What do you presume when you hear the word museum? Somewhat like a building that exhibits historical, scientific or cultural artifacts. But there’s more to it! Museums in the world have varying aims, ranging from serving researchers and specialists to serving the general public by providing them a window into history and allow them to connect to our past. From art museums to natural history museums, there are some of the weirdest museums in the world that will boggle your mind to the very core.
Such museums expose the most brilliant ideas and limitless creativity of the human minds to the laymen. However, not every museum is a shimmering beacon of high culture. Some focus on the more exotic aspects of the world. No matter how bizarre, offbeat or outrageous the subject may be, there’s probably a museum dedicated to it. Take a look at some of the most intriguing and weirdest museums around the world that you must visit once in your lifetime:
1. Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi India
This museum was established in 1992 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a social activist, founder of Sulabh Sanitation. While collecting toilet pots from 3000 BC till the 20th century, this museum exhibits ‘sanitation artifacts’ from around 50 countries arranged in three sections “Ancient, Medieval and Modern”. As the museum brings out the development of the etiquettes of sanitary situations, it is considered as one of the most popular and weirdest museums in the world. The items on display include privies, chamber pots, decorated Victorian toilet seats, toilet furniture, bidets, and water closets in vogue since from 1145 AD to-date.
2. Icelandic Phallological Museum, Iceland
Get your mind out of the gutter! The Iceland Phallological Museum is the premier institution to learn about the male sex organ, described on its website as “probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens”. Here’s a reminder! There’s no pornography, but you can admire 276 penises, from the tiniest hamster member (two millimeters) to the colossal private parts of a sperm whale (1.7 meters). The museum received its first human exhibit from a 95-year-old Icelandic man in 2011. Here you will find Lampshades made out of bull testicles, a tree trunk carved to look like a phallus and an “unusually big” penis bone from a specially endowed Canadian walrus.
3. Mayong Black Magic and Witchcraft Museum, Guwahati, Assam
Known as the Land of Black Magic, Mayong is a village in Assam that lies on the bank of the Brahmaputra and is surrounded by hills on the other sides. The museum lying in the area is known for its relics that propagate mystics and sorcery. People visiting the museum can learn about the origins of ‘tantra’ as they are given demonstrations of the ancient rituals by the locals. Besides the mythological manuscripts and ancient texts on Ayurveda and Black Magic, this museum showcases exhibits like stone statues, old coins, artificial jewelry –necklaces made of bones and seashells and metallic rings, etc.
4. Beijing Tap Water Museum, China
This former pipe-house in the center of Beijing has been converted into a museum dedicated to the ins and outs of tap water, including 130 “real objects,” models and artifacts such as vintage water coupons dating to the first tap water company in the capital, the Jingshi Tap Water Company. But don’t be tempted to quench your thirst after reading this! Beijing residents have long known that the water coming out of their taps is hardly safe to drink. Here you can find a miniature tap water filtration system that gives the Forbidden City a run for its money.
5. Human Brain Museum, Bangalore, India
Bangalore’s NIMHANS has a human brain museum which was set up in 1995 to promote research in neurobiology. Made in association with the central government’s Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it is open for the public only on Saturdays. Take a pledge to be a brain donor here. Visitors get to know the brain inside out – anatomy, neurology, physiology, psychology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery.
6. British Lawnmower Museum, England
What some might consider an icon of the worst aspect of suburbia is cherished at the British Lawnmower Museum, which details the history of the push-powered garden tool. Want to see the first solar-powered robot grass-chopper, or the original mower itself, transformed from a contraption used to hem guards’ uniforms? This museum is for you. From royal lawnmowers belonging to Prince Charles and Princess Diana to the world’s most expensive lawnmowers, this place has it all.
7. Avanos Hair Museum, Turkey
Explore the world’s largest collection of hair gathered from more than 16,000 women. Avanos, a tiny town in central Turkey, has been famous since antiquity for its remarkable earthenware pottery. In recent years, however, the town has gained fame for a more unusual sight, the caves of the bizarre Hair Museum, created by potter Chez Galip. The walls under his studio are covered with the world’s largest collection of hair sourced from more than 16,000 women, along with their names and addresses. Locks of every length and color transform everything but the floor in a kind of hairy haven.
8. Museum of Sex, New York
Opened in 2002 with the intention of preserving the history, evolution and cultural importance of human sexuality, the Museum of Sex is one of the weirdest museums in the world. In fact, a popular magazine described this museum as ‘the Willy Wonka sex dream’. Treat your inner sexual being with a round in the outlandish Bouncy Castle of Breasts of admiring the vintage erotic photography in this intriguing museum. From permanent to a temporary collection of artifacts, this museum boasts of works of art in the form of photography, costumes etc. all with the intent to create an open environment for sex and sexuality.
9. International Cryptozoology Museum, United States
Interestingly, Cryptozoology is the study of mystical creatures and unverified animals but only rumored to exist by legend or belief, such as the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster. So, The Cryptozoology Museum features full-size art sculptures of your favorite monsters that have featured in cartoons or other shows. It is only museum of its kind in the worlds offering the visitors a chance to suspend belief for some time and stroll sometime around the fictional monsters we once believed in.
10. Paldi Kite Museum, Ahmedabad
The brainchild behind this one of the weirdest museums in the world, Bhanu Shah started collecting rare kites from around the world. Later, he donated his collection to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which afterward established a museum for kites in 1985. Located at Sanskar Kendra in the Paldi locality of Ahmedabad, this museum houses some of the most unique kites in existence making it first of its kinds place in India. This museum also has some beautiful miniature paintings of Radha and Krishna.
So how many of these weirdest museums in the world have you visited?