit. Or stomach.

On entry to the museum you’re welcomed by the warm rictis grin of the museum founder’s skeleton, a rather foreboding sign of the things to come.

It’s no slasher flick, but it feels like one: hemorrhaged brains, severed and mutilated legs and arms, lungs cut up by deep knife wounds and skulls punctured by bullets demonstrating how bullets ricochet around inside your head.

Pretty much the most gruesome ways to pass on to the next life are on display like a local art museum, and it proves a hit: the morbid exhibition of a hospital is reportedly the most popular attraction in the capital.

Don’t Miss: The mummified body of Si Ouey, a notorious cannibal who murdered several children during the 1950s.

Siriraj Medical Museum, Siriraj Hospital, 2 Prannok Road, Bangkoknoi, Bangkok; Thailand; +66 2 419 7000; mahidol

30. Cat Museum, Kuching, Malaysia

bizarre and weird museumsThe Cat Museum is located on the top of a hill called “Bukit Siol” which stands 60 metres above sea level with a beautiful view of the city of Kuching.

The actual floor area of the Cat Museum is 1,035.9 sq. metres. There are of four main galleries having more than 2,000 cat artefacts and memorabilia from all over the world.

The collection of the exhibited materials from all over the world is one way of making The Cat Museum as a “Cat Information Centre”. Moreover, with a collection in various fields about cats will make the Cat Museum as a centre of meeting place for all researchers and cat lovers from all over the world.

They will also be able to do research on cats, based on historical, social and legendary aspects related to human traditions and beliefs. The Cat Museum can be as a meeting place as well as seminar and international conference venue for cat lovers’ clubs from all over the world.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday – 9am – 5pm, including public holidays. But it closes on Mondays.

31. Instant Ramen Museum  Osaka, Japan

bizarre and weird museumsInternational symbol for bachelor.

The meal of choice for bachelors and broke college students the world over now has a home of its own.

This museum honors the creator of the instant ramen noodle, Momofuku Ando — featured in statue form on a colossal stone cup of his instant meal — who struggled to create an inexpensive food for the impoverished survivors of World War II.

The museum itself is hardly dry and flavorless, with a kitchen where visitors can make their own instant chicken substitute meal in a bowl, a gourmet snack for people who can’t really cook for themselves. Hot water is provided.

Don’t Miss: The entire catalog of every Nissin instant noodle product. Ever. If you’ve been unemployed for some period of time, you’ll feel right at home.

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Japan; +81 72 751 0825; www.nissin-noodles.com
32. Lock Museum of America, Terryville, Connecticut

bizarre museums

Located in Terryville, Connecticut, the Lock Museum of America is built near the site of the Eagle Lock Company, which was founded in 1854. Items on display include thousands of door locks, a room devoted to bank and vault locks, doorknobs and, of course, keys to open everything. The pièce de résistance is a 4000-year-old Egyptian tumbler pin lock.

33. Cumberland Pencil Museum  Keswick, England

bizarre museumsPhoto: Kaptain Kobold on Flickr

Keswick, Cumberland is home to the Cumberland Pencil Company, producer of Derwent colored art pencils and a number of other pencil-art-related products. The Pencil Museum houses the world’s longest colored pencil (a yellow one) and is the home of the “world’s first pencil.” The claim is based on a local legend of a vein of graphite discovered under a fallen tree; the “strange black material” was used to mark sheep and eventually inspired the development of lead pencils and the formation of the UK’s first pencil factory in 1832. In addition to showcasing the history of everyone’s most-misplaced item (aside from car keys, probably), the museum offers art workshops and family events year-round.

34. SPAM Museum Austin, Minnesota, United States

bizarre and weird museums

The SPAM Museum is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of spiced pork artifacts.

