From SPAM to Barbed Wire: Seven of the Weirdest Museums in America
Imagine: A whole museum dedicated to SPAM in all its canned, hammy goodness.
Wandering Eyre, flickr
Well, imagine no longer – this place exists, as do a number of museums dedicated to oddities like funeral history, medical specimens, barbed wire and more. Better yet, they can all be found somewhere in the United States. So, if the idea of missing out on jewelry made of hair is too much to bear, check out some of the weirdest museums in America.
Of course, the wackiness doesn't stop there. Share your favorite crazy museums in the comments below.
National Museum of Funeral History
Mr. Kimberly, flickr
According to this Houston museum, "any day above ground is a good one." But, for those of us who thankfully can relate, the National Museum of Funeral History is there to help us understand what it's like to deal with death. Founded in 1992, its mission is to preserve the heritage of the funeral industry. This is accomplished through exhibits like a full-scale replica of Pope John Paul II's crypt, a 1900s casket factory and a Civil War embalming diorama.
415 Barren Springs Drive, Houston, TX; 281-876-3063
Admission: Adults: $10; Children: $7; Seniors: $9
Leila's Hair Museum
Apparently, back in Victorian times, the cool thing to do was make wreaths, jewelry and other ornamentations out of human hair. And, thanks to Leila's Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri, the tradition is still alive. Here, visitors can see 159 wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of jewelry containing or made of human hair that date to before 1900. There's watch fobs, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, chains, brooches, hat pins and wreathes from two sisters who shaved their heads to enter a convent.
1333 South Noland Road, Independence, MO; 816-833-2955
Admission: Adults: $5; Seniors and Children: $2.50
Perhaps the best known museum on this list, the Mutter Museum is where visitors to Philadelphia go to get creeped out by medical oddities and specimens. Ever wanted to see Grover Cleveland's tumor, a conjoined liver from Siamese twins, a slice of a murderer's brain or a woman who turned to wax after death? Well, this is the place. Just consider eating lunch after visiting rather than before.
19 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-563-3737
Admission: Adults: $14; Children: $10; Seniors: $10
A true testament to the theory that one man's trash is another man's treasure is the Trash Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. Run by the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, the museum explores all things waste like the problems of traditional trash collection and various, sustainable solutions to the problem. Exhibits include an operating recycling facility, a mural depicting the history of trash management and a visualization of how much trash a single person produces annually.
211 Murphy Road, Hartford, CT; 860-757-7765
the queen of subtle, flickr
Can't get enough of America's favorite canned meat? Then hightail it over to the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota to learn all about Hormel's culinary icon invented in 1937. Here, visitors can practice canning SPAM products (of which there are 13), brush up on SPAM trivia, learn about SPAM products and their role in World War II, and stock up on official SPAM merch. Maybe those SPAM takeaways will pair nicely with a souvenir from the Vidalia Onion Museum.
1101 Main St. N, Austin, MN; 1-800-LUV-SPAM
The Museum of Bad Art
Good art is so pedestrian – every museum has good art. But, only bad art adorns the walls of the Museum of Bad Art's three Massachusetts locations. Founded in 1993, the MOBA is "dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory." Works range from the "oops" moments of talented artists to something a first-grader might pin up on the fridge.
Dedham Community Theatre: 580 High St., Dedham, Massachusetts; 781-444-6757
Somerville Theatre: 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA
Admission: Free with purchase of theater admission
Brookline Access Television: 46 Tappan St., Top Floor, Brookline, MA
Devil's Rope Museum
A museum all about barbed wire – apparently nicknamed devil's rope. And, apparently this museum in McLean, Texas is the largest barbed wire museum in the world. Founded in 1991, it tells "all about the history of barbed wire, its artifacts, the significance of the invention, and the impact on the development of the Old West." This includes exhibits about barbed wire's military use, the development of cowboy tools, rare barbed wire artifacts and how to make barbed wire demonstrations. The western fun continues at the connected The Texas Old Route 66 Museum.
100 Kingsley St., McLean, TX; 806-779-2225
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