This is a guest post by David Bryce
While I’d like to think I know a touch more about art than the average person, to label myself an expert in the field would be ill-advised. Any knowledge or wisdom about art was imparted to me from my dearly beloved grandmother. She sat on the Board of Trustees for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and she would often curate for the museum as well.
Her specialty was Faberge eggs, which were small, decorative eggs produced by the famed Russian artist Peter Carl Faberge. Whenever my immediate family and I would visit the rest of my family in New York during my childhood (which from my perspective happened far too infrequently), my grandmother would give me a personal tour of the newest or the most grand exhibits the wondrous Met had to offer.
Even in the years since my grandmother passed, I have always made a point to spend time at the Met whenever I find myself in the Big Apple. Its reputation as one of the finest, classiest museums on the face of the earth is not unmerited. But just because I get a kick out of this museum doesn’t mean that I don’t have a taste for some of the more unusual, less, um, arty museums that America has to offer. Believe me, across this vast land of ours [US – editor], there are some truly unique, oddball museums to visit. Here is a list of ten of them.
CRRA Trash Museum
In most cities, citizens are encouraged to throw dispose of their trash. In Hartford, Connecticut, there’s a museum that features a sculpture made up of nothing but trash. This oddball destination provides a history of trash and recycling operations to visitors at no cost.
Address: 211 Murphy Road, Hartford, Connecticut
International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum
Chattanooga, Tennessee plays home to this museum, which pays tribute to the towing industry. There is an abundance of restored wreckers on display, some of which date as far back to the beginnings of the industry. One of the most popular features is the Wall of the Fallen, which memorializes those who have lost their lives on the towing job.
Address: 3315 Broad Street, Chattanooga
National Mustard Museum
Some museums pay tribute to French artists, like Monet and Matisse. This one, located in Middleton, Wisconsin, pays tribute to French’s, the brand of mustard. This charming spot has collected mustard brands from all across the world, totaling at more than 5,400 different varieties.
Address: 7477 Hubbard Avenue, Middleton, Wisconsin
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium
In Branson, Missouri, travelers can find a museum dedicated to the long-running hit television program “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” Like the show itself, the museum features a wide array of particular and unusual items. Believe it or not, the building itself is broken into fragments, appearing as though it was victimized by a catastrophic earthquake.
Address: 3326 West Highway 76, Branson, MO
Unlike most anything else on this list, this New York City museum, located in Queens, is an art museum. But the Museum of Modern Art, the museum with which this one is affiliated, has located some of its more bizarre, contemporary art at this spot, like upside down police car disco balls. This museum is also known to throw dance parties, put together by the city’s most popular DJs.
Address: 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave, Long Island City
World’s Smallest Museum
The only thing smaller than the miniscule Arizona town of Superior is the museum that resides in it. This museum measures in at a staggeringly small 134 square feet. Yet in that tiny space, visitors can find numerous interesting artifacts, including pieces of pottery and antique cameras.
Address: 1111 West US Hwy 60, Superior, Arizona
Salem Witch Museum
The Salem witch trials of the late 17th century represent one of the blackest moments in this country’s colonial days, yet Salem, Massachusetts itself has built a museum dedicated to that time. It features displays meant to simulate life back during that time. There is also a gorgeously constructed statue of the town’s founder, Roger Conant, standing out front.
Address: Washington Square North, Salem, Massachusetts
Museum of Bad Art
If you’re looking to get an education in art, don’t confuse these initials: MoMA and MoBA. MoMA is the Museum of Modern Art, a famed New York institution that houses some of today’s most cutting edge and incendiary works. MoBA is the Museum of Bad Art, which is located in Dedham, Massachusetts, and it houses some of the most tacky and unfortunately put together pieces of art ever created.
Website: http://www.museumofbadart.org [Editor – very funny website]
Address: Basement of Dedham Communitiy Theatre, 580 High Street, Dedham, Massachusetts
Museum of Clean
The state of Idaho is not typically known for museums. One of the biggest ones in the state, if not the biggest, is located in the town of Pocatello, and it is a museum dedicated to old cleaning products. As terribly unexciting as that sounds, it has actually turned into something of an attraction, and has been featured on the CBS Evening News.
Address: 711 South 2nd Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho
Butlingame Museum of Pez
This museum, located in Burlingame, California, claims to store an example of every Pez dispenser ever made. And it houses the world’s biggest Pez dispenser.
Address: 214 California Drive, Burlingame, California
If you’re looking to go to museums to learn about the greatest artists the world has ever known, don’t go to these locations. If, however, you’re just looking to have a little fun and enjoy indulging in kitsch, you could do far worse than these fantastic and oddball museums.
David Bryce is travel writer who enjoys writing about travel and family vacations. He currently blogs for Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, MO.