Image source: Flickr - Colin Smith
From the cool and quirky to the downright disturbing and bizarre, checking out a destination’s museum scene can yield some rather unsuspecting results. If you have ever thought about planning travel around some of the world’s weirdest museums, here are a few of my favorite ones to get you started.
Gopher Hole Museum – Alberta, Canada
Head to the small town of Torrington, Alberta, for an entire museum dedicated to Bill Murray’s arch nemesis – the gopher. Scores of stuffed gophers are arranged in strangely cute dioramas – nearly 50 to be exact. The gophers depict daily life in Torrington – everything from mailing a letter at the post office to playing baseball. Some dioramas go a step further by imparting a bit of humor in many of the scenes My personal favorites include the Gopher Olympic medal winners and the G.A.G.S. – Gophers Against Getting Stuffed.
Cancun Underwater Museum – Cancun, Mexico
Grab your scuba gear and head under the sea for a look at Cancun’s Underwater Museum (MUSA) with its manmade, life-size sculptures that sit on the ocean floor. These sculptures will ultimately create a new ecosystem that will hopefully negate some of the reef damage caused by hurricanes and human influence. A collaborative effort between a local artist and community leaders resulted in what is now one of the most talked about dive sites. Good news for newbie divers – there are some shallow statues that are available for non-certified divers.
Iceland Phallological Museum – Husavik, Iceland
Most people have heard about the sex museum in Amsterdam, but what about a whole museum dedicated to well, as the name suggests, phallic exhibits. The Iceland Phallological Museum contains a specimen from each land and sea mammal found within the country – the whale penis section is the most popular. And, of course, no weird museum like this would be complete without a gift shop to bring back souvenirs for your friends. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
Museum of Bad Art – Brookline and Somerville, Massachusetts
If you have always said your art could be in a museum – maybe it really could – just not the one you were hoping for! Known as MOBA for short, the Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts is where all bad art goes to live. The exhibits are varied and if you are a struggling artist, a visit to MOBA may be the ego boost you need to appreciate and improve your artistic skills. And if you live near Boston, MOBA is worth a repeat visit as the exhibits are often refreshed – who knew the world was filled with so many bad artists? Themed exhibits include ‘blue people’, ‘poor traits’ and ‘unlikely landscapes, seascapes and still lifes.’
Instant Ramen Museum – Osaka, Japan
It’s not a surprise that Japan not only has an odd museum to food, but that it’s devoted to all things Ramen. However, not just any ramen – instant noodles and Cup Noodles to be specific. For a nominal fee, be sure to check out the noodle factory where you can make your own Cup Noodles from pre-made ingredients. If Osaka is not on your travel itinerary, there is another one in Yokohama that offers four floors of instant noodle fun.
Museum of Funeral Carriages – Barcelona, Spain
If you need a break from Barcelona’s impressive Gaudi architecture or you’ve had your fill of delicious tapas, spend a few hours exploring one of the most unique museums in the world – the Museum of Funeral Carriages. Part of the fun is just getting to the museum – visitors have to check in with city’s Municipal Funeral Services where they are taken to the basement by a security guard who unlocks the exhibit. Exhibits date back to the 18th century and feature dummies in period costumes.
What is the oddest museum you’ve visited?