Top 20 Unusual Museums in United States

The world is laden with phenomenons and artifacts that either baffle the viewer or thrill them. Such unfathomable attractions are rare, unique, and appealing to visit. From UFOs to the worst art collections, to Death- many museums in America are dedicated to the quirky part of human history.

Hoping for a next family getaway or wanting more than just significant, yet mundane exhibits? Check out the unusual collections of these top 20 quirky museums in the US.

1. Vent Haven Museum, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

Vent Haven Museum, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

Are you a fan of horror movies with antagonists like evil clowns or possessed dolls? visit the Vent Haven Museum. Named among the weirdest museums worldwide, Ven Haven boasts hundreds of retired dummies, memorabilia, and private collections from over 20 countries, dating back to the 1950s and 60s.

Despite the uncanny look of these silent mannequins, the museum is regarded as a significant part of art history, epitomized around ventriloquism- and above all, holding the title of the only museum of ventriloquial figures across the globe.

2. International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.

International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.

Spy museums are a part of modern history and warfare culture in Europe; but here in America, the International Spy Museum highlights one of the quirkiest expositions nationwide. These displays walk the visitors through the secretive life of intelligence agents, and unlikely objects used as espionage tools such as the world’s smallest cameras, listening devices, pistols sheathed in lipsticks, code deciphering tools, and much more.

The interactive spy tour allows the visitors to come in close contact with these fascinating gadgets and the realm of those who lived a 007 life.

3. The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For those interested in the medical evolution and studies of human anatomy, or seeking the next cultured Halloween getaway- the quirky medical exhibitions at The Mütter Museum are both educational and thrilling.

Displays array from anatomical Models, vintage medical equipment, and crude surgery apparatuses-depicting the history of horrifying centuries ago, to even more bizarre specimen; such as parts of Albert Einstein’s brain, cast and livers of the conjoined Thai twins and 149 human skulls at the exposition.

4. The Museum of Bad Art, Somerville, Massachusetts

The Museum of Bad Art, Somerville, Massachusetts

Most art students believe that a poor work must be destroyed, painted over, or at least kept for a memory’s sake and away from the world’s eyes- Museum of Bad Art disagrees. It highlights over 700 pieces of paintings that display odd compositions, poor concepts,s and techniques, sculptures with unconventional esthetics, and other forms of art gone-wrong.  The idea behind the exhibition is that no artist inherited adept skills at the time of birth- except for a blessed few.

Instead, they aim to illustrate the painstaking process of artistic endeavors by creating and recreating, until surmounting the peaks of masterhood. The museum houses its own small theatre, sided with a charming café.

5. The Museum of Sex, New York

The Museum of Sex, New York

A self-claimed Funland, the Museum of Sex is noted among the rare and admired museums that explore the realm of human sexuality and its fascinating progression throughout history. It highlights erotic art pieces, historic sexual aids, insights on sex as a taboo in various faiths, and modern-day intimate preferences or inclinations.

While most of the displays represent the raw and documented nature of eroticism, art has a special place in this museum, and wherever passion is found. An exclusive gallery showcases several masterpieces with sensual design elements. Additionally, the museum is home to an aphrodisiac-themed café- where the culinary magic meets with hospitality.

The museum is located in the vicinity of NYC’s red-light district, lots of great restaurants and leisurely spas. Similar to Amsterdam’s red-light district, these quarters portray a certain facade of the township, riddled with living culture.

6. The National Museum of Funeral History, Houston, Texas

The National Museum of Funeral History, Houston, Texas

The National Museum of Funeral History preserves the legacy of funeral cultures and death care- not only in the United States but the entire world. Beneath the cadaverous demeanor of the museum, the exhibitions are complemented with humorous touches and artifacts displaying rather strange historic funeral services; an authentic Popemobile, creative and bizarre caskets that are sure to brighten up the usual gloom of any funeral, the world’s largest Ghana-built fantasy coffins, vintage funeral service furniture- and the list goes on.

7. Museum of Death, New Orleans, Louisiana

Museum of Death, New Orleans, Louisiana

The museum of death in New Orleans exhibits a thousand ways to die, assumingly visited by novice serial killers and horror fiction writers for inspiration, and those wanting to visit the world’s weirdest museums. The displays run through the history of death, from the primitive demise of past generations, heritage mortuary equipment, and coffins, to crime scene photographs, to relics of infamous serial killers.

