Museums, forgotten places of forgotten history. History of kings and queens and relics of ancient civilizations and many more that has preceded us. We all have visited the local museums of our cities filled with beautiful artefacts, pottery, weapons, jewellery and paintings at some point of time. Some of us found interesting things there, while others coughed in the cobwebbed corners of history. However, there are some museums in the world that do not fit the conventional bill. These museums guarantee to surprise and elicit interest in even the uninterested of us all. Which are these places of awe?
We present to you a list of some of the world’s most bizarre museums to ever exist. Some creepy, some mind-boggling, while some downright unbelievable. Here we go!
1. UFO Museum and Research Centre; Roswell, New Mexico
It is completely right to say that this museum, like others is also inspired by famous events in history. But which event is that? On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut issued a press release stating that personnel from the field’s Operations Group have recovered a “flying disc”, which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell. After the spark of public interest in the matter, the military reported that they have just acquired the crash of a conventional weather balloon.
However, that did not kill the attention around the event. Even today a lot many conspiracy theories exist, claiming that one or more alien spacecraft had crash-landed that day, and that the extra-terrestrial occupants had been recovered by the military who then engaged in a cover-up. UFO researcher Stanton Friedman also contributed towards a research behind the incident in the 1980’s. Many books, documentaries, films, entail debates and research have come up based upon the events of that day. In the 1990’s, a home was built for the information related to the Roswell incident to live in. Today, it attracts thousands of tourists, with visitors staying from 30 minutes to up to weeks in the museum.
2. The Mustard Museum, Middleton, Wisconsin
Nothing like a good mustard on the sandwich, right? And how interesting will an educational trip to a variety of curated mustards be? Amazingly there’s actually a museum dedicated to mustard sauce. Kind of like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but with mustard and an equally entertaining story behind its existence.
Supposedly when Boston Red Sox lost the World Series in 1986, Barry Levenson was filled with despair. He then sought the meaning of life in a supermarket and heard the mustard talk to him- “If you collect us, they will come”. He then quit his job to open the museum of mustard as it exists today. The initial dozen jars have grown to a collection of more than 5,300 mustards from over 60 countries, along with hundreds of mustard memorabilia and exhibits depicting the use of mustard through history. The museum also has a gift shop and a mustard vending machine.
3. Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, Delhi, India
It’s amazing that we have one of the weirdest museums of the world, and that too right in our capital city, Delhi. In existence since 1992, it was founded by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a social activist. Also running the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, he is a recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize (in 2009). As weird as the museum seems, the objective behind is wonderful; to highlight and address the problems of sanitation in third world countries. Sulabh International in itself is the largest non-profit organisation of India. It works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, and non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education.
The gallery has displays from around 50 nations, orchestrated consecutively in three areas of “Antiquated, Medieval and Modern”, as indicated by the time of the sanitation ancient rarities gathered since 3000 BC till the end of the twentieth century.
4. Museo Subacuático de Arte, (MUSA), Cancun, Mexico
Let’s go deep in the bowels of the ocean to explore the artistic sculptures created by man; said no one ever! Yet, there exists an underwater museum, surrounding Cancun Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc, in Mexico. This contemporary art project was founded by Jaime González Cano, Director of the National Marine Park, Roberto Díaz Abraham then President of the Cancun Nautical Association and English sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor.
Today the underwater museum contains more than 500 permanent life-sized sculptures. The sculptures submerged in the water adorn the eeriness of the quiet sea life, adds to the appeal of the concept overall. The sculptures are fixed to the seabed and are made of materials that can be fed upon by small fish. This material is environmental friendly making it easy to promote coral life, as well.
An extraordinary part of this artistic exhibition is the particular series of sculptures installed ‘The Silent Evolution.’ The structures appear to promote harmony between mankind and nature. Additionally, these sculptures are designed to become artificial reefs, as well. The whole museum is a collection of unconventional efforts, towards a very beautiful cause.
5. Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures; Lilas, France
Vampires’ folklore and myth have existed since long, even before books and films like Twilight and Vampire Academy came into existence. Bram Stoker published his famous work ‘Dracula’ way back in 1897, inspired by the 15th century Russian conqueror called Vlad the Impaler. He was known to dip bread in his enemies blood and eat it. Even before that, vampires can be found in Indian and Chinese folklore, as pishach (blood drinking demons) and Jiangshi, which stands for the reanimated blood-drinking, hopping corpses. Seems fair for vampires to have their own museum in such scenario, right? Well, they do! It’s called the Musée des Vampires and is located at the edge of Paris in Lilas founded and curated by the ‘vampire expert’ Jacques Sirgent.
The inside of this small museum is extremely interesting. Visitors to the museum describe the place as having an uncountable amount of books, paintings, vampire movie posters etc. The place boasts of a collection of the signatures of each actor who has ever played Dracula in Hollywood. The museum is also home to another oddity; namely, a mummified cat found in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. People are supposed to take appointment before they can visit the museum. This place is elaborate to the core.
6. Condom Museum, Thailand
Now, here’s an interesting one. As the world’s largest producer of condoms, it makes sense for Thailand to be home to this bizarre museum dedicated to condoms. The condom museum is located outside of Bangkok in Nonthaburi in the Department of Medical Sciences, near the Thai Ministry of Health.
The purpose of the condom museum came into being to dispel the shyness of people towards the usage of condoms and make people more sexually aware and confident when it comes to protection. The items present in the museum include condom awareness posters through the ages, various types of condoms and other sex-related paraphernalia. The museum also includes a special room which contains instruments built to test the strength and endurance of various condoms. However, here also one needs to take permission from the Ministry before they can actually visit the museum.
7. Katten Kabinet, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cats have always been slightly special creatures. Doomed spooky by some, cute by others, none of us can deny the feral and elegant charm of these wonderful animals. The Egyptians for one, specially worshipped cats, and also a cat goddess called Bastet. All that attention to cats does not seem so trivial now, does it? Thus, in Netherlands in the 1990, Bob Meijer started a cat museum in sweet memory of his beloved red tomcat John Pierpont Morgan.
The museum is dedicated to artworks depicting cats. Paintings by many famous painters also grace the place; such as Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Corneille, Sal Meijer, Théophile Steinlen, and Jože Ciuha, etc. The museum also houses various cat statues and sculptures. And what’s more interesting is how around 5 cats actually inhabit the place, probably feeling special every day in the museum dedicated to their own species.
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