Best Unusual & Quirky Museums in the US
- Best Unusual & Quirky Museums in the US
- Northeastern US
- 1. Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum
- 2. Mutter Museum
- 3. Corning Museum of Glass
- Midwestern US
- 1. National Mustard Museum
- 2. Merry-Go-Round Museum
- 3. Dittrick Museum of Medical History
- Southern US
- 1. National Pinball Museum
- 2. IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum
- 3. Devil’s Rope Museum
- Western US
- 1. Musical Instrument Museum
- 2. Museum of PEZ Memorabilia
- 3. Muse Mechanique
It doesn’t matter where my destination is – but most likely, when I get there, I’ll find a museum, house, or discovery center to visit. They’re never hard to find. Nearly every city and town has one. I always end up at some semi-boring art or history museum. But where are all the fun ones? Or unique? Or just downright crazy and weird? Lucky for us, they’re almost everywhere.
1. Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum
Museum in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania
Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum is filled with…elephants. Mister Ed received an elephant as a wedding gift and has since been obsessed with collecting them. He has a large amount of really unique pieces – an elephant blow dryer and even an elephant toilet. He will accept elephant donations and will sometimes buy them. When you’re done looking at the thousands of elephants, stop by his Candy Emporium to buy a treat. Admission is completely free to the Elephant Museum. It is open every day from 10-5 and is located in Orrtanna, PA.
6019 Chambersburg Rd, Orrtanna, PA 17353; Phone: (717) 352-3792
2. Mutter Museum
Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you’re in PA and the Elephant museum isn’t weird or unique enough for you, check out the Mutter Museum. The Museum is run by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and is home to a number of medical oddities including corpses of Siamese twins, Elephantiasis limbs, and more. General admission is $15 but prices vary with ages. You can visit their site for more information.
19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103; Phone: (215) 560-8564
3. Corning Museum of Glass
Museum in Corning, New York
When in Upstate New York, check out The Corning Museum of Glass. There are galleries that contain exhibits of over 3,500 years worth of glassmaking. But if that’s not enough to excite you – watch the live hot glass shows, flameworking and glass break demonstrations. There is also a 45 minute Make Your Own Glass workshop. Blow an ornament, make a glass flower or create a suncatcher. Admissions for kids and teens under 19 are completely free. Visit http://www.cmog.org for more information.
1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830; Phone: (607) 937-5371
1. National Mustard Museum
Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin
Like condiments? Well, perhaps you should check out the National Mustard Museum. Yes, you read that right. There is a whole museum dedicated to our wonderful yellow friend – mustard. The museum is located in Middleton, WI. If just looking at the history of mustard sounds boring, you can actually taste hundreds of flavors for free. You have to book your tour in advance and pay $10 down. There will be an additional $5 for every member of the tour. http://mustardmuseum.com/.
7477 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, WI 53562; Phone: (608) 831-2222
2. Merry-Go-Round Museum
Museum in Sandusky, Ohio
Relive your childhood at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky, OH. It features merry-go-rounds from 1895-2011. You will get an entertaining and educational visit, which focuses on the art, history, preservation, production, and restoration of the rides. You’ll also be able to ride the fully restored Allan Herschell Carousel. http://www.merrygoroundmuseum.org/
301 Jackson St, Sandusky, OH 44870; Phone: (419) 626-6111
3. Dittrick Museum of Medical History
Museum in Cleveland, Ohio
If you’re interested in the Mutter Museum located in PA but can’t make the trip, you have another chance at The Dittrick Museum of Medical History in Ohio. Doctors originally created, staffed and collected pieces for the museum. Recently they added an exhibit on the history of contraception. You can view medical history through items such as a 1861 completed amputation set. There is no admission charge. http://www.case.edu/artsci/dittrick/museum/
The Allen Memorial Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106; Phone: (216) 368-3648
1. National Pinball Museum
Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada
Be one of the first to visit the National Pinball Museum, which just opened in January 2012. The collection has more than 800 machines with several exhibits dedicated to the history of the game. The museum plans to expand the play area where visitors will be able to use vintage machines. The museum is located in Baltimore, MD. Please visit their website for admission prices, directions and restaurants around the area. http://www.nationalpinballmuseum.org/.
1610 E. Tropicana, Las Vegas NV 89119
2. IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum
Museum in Dania Beach, Florida
Going to The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum located in Florida could be an interesting way to spend your day. Hanging from the ceiling are 180 world record-sized fish. You’ll learn about the history of sport fishing, artwork, tackle, mounts and historical photos. The museum offers fun activities like fishing simulations. Overlooking the entrance is a 24 food Sword Dance, a giant stainless steel sculpture. For more information and pictures of the museum, visit http://www.igfa.org/.
300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004; Phone: (954) 927-2628
3. Devil’s Rope Museum
Museum in McLean, Texas
McLean, TX has found itself home to the Devil’s Rope Museum. This museum is all about the history of barbed wire and how it impacted the development of the Old West. Along with displays of rare barbed wire, you can also see a demonstration on how to make barbed wire. http://www.barbwiremuseum.com/
100 Kingsley St, McLean, TX 79057; Phone: (806) 779-2225
1. Musical Instrument Museum
Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
Every musician should check out the Musical Instrument Museum in Arizona. It features instruments from almost every country in the world. The piano John Lennon composed “Imagine” is there along with instruments from Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, and many others. www.themim.org.
4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050; Phone: (480) 478-6000
2. Museum of PEZ Memorabilia
Museum in Burlingame, California
The Museum of PEZ Memorabilia is fun and unique. It’s located in San Francisco, CA. They display the history of PEZ and its dispensers. They also have the world’s largest PEZ dispenser on display measuring at 7 feet, 10 inches tall. Look at just some of the famous dispensers online at http://www.burlingamepezmuseum.com/.
214 California Dr, Burlingame, CA 94010
3. Muse Mechanique
Museum in San Francisco, California
The Muse Mechanique, located in California, is a privately owned collection of coin-operated machines. The collection has over 300 items you can see. It features machine operated instruments and games. The museum is opened every day including holidays. For hours visit http://www.museemechanique.org/.
Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone: (415) 346-2000