These presentations aid to bring the living in touch with the proximity of death and accept it as a part of life- or as the museum’s motto goes “to make people happy to be alive”. Known for its impressive exhibitions, the museum was built following an inspirational impact from the San Diego art gallery.

Rivaling in spookiness, the museum of death in Hollywood embraces nearly the same concept. It houses the world’s most extensive collection of serial killer artifacts and associated death documentations.

8. The International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine

The International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine

Are you a fan of folklore and mystical entities? The International Cryptozoology Museum illustrates the existential proves of folklore entities, extinct animals, and other legendary and obscure creatures, mostly based in mythology. Praised as the world’s first and only Cryptozoology museum, exhibitions are an earthly meeting point of fiction with reality.

Big foot’s footprint and hair samples, evidence of the Scottish monster, Loch Ness or Nessie, Yeti’s excrements, recreated folkloric figurines, and living fossil displays- this museum takes the visitors on a journey back in a time when stories were admired as more than just entertainment.

9. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, Farmington Hills, Michigan

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, Farmington Hills, Michigan

By the beginning of the 20th century, coin-operated machinery became widely popular in America. Vending machines, arcade games, animated dummies- these mechanical innovations lined around every bar, casino, and exclusively the arcade-only game halls.

Through decades, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum has gathered the best vintage arcades for public viewing. The most iconic pieces date back to the 1980s and 1990s, with innovating gaming machines, interesting oddities, and iconic Beercades.

10. The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

It is only fair that the Neon Capital of the World, Las Vegas, is home to the world’s largest collection of blazing signboards. The Neon Museum displays beyond neon lights, presenting astonishingly recreated vintage casinos, signs from forever-retired businesses, characteristic motel reconstruction, and much of Las Vegas’s heritage concealed within these glittering artifacts.

For a famous Las Vegan marriage, the museum provides wedding venues and neon-riddled spaces for an iconic photography backdrop and a memorable event.

11. The National Hobo Museum, Britt, Iowa

The National Hobo Museum, Britt, Iowa

Some pass by them carelessly, some marvel at them for choosing the alternative, while others honor them as a part of a cultural community. During the early 20th century, the hobo community developed to some level of sophistication, creating their own linguistic impact on American English, formed their own legend and even kings by the annual conventions.

Housing a well-expanded hobo community for three generations, the township of Britt is home to the National Hobo Museum today. The exhibits provide a clear insight into the hobo’s lifestyle and history. Mentionable highlights include; memorabilia, belongings of Hobo Kings and eminent personas among the society, stories, and an educational documentary.

12. Museum of the Weird, Austin, Texas

Museum of the Weird, Austin, Texas

When it comes to quirkiness, Austin’s Museum of the Weird has a name to live up to. Folkloric curiosities, human nightmares, and dreamy creatures comprise most of the exhibitions, together with wax models and celebrity monsters of pop-culture, including; mummies, grotesque mermaids, miniature humanoids, giants, elves.

The museum is a legacy of the American Museum of Dime Store, which presented artistically sophisticated presentations to the visitors of the upper class, and folkloric exhibitions for the lower class spectators.

13. Devil’s Rope Museum, McLean, Texas

Devil’s Rope Museum, McLean, Texas

Devil’s Rope is a metaphor for the Barbed Wire and the name of a museum dedicated to this world-changing American invention. With over 2000 assortment of wires, and artifacts related to the production and maintenance of fencing cords- the museum follows the line of barbed wire production back to the 1870s, and the very first metal land division used by the common people.

Another barbed wire museum is established in LaCrosse, Kansas, with a great array of remarkable exhibitions. In addition to historic significance, these prickly fencing helped to tame the wild west by limiting cowboys, free-roaming indigenous tribes, and even the outlook of military boundaries.

14. National Museum of Health and Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

National Museum of Health and Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

Medicine has come a long way since the 18th century when superstition was sewn together with the basic knowledge of human wellbeing. Once a normal apothecary, the National Museum of Health and Medicine marks a civil historic site- filled with the air of eerie medical practices in the age of pseudo-science.

