Cities Journal

Check Out These Super Weird American Museums


For most people, museums are all about the arts, maybe history or technology. However, there are also those less traditional museums all over the U. S., just waiting for you to visit them and experience their peculiar exhibitions.

Today, we will be looking at those weird museums, letting you know where you can find what and how much fun you can have at those homes of pure Americana.

One of the most interesting museums is definitely the Museum Of Bad Art in Boston. According to their website, the museum was founded in 1993 and since then, thanks to community donations, MOBA grew into a Boston cultural scene powerhouse with regular exhibitions, a shop, and a setting that is perfect for such a cultural institution. Namely, their permanent gallery is currently housed outside a men’s room in a movie theater from the 1920s. Our favorite part of their collections is definitely their In The Nood collection.

If you happen to find yourself in the city of Middleton, Wisconsin, there is a museum you should not miss. Considering the fact it actually grew into quite an attraction, you won’t be able to anyhow. We are, of course, talking about the National Mustard Museum. The museum was founded in the late 1980s by none other than an Assistant Attorney General of the great State of Wisconsin, Barry Levenson. Since then, the museum expanded its collection to almost 6,000 different mustards and all kinds of mustard history artifacts.

If there is a museum which proves that you can have a museum of just about anything, then it is this one – The Hammer Museum in Haines, Alaska. The museum is still quite young, considering it was founded in 2002. The museum is actually an ‘active member’ of the local community and strives to promote tourism in the area. All kidding aside, it is pretty much the ultimate place in the world to learn about the history of hammers and to see some truly fantastic and unique examples of hammers from times gone by.

We don’t know about you, but here at Cities Journal, we are suckers for a good miniature. There is something so enjoyable and comforting about seeing a miniature version of something. Anything, really. If you agree, then head on out to Tucson, Arizona, and check out The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. The museum has a decades-long history and it is actually housed in a building that was designed especially for it. Simply put, it is the best museum of miniatures in the country and quite possibly the world.

In Fort Smith, Arkansas, you can find the United States Marshals Service National Museum, but we are not concerned with this particular museum now. We are concerned with a much weirder museum that can be found in Fort Chaffee, an adjacent military outpost-turned-town. It is a barbershop museum, officially called Chaffee Barbershop Museum.

The barbershop that was transformed into a museum in 2008 was the place where Elvis Presley got his G.I. buzz cut (made immortal by a few photos), together with thousands of soldiers before and after him. The museum is very Elvis-heavy and boasts a ton of memorabilia from his movies.

One of our absolute favorites is in Chattanooga, Tennessee – the International Towing Museum. Yes, you read that correctly – towing. The museum started as something of a traveling show by a group of towing professionals called the Friends of Towing. In 1995, the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum opened its door in Chattanooga, a city where the first wrecker was manufactured. The museum is a spectacular celebration of an industry that not many people think about every day. It is also the perfect example of what can be done when people are proud (and rightly so) of their chosen profession.

The last weird museum we would like to recommend to you is more on the macabre side and it is actually a relatively popular museum. We are talking about the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia which prides itself on being the finest museum of medical history in the country. It is dedicated to informing the public and educating people on the wonders of the human body and medicine. The museum boasts some of the most peculiar artifacts you will see in your life, such as part of Einstein’s brain, a piece of John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra and the jaw tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland.

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