The family-fun packed museum features 16,500 square feet of tastefully presented SPAM-filled history. You won’t have to fight for tickets because admission is free. Visit and you’ll be tinkled pink by the SPAM  trivia and vintage SPAM brand advertising. Plus numerous SPAM  displays including the World War II exhibit, SPAM™ Game Show quiz, Monty Python tribute and more. There’s even a SPAM  store so you can stock up on priceless SPAM  collectibles on your way out.

official websitehttp://www.spam.com/

35. UFO Museum and Research Center Roswell, New Mexico

quirky museumsimage via: theallgoodlife.blogspot.gr

The Roswell UFO Museum is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization with the mission of educating the general public on all aspects of the UFO phenomena. The museum maintains its position as the serious side of the UFO phenomena.

The museum is located at 114 North Main Street, Roswell, New Mexico, telephone number:1-575-625-9495

official website:  www.roswellufomuseum.com

36. The Kunstkamera, Russia

bizarre and weird museumsPickled fetus at the Kunstkamera.

Russia’s first museum might seem an odd selection for a “weird museum,” but even a casual glance at Peter the Great’s cabinet of curiosities reveals some bizarre items.

The massive collection of more than 200,000 natural and human oddities was originally assembled to dispel the Russian people’s belief in monsters, though it’s difficult to see how the strange exhibits might have accomplished that.

The czar put together a ghastly personal collection of curiosities including deformed fetuses, creatures with extra heads or limbs, even a decapitated human head preserved in vinegar. The building is now home to the modern Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, with many remnants of Czar Peter’s collection of medical freaks hidden behind mannequins of local tribes and rather uninteresting presentations.

Don’t miss: Hundreds of preserved human fetuses, every one of them with an odd anatomical mutation from flippers to deformed heads.

The Kunstkamera, 3 University Emb., St. Petersburg, Russia; +7 812 328 1412; www.kunstkamera.ru/en

37. Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, United States

bizarre and weird museums

Look out for the hand buzzer and seltzer bottle, but this clown museum is more than a barrel of laughs.

The clowns who joked (and sometimes terrified) America are honored inside, with every one of the fascinating stories behind the inch-thick layer of makeup featured in the world’s largest archive of clown artifacts.

Don’t Miss: The scrapbooks of legendary circus clowns, allowing you to finally discover what exactly it is that makes a clown cry.

International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, 102 4th Ave., Baraboo, Wisconsin, United States; +1 608 355 0321; theclownmuseum.

38. Beijing Tap Water Museum, China

unusual_museums_tap_water_museum_BeijingNo, it’s not a mistranslation.

This former pipe-house in the center of Beijing has been converted into a museum dedicated to the ins and outs of tap water, including 130 “real objects,” models and artifacts such as vintage water coupons dating to the first tap water company in the capital, the Jingshi Tap Water Company.

But don’t be tempted to quench your thirst after all this tap water reading; Beijing residents have long known that the water coming out of their taps is hardly safe to drink.

Don’t miss: The miniature tap water filtration system that gives the Forbidden City a run for its money.

Beijing Tap Water Museum, 6A Dongzhimen Beidajie, Beijing, China; +86 10 64650787quirky museums

39. The Chocolate Museum, Cologne, Germany…..yummy

bizarre museums

image via: gogermany.about.com

Guess what `Theobroma Cacao’ (the botanical name of the cocoa bean) means. The `food of the gods’- so apparently whoever thought that one up had the right idea all along. And if you want an at- close-quarters encounter with chocolate, head for Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. Cologne, in Germany, has its attractions, and way up there on the list of the most popular sights is the Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum, better known as the Chocolate Museum.

This museum has everything you’ve always wanted to know about chocolate (and you can bet your last bonbon, there’s plenty here you wouldn’t have known before!). Starting from a walk-through arboretum, where you can actually stroll among live cocoa trees, the museum’s display goes on to a vast section on the production of chocolate. The exhibition traces the 3,000-year history of cocoa and chocolate, right from when it was used in South America as a means of payment, to its emergence as a luxury drink in 19th century Europe. A miniature chocolate factory allows visitors a peek into how the stuff is made, and a separate section deals with chocolate packaging, advertising, and vending machines. When you’ve finished your meander through the museum, get yourself a refreshing drink- of pure, gooey chocolate- at the chocolate fountain which is the highlight of the museum. Drinks are on the house!

