Step aside Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre and Smithsonian. Make room for a collection of weird museums that trade priceless works of art and historic artifacts for something a whole lot quirkier.
Museums already come in all shapes and sizes and cover a variety of themes. But some take things up a notch with a dose of the unexpected. From unique subject matter and interactive exhibits to hands-on displays on wild and wacky themes. These weird museums offer insights into the world around us in a way that can only be described as eye-opening.
Museums record history, culture, religious beliefs and more–or they might just tell you the importance of toilets! Let the weird museums journey begin.
Museum of Selfies: Los Angeles and Las Vegas
You know it had to happen. With an endless stream of selfies splattered across the social media universe, a museum of selfies was not going to be far behind. And what better place to launch the first Museum of Selfies than in Hollywood?
But wait–one is not enough. In October of this year the second Museum of Selfies opened up in Las Vegas. Now even more people can get in on the interactive, Instagrammable fun.
Have your phone charged and ready for a barrage of Instagram-ready photos. Sit majestically on the Selfie Throne made of–what else–selfie sticks. Dive into the Emoji Pool filled with bright yellow emoji balls. Look at the world from a whole new perspective in the Upside Down Room. Or snap a two-sided illusion bathroom selfie (just to name a few options). This is a museum where the focus is reversed–on you and not the exhibits!
Before you go, it might be best to warn your social media followers to expect an influx of quirky posts when you visit.
Cup Noodles Museum: Osaka and Yokohama, Japan
They sell all over the world in grocery and convenience stores. They’re served on planes and trains and continue to be a staple for students looking for a fast and cheap meal. Yes, it’s the immensely popular Cup Noodles.
Back in 1958, Momofuku Ando invented Chicken Ramen, the world’s first instant noodles, in his backyard shed in Osaka after a year of experimentation. Fast forward more than 60 years and this noodle meal is documented at the Cup Noodles Museum in Osaka and Yokohama.
Never to rest on his laurels, Ando fulfilled another dream in 2005 when he invented a ramen that could be eaten in space. Visitors to the museum will be able to make Chicken Ramen by hand in the factory (and take the noodles home with them). Then create your own completely original Cup Noodles package to go with it. See a faithful recreation of the work shed where Chicken Ramen was created, and stock up on goodies from the gift shop (often unavailable anywhere else). Of course, tasting some delicious noodles is one of the most important features of this weird museum.
Museum of Broken Relationships: Zagreb, Croatia
Had a recent break-up with a lover? Don’t fret–you’re not alone. Head to Zagreb and visit the Museum of Broken Relationships where you can commiserate with all the other people who had break-ups that are featured in this quirky but very popular museum.
Following huge success, they opened a sister location in Los Angeles. It seems there is never a shortage of break-ups. The museum displays personal items, stories, poems and trinkets from relationships that were stormy, short-lived, long-lasting, toxic, or sometimes even tragic.
The museum opened in 2006 when two Croatian artists decided to commemorate the end of their own relationship by putting some special memories on display. The rest you could say, is relationship history.
Items donated and featured in the museum include everything from stuffed toys and keys, to special mementos, jewellery and letters. All accompanied by a small story about the relationship and how the object relates to it. The items on display are from all types of relationships–not just lovers. Think friends, family, or even work colleagues and strangers.
You can drown any lingering sorrows at the museum’s Brokenships Bistro with local craft brews and Croatian wines. At the gift shop, pick up a Bad Memories Eraser or Anti-Stress Pencil among other quirky items.
Museum of Clean: Pocatello, Idaho
This museum has a clean slate–literally. Founder Don Aslett transformed the 1916 building where the Museum of Clean is housed into one of the most environmentally friendly and multiple LEED featured buildings in the United States–and of course it is spotless!
The 74,000-square-foot museum’s mission is to sell the value of clean in all its forms to the world. It does this through a variety of hands-on displays, art, exhibits and activities. Each reflects the importance of clean in our daily lives, from clean sheets to clean water.
Meet the world’s biggest janitor. Or view a collection of 1,000 vacuum cleaners, including the very first vacuum cleaner from 1860–the only one in existence. Kids will love the three-storey sphere filled with hands-on activities. They’ll learn about the power of suction, recycling, washing windows, bed-making, sweeping and much more.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets: New Delhi, India
Every human uses one. Some are crude holes and others resplendent in gold. People may be embarrassed to talk about it. Yet where we go to the bathroom plays an important role in our sanitation and health.
The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets was voted by Time magazine as the third weirdest museum in the world in 2014. It features more than 400 exhibits showcasing the history of toilets, drains and sewer systems from 2500BC to modern-day.
The founder, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, has assembled a treasure trove of ancient and innovative toilets from around the world. For example, in medieval times, the English used a mobile commode in the shape of a treasure chest while out hunting. Any unsuspecting robbers would be in for an unsavory surprise when they stole this “treasure.”
Or, there’s the 18th-century toilet designed as a stack of books by Shakespeare. But the museum isn’t all about being weird. It highlights and helps remedy the fact that millions of people in India still don’t have access to basic sanitation.
Have you visited any weird museums recently? Tell us your favourites in the comments below!
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