I am an American freelance writer, editor and blogger who moved to Australia in January 2010.My adventures around Oz have included scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, learning to surf on the New South Wales coast, climbing through caves and abseiling in the Blue Mountains and missing a flight in Melbourne. ...Find out more!
Museums devoted to history, art and culture are a dime a dozen. Rarer are the ones dedicated to the truly strange. How strange are we talking? Human heads, gross stuff that grows inside you and macabre mechanisms. You won’t find that at MoMA.
This list by no means covers all the odd institutions scattered throughout the world, but it will get you started. Maybe you can dedicate your next RTW trip to visiting some of them -- if you can stomach it.
Heads have rolled thanks to some of the torture devices displayed in this Dutch institution. Guillitones, saws, chairs of nails -- it’s all there, a memorial of sorts to the things used to torment or kill prisoners and others. You can also read descriptions and see photos of how the devices were used and find out which countries (ahem, America) still execute people. If you want more torture, hop on a plain to Prague to visit a sister site, the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments.
To continue with the morbid theme, we have this Spanish museum that showcases the very best and beautiful in funeral carriages from the 18th century onward. But getting there is half the fun. Patrons have to check in with the Municipal Funeral Services, the basement of which houses the museum. Guests are escorted into the exhibit by a security guard.
This museum’s as much a PSA as it is a documentation of the history of the toilet. Toilets are still a luxury item in India and about a third of residents still goes to the bathroom out in the open. Some of the porcelain fixtures seem impossibly ornate while others are cruder constructions.
This one-of-a-kind museum features nearly 300 parasites. Replicas of animals and people affected by worms and other wigglies feature in the display, including a photo of testicles with a parasite infection. You can also see the world’s longest tape worm and then pray you never, ever get one.
Part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, this odd American museum keeps preserved bodies and jars of deformed babies on its shelves, all in the name of health education. A replica of an 9-foot colon by a man who couldn’t defecate and tales of conjoined twins are other show-stopping displays. Schedule your visit after you’ve already eaten lunch.
Have you been to any of these places? What weird museums do you want to visit?