Now more than ever, museums have become innovative and diverse in the information they exhibit and in the space itself. It’s no longer just seeing paintings on a wall with a description on a placard – it’s all more immersive and nontraditional.
Whether you’re road tripping or visiting a new city, you should always check out an exhibit – most of the time it’s rooted in the local arts and culture of the destination. You never know what you’ll find – like the Museum of Crochet in Joshua Tree, California or the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. Here are some quirky and unique museums to add to your list for your next adventure.
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Did you know that SPAM is celebrating its 85th birthday this year? SPAM has had a far-reaching culinary and cultural influence throughout the globe. Folks can “SPAMple” the canned delicacy and explore exhibits chronicling the history of SPAM through the years in Austin, MN across a sprawling 14,000 sq ft at the SPAM Museum!
Nine interactive exhibits include the history of the brand, the evolving SPAM packaging, its role in WW2 and more. Fun fact: 780 cans of SPAM travel around the museum on a conveyor belt, and it takes one can 18 minutes to make the full loop. Free admission to the museum for all visitors.
On a road trip through the West, adventurers should consider a stop at the old western mining town of Virginia City, Nevada and travel back in time with a visit to the haunted and strange Washoe Club Museum for those brave enough.
Visitors can not only learn about the history of the building and life in the mining town but also embark on a ghostly adventure to seek out paranormal activity. The club is where the Travel Channel original series, Ghost Adventures claimed to have filmed the “most compelling paranormal evidence ever captured.” Visitors can conduct their own investigation using the latest scientific gadgets and technology to confront paranormal activity and key evidence in an effort to uncover the truth behind the haunted mysteries in the 3 floors of The Washoe Club Museum and surrounding areas.
You can’t bring up Idaho without the mention of the world’s most famous potato. While the state is known for this vegetable, the potato actually didn’t make its way to North America until the 1600s – originating from Europe in the 1570s, then to Africa, China, India and Russia.
The Idaho Potato Museum opened its doors in their 5,500 square-foot space in 1988 with a welcome party that had over 2,000 attendees. Not only will you see interesting artifacts, but you’ll leave being much more knowledgeable about the underappreciated potato industry.
Yes, an entire museum dedicated to crochet and more specifically fuzzy animals. Located in Joshua Tree, California, the Crochet Museum might just be one of the weirdest exhibits to explore. Although tiny, the weirdness doesn’t stop from a crochet alligator named Bunny who is your museum curator.
Note that they are always open even if no one is there. The owner Shari actually doesn’t make the creations herself but their 90’s style website credits “old ladies” to these colorful creations.
In the heart of New York City, this museum is exactly how it sounds – but it’s not totally as explicit as you may believe. Sex, like any other topic in the world, has history and no – it’s not all raunchy. Their current exhibit, Porno Chic to Sex Positivity: Erotic Content & the Mainstream, chronicles the role of the media all the way back to 1960 and it’s role against illicit content.
Besides a giant breast bouncy house, the Museum of Sex boasts over 20,000 artifacts that range from art, clothing, photography, inventions, multimedia and more. You definitely will learn something new, but maybe leave your parents and children at home for this day trip.
National Corvette Museum
At the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY, science geeks and car enthusiasts come together for a museum experience that takes speed and nature’s natural phenomena to the next level. Witness the large collection of models dating back to the invention of the corvette, while learning and celebrating the sportscar’s past, present and future.
Then get behind the wheel of a C8 model and circle laps around the 3.2-mile road course at top speed. For an unexpected interactive science experience, visitors can check out the one-of-a-kind ‘Corvette Cave-In Experience,’ exhibit— an all-time-favorite which details the historic 2016 sinkhole that swallowed eight corvettes whole.
With locations in Hollywood and New Orleans, the Museum of Death is not for the faint of heart and mature audiences are strongly recommended. It was founded in 1995 where their website states, “created to fill the void in death education in this country”.
The exhibit houses the largest collection of serial killer artwork, funeral ephemera, coroners instruments, crime scene photographs and more. Each location is completely different with a self-guided tour that will last up to an hour, or simply for however long your stomach can handle it.
Would you go on a tour of truly bad art? What’s so interesting about the Museum of Bad Art in Boston, Massachusetts is that it adds to the conversation of subjective art. What truly makes art bad? What makes it good? The Museum of Bad Art originally started in 1993 in the basement of a residential home and with budding success, they continued to grow into bigger spaces. You can visit their permanent installation in the basement of a 1912 movie theater.
Sometimes those eyebrow raising topics are the ones that you learn the most from. Don’t judge a book by its cover and be open to try something new – maybe a museum that wouldn’t necessarily be your top choice to see. You never know what you might find!
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