The vintage exhibitions range from standard pharmaceutical artifacts such as weighbridges, toiletries, and mortar and pestle, to spooky medical expositions including; superstition remedies and vivid depiction of the scary surgical procedure common during the 18th and 19th century.

Besides the historic and educational value of these artifacts, most people have described their visit as a once in a life experience.

15. Tabasco Museum, Avery, Louisiana

Tabasco Museum, Avery, Louisiana

The Tabasco Museum is dedicated to the hot invention, and history of the world-famous tobacco sauce- once advertised as the condiments of the Gods in Avery. With over a century of proud production, this Sangraal of spicy sauce reveals countless flavors and assortments; the very first bottled recipes and artifacts, starting from the original Red Pepper Sauce to today’s most favorites- made from the fiery Tabasco peppers.

However, the museum is not only to see but also to taste; the on-site diners offer cozy meals, local recipes, and all other tobacco-dripped delicacies.

16. Celebrity Lingerie Museum, Los Angeles, California

Celebrity Lingerie Museum, Los Angeles, California

When things get weird, you can order anything you like on the menu- the Celebrity Lingerie Museum of Los Angeles is a quirky addition to the city’s many iconic attractions, showcasing celebrities’ undergarments from famous movies or tv shows.

Other sections include make-up artifacts and bridal underwear, bras, corsets, boxers, slippers, and so on.  The museum sits above an outlet of Frederick’s of Hollywood, a rather renowned and historic American lingerie brand.

17. Salt And Pepper Shaker Museum, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Salt And Pepper Shaker Museum, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Sometimes the strangest things hide in plain sight, or over the kitchen counter. Here at the Salt And Pepper Shaker Museum, a bewildering collection of salt and pepper shakers are on the display, illustrating odd and innovative tableware from around the world.

In addition to 22,000 salt and pepper shakers, the museum offers its own gift shop- often merchandising copies of the original exhibitions.

18. Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota

Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota

As a unique part of the American food culture, spam is Minnesota’s special. The Spam Museum summarizes the journey of this delicious and preserved precooked meat in the US and world’ history.

Enjoy the innumerable assortment of Spam from the beginning of its invention until the present, at this admission-free museum. A small gift shop offers themed souvenirs and all your favorite Spam varieties- as a delicious and memorable token of Austin’s Spam Museum.

19. International UFO Museum, Roswell, New Mexico

International UFO Museum, Roswell, New Mexico

The Roswell crash in 1947 was a turning point for human consciousness and imagination. The International UFO Museum demonstrates a complex of man-made models together with unexplained UFO-related phenomena.

Crop formations, Area 51 top-secret military base, stories, and signified abductions, life-size extraterrestrial figurines, and the museum’s research center and its vast library- this UFO museum epitomizes around all things otherworldly.

Each year, Roswell’s extraterrestrial study and exhibition center celebrate the most controversial and iconic crash of our era with an annual festival, known as the UFO Festival or the AlienFest.

20. Leila’s Hair Museum, Independence, Missouri

Leila’s Hair Museum, Independence, Missouri

Seeing jewelry made out of human hair is out of the ordinary these days, except for the rare collections at Leila’s Hair Museum. It focuses on the prime period of art for wig makers and hair artists during the Victorian era.

Hair wreaths dating back to the 17th century, artistic and ever-lasting jewelry made from human hair as a token of memory- most of these quirky but artistic items were gathered from antique shops and inherited personal collections.

From a food culture bluff’s point of view, here are three other offbeat, though honorable mentions in the United States;

National Mustard Museum

Noted among the most beloved condiments nationwide, Middleton’s National Mustard Museum proudly presents over 5000 types of mustard spreads, most of which are available for sampling at the tasting bar.

Idaho Potato Museum

The Potato Museum reminds the visitors of the importance of potatoes and the widespread use of this popular ingredient in American food culture. It presents cultivation, processing tools, potato-infused recipes and brands like Pringles, and even cultural mentions related to potatoes.

International Banana Museum

If the potato museum isn’t bizarre enough, the International Banana Museum definitely hits the mark. Located in Mecca, the exhibitions exceed over 20,000 artifacts related or inspired by bananas.

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