10 strange museums around the world

If you think museums are stuffy places that are all about art and natural history, prepare to be amazed. As it turns out, there are museums dedicated to all sorts of things, from toilets to torture, and everything else in between. If you’re in the mood for something different, check out these 10 seriously unusual museums around the world:

Museum of Bad Art, Boston

Good art can easily be found in hundreds of museums around the world. It’s finding bad art that’s the challenge. The Museum of Bad Art in Boston hopes to change all that. Aiming to showcase the best of the worst art ever created, its hilarious collection is labelled under categories like ‘Landscape: are those ice creams or mountains?’, ‘Unseen forces: it is not an easy thing to struggle against mighty forces like the giant orange cat consuming mankind’ and ‘In the nood: warning, contains noodity.’ (www.museumofbadart.org) Admission is free at the Brookline Gallery between 10am and 10pm

Torture Museum, Amsterdam If horror is your thing, head to the Torture Museum in Amsterdam. Its prickly ambience and elaborate display showcase the grisly reality of a few centuries ago. Everywhere you look, there are guillotines, masks, skull crackers and hanging cages—making you feel extremely glad to be in the 21st century. (www.torturemuseum.com) Admission is EUR7.50 (Rs629) for adults and EUR4 (Rs 335) for children

Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall

Whether you are a wholehearted believer in magic or reluctantly curious about the possibility, head to the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, where they trace the history of witches and magic over the years. Their displays on sacred sites, shape shifting, devils, wise women, curses, and protection magic and ritual magic are guaranteed to keep you spellbound. (www.museumofwitchcraft.com) Admission is GBP5 (Rs494) for adults and £GBP (Rs 395) for children

Leila’s Hair Museum, Missouri The custom of giving someone a lock of hair as a keepsake dates back hundreds of years, to many different civilizations. It was the Victorians who developed hair art however, with many intricate techniques. This museum, founded by hairdresser Leila Cohoon, has over 600 hair wreaths and over 2,000 pieces of jewellery, with hair from Queen Victoria, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and several other celebrities on display. (www.leilashairmuseum.net) Admission is US$6 (Rs371) for adults and US$3 (Rs185) for children

International Spy Museum, Washington DC

Step into the shadowy world of espionage, and understand firsthand what it really means to be a spy. Check out the spy school that dispenses training and experience, and learn all about creating fake identities and keeping your cover. You can even take part in top secret missions, either in the museum or around Washington. The museum also has an entire section dedicated to Bond villains, where you can meet them, uncover their evil plots and see their weapons. (www.spymuseum.org) Admission is US$20.95 (Rs1,298) for adults, US$15.95 and US$14.95 (Rs 926) for children. Children under 6 enter free

Sex Museum, Amsterdam Leave it to Amsterdam to be home to the world’s first sex museum. Also known as Venustempel, its owners were motivated to open it as there were museums dedicated to just about everything else in the city. The museum houses a vast collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and attractions.  (www.sexmuseumamsterdam.nl) Admission is EUR4 (Rs 335) and restricted to ages 16 and above

Museum of Brands, London

You don’t have to be an advertising geek to appreciate the history of consumer culture. Trace the evolution of your favourite brands over the years, looking at the various posters, packaging and advertising strategies they have used in the past. (www.museumofbrands.com) Admission is GBP6.50 (Rs642) for adults and GBP2.25 (Rs222) for children over 7.

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka The staple diet of teenagers and adults who cannot cook, Nissin’s Ramen Noodles were the first instant noodles to be invented, something the Japanese are extremely proud of. No wonder then, that they have an entire museum featuring instant noodles, cup noodles and their inventor Momofuku Ando. Apart from learning the story behind their creation, you can make your own instant noodles at their workshop. (www.instantramen-museum.jp/english.htm) Free entry

Santa Claus Museum, Indiana

This is one museum where children will truly never be bored. Located in Santa Claus town, the museum tells you the history of the town and all about nearby Santa Claus Land. You can see hundreds of ancient letters to Santa Claus and if your kids post letters to the museum, the museum’s elves will see to it that they get a reply from Santa in December. They have a large collection of Santa Clauses, the best of which is a 22ft tall concrete statue. (www.santaclausmuseum.org) Free entry

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi As bizarre as it sounds, there is actually a museum dedicated entirely to toilets. The idea behind it is that using the toilet is a necessary function and that hygiene and sanitation have played very important roles in the history of human civilisation. The museum documents the evolution of toilets as well as the designs and systems used in different parts of the world. (www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org). Free entry


- Sanjana Gupta

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Sanjana Gupta

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