Who says museums have to be boring? Anyone who thinks that a day at the museum means a bone-dry, dull afternoon squinting at abstract art doesn’t understand the evolution of the American museum. There are tons of choices for every taste, all of them wonderful, wacky and weird.
The name of this Iowa museum says it all; it’s full of marvelous little models constructed completely out of matchsticks. Each one is painstakingly detailed and lovingly crafted. From historically significant buildings, to run of the mill structures, Matchstick Marvels.
The Hammer Museum
From ancient Egypt to modern day, people have used hammers to make their lives easier. Alas, the humble hammer didn’t have much of a place in history, until now when you can learn all about it at the Hammer Museum.
The International Banana Museum
From hammers to bananas, the third item on our list elevates the humble banana to epic status. California’s banana museum celebrates this fruit in all of its many variations including salt and pepper shakers, lotions, harmonicas, squirt guns, and even record players. Located in Mecca, the International Banana Museum is a mecca for banana lovers.
Museum of Bad Art
Here’s a museum that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you’re fed up with pretentious art displays, you’ll love this museum located just outside Boston as it celebrates the absolute worst art in the world. With 600 pieces of cringe-worthy art on display, the Museum of Bad Art’s exhibits change frequently, so you’ll be sure to get a fresh dose of terrible artwork every time you return.
The Neon Museum
In a city filled with neon, off course you can find a one-of-a-kind Vegas experience that celebrates its history with neon signs. With neon signage from the bygone years of Vegas, the museum showcases iconic signs for historical and research purposes. You can visit their Neon Boneyard and sprawling facilities at the Neon Museum to get a taste of the Vegas that was.
International Cryptozoology Museum
This Portland, Maine, museum touts itself as the only one of its kind. It houses all sorts of animals that you won’t see just walking down the street. Studying creatures of lore, genetic mutationsm or strange adaptations of existing animals, the International Cryptozoology Museum collects native art that tells the story of some of the more fantastical creatures they house in their exhibit.
Idaho Potato Museum
Celebrating the humble potato, the Idaho Potato Museum embraces Idaho’s heritage and its most famous export: the potato. Visitors will learn all about potatoes, from seeds to spuds to the end products of this hearty vegetable, such as potato chips.
The Mütter Museum
For years, the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia cornered the market on weird. Dedicated to medical history, including disease and treatments, the museum prides itself on complete specimens and a huge display of medical equipment from the contemporary age and past.
The Oz Museum
Follow the yellow brick road to Kansas’ Oz Museum. Celebrating the emerald world of L. Frank Baum with first editions of his books, games that reflect the themes of the series, and all sorts of other rare collectibles, the museum is well worth a look, whether you’re a Wizard of Oz fan or not.
National Mustard Museum
Legend has it that the founder of the Mustard Museum came upon the idea after the Boston Red Sox lost the World Series to the Mets in 1986. What seems like an odd way to self-soothe has become a staple in Wisconsin, much like the condiment that it celebrates. The National Mustard Museum is full of different types of mustard, plus memorabilia.
International UFO Museum and Research Center
The truth is out there, and you can find it at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in, where else? Roswell, New Mexico. The stated purpose of this museum is to shed light on “The Roswell Incident” of 1947. You’ll learn all about the incident and UFO lore in general when you visit this out-of-this-world attraction.
Historic Auto Attractions Museum
This ain’t your usual auto show: the Historic Auto Attractions Museum showcases famous cars that were involved in political and historical events in the last century. From Abe Lincoln artifacts to contemporary world leaders’ personal and military transports, the Historic Auto Attractions Museums prides itself on amassing the best collection of authentic, historically relevant automobiles in the world.
Museum of the Weird
Keeping the weird in Austin, Texas, the Museum of the Weird is exactly what it sounds like; a showcase of the strange and wonderful items of the world. Just like an old-time circus show, it promises treasures and wonders from all over the planet. You’ll find Fiji mermaids, shrunken heads, medical oddities, and more.
Chasing Rainbows in Dollywood
Dolly Parton is America’s country music sweetheart and most super fans can’t get enough of her. The blonde bombshell with the heart and voice of gold created Chasing Rainbows as part of her Dollywood experience. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at rare Dolly memorabilia including costumes and handwritten lyrics.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
Rounding off the list is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, which sits in historic New Orleans and celebrates the evolution and history of pharmaceuticals. This fascinating trip through time sheds light on our current medical practices.