Chocolate Museum – Admission:
7,50 Euros, (5 Euros reduced)
Family Pass (2 adults and kids up to 16 years old): 21 Euro

Chocolate Museum – Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Monday closed

40. The Fan Museum, London

bizarre museumsMask fan – English 18th century.

The British Museum and the Victoria & Albert may be London’s best known museums, but if you’re the type with a yen for the different, try the Fan Museum at Greenwich. Displayed in two lovely Georgian buildings, the Fan Museum is one of only two such collections anywhere in the world. It’s dedicated to the hand-held fan, no longer in vogue (at least in the West), but once an important social and cultural symbol. Beginning from around the 11th century, the fan gradually acquired a great deal of significance as a status symbol and even a means of communication in the highly restricted social circles of the period.

The Fan Museum has a collection of some 3,000 fans- from across the world and from different periods- which are displayed in special exhibitions which change every four months, to help conserve the fans. Although American and Oriental fans- especially from China and Japan- are also on display, the bulk of the museum’s collection consists of European fans from the 18th and 19th centuries: beautifully bejewelled fans, lace fans, commemorative fans, and more.

12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8ER
Tel: 020 8305 1441 / fanmuseum@btconnect.com
Open: Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm / Sun: 12-5pm
CLOSED: Mon 7 – Sun 21 January 2013

image via: timeout

41. The Sex Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands

While Amsterdam’s Sex Museum is suitable only for an adult audience, the exhibits at the oldest sex museum are more cultural than raunchy. In a city known for its booming Red Light district and live sex shows, this museum is filled with paintings, photos, sculptures and other memorabilia that celebrate the history of sex through the ages from the early days of Greek and Roman gods to historic figures like the notorious Italian lover Casanova and Russia’s Catherine the Great who was considered a nymphomaniac.

official website: www.sexmuseumamsterdam.nl

42. Burlingame Pez Museum Burlingame, California

quirky museums

You don’t need a sweet tooth to enjoy the quirky collection of vintage Pez dispensers at Burlingame’s Pez Museum just 10 miles south of San Francisco’s airport. Be sure to see how you measure up next to the World’s Largest Pez Dispenser, a behemoth snowman measuring in at 7 feet, 20 inches tall—over 20 times bigger than a typical Pez dispenser.

official website: www.burlingamepezmuseum.com

43. Circus World Museum Baraboo, Wisconsin

quirky museums

Circus winter quarters in Baraboo, WI, Circus World pays homage to the original Ringlingville and the art of the performance at Circus World. In addition to shows under the Big Top and a collection of historic circus wagons, the Circus Museum tells the story of the circus and its impact on American culture with exhibits of old circus advertisements, artifacts, sideshow banners and costumes.

official website:www.circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org

44.. The Garbage Museum Stratford, Connecticut

unusual_museums_garbage_museum

Plenty of museums have replicas of dinosaurs, but the Garbage Museum’s Trash-o-saurus is an extra-special dinosaur made from a ton of trash—the estimated amount that the average person generates each year. Visitors can gain unique perspective on Connecticut’s garbage by walking through a giant compost pile and following the recycling process from start to finish.

official website: www.crra.org/pages/Garbage_Museum.htm
45. Hall of Flame Phoenix, Arizona

quirky museums

The Hall of Flame in Phoenix, AZ, celebrates the noble history of firefighting in 6 galleries, featuring dozens of restored fire trucks dating back to the 1920s and the country’s only gallery dedicated to wilderness firefighting. Pay your respects in the National Hall of Heroes where the walls are lined with the names of thousands of American firefighters killed in the line of duty since 1981 with an additional 9/11 memorial remembering the fallen firefighters and police officers.

official website: www.hallofflame.org/

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via: journeymarttravel.cnn.commentalfloss, travelchannel

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