Here is a guest post all about unusual museums. I thought it was a fun read and wish I knew about some of these before, such as the International Museum of Toilets in India. It would have been fun or at least a good story to talk about if I went there when I was in India.
10 of the world’s most unusual museums
Whether you have a niche interest or just want to see something a bit bonkers on your holiday, a museum with an odd specialism can provide great entertainment.
Holiday Lettings presents 10 favourites from around the world.
The Cumberland Pencil Museum
Photo credit: Steve Daniels (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: Cumbria, UK
Maybe you love pencils. Maybe you simply want to know how pencils could possibly be the focus of an entire museum. Pencil nerd or curious tourist, you’ll find exhibitions, films, workshops and an art studio to keep you and the kids moderately entertained on your Cumbrian holiday.
Photo credit: Piotrus (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: San Francisco, USA
Freaky automatons, marvellous musical machines and arcade games ranging from antique to modern. That’s what’s in store at the Musée Mécanique on San Fran’s Fisherman’s Wharf. And they’re not behind glass either – go ahead and play with them.
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Photo credit: Ann Lee (Licence) via Flickr
Where: London, UK
Who wants to look at some really old packets of sugar? Don’t be alarmed, this is actually a really interesting museum. Simply step into the low-lit Time Tunnel to go on a journey of brand evolution from Victorian times to the present day.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Where: New Delhi, India
This is one for the true design and/or sanitation geeks. It shows the evolution of the humble toilet, including several rather ornately decorated thrones.
Museum of Bad Art
Photo credit: Louise Reilly Sacco (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: Boston, USA
Where does all the awful amateur art end up? From frightening nudes to abstract animal portraits, there’s a home for it here at the Museum of Bad Art. You can view the growing collection on the MOBA website or visit their Boston locations to experience truly bad art in person.
Barbed Wire Museum
Photo credit: Venturist (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: Kansas, USA
You read it right. This rather niche museum tells the story of the ‘Devil’s Rope’ and its part in the settlement and division of territory in the open ranges of the west. Think there can only be two or three types of barbed wire in the world? Then you’re mistaken. This place has more than 2,400 kinds on show, some created as early as 1870. There’s even a barbed wire festival for the real enthusiasts.
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
Photo credit: Douglas P Perkins (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: Yokohama, Japan
It’s best to have some interest in noodles before stepping inside this strange institution. You’ll be treated to a history of making ramen, from traditional methods to instant packet noodles. There’s also a themed ‘Ramen Town’ inside, complete with old-fashioned shops, signage and, you guessed it, ramen eateries.
House of Marbles
Photo credit: Sarah Charlesworth (Licence) via Wikimedia Commons
Where: Devon, UK
There are actually four museum collections here: pottery, glass, marbles and games. It’s a particularly child-friendly affair, where you can press a button to see marble runs in action, watch glass-making or play around the giant floating marble in the Games Garden.
Museum of Vampires
Where: Lilas, near Paris, France
This small collection, innocently sited in suburban Paris, comprises a stash of artefacts related to vampires and their portrayal in artworks, literature and film. You’ll need to make an appointment to visit – call in advance and have a French speaker handy.
Matlock Bath Aquarium and Exhibitions
Where: Peak District, UK
This rather muddled museum offers an aquarium and various random exhibitions, including one of Europe’s largest displays of holograms. Handy if you’re staying in the Peak District and looking for some bizarre entertainment to fill a rainy day.