The 18 Most Eccentric Museums in America
So you’ve done MOMA and The Smithsonian? Now it’s time to take to the road and check out these weird and wonderful museums scattered across the states…
Vent Haven Ventriloquism Museum exhibition. Photo by 5chw4r7z via Flickr.
1. VENT HAVEN VENTRILOQUISM MUSEUM
33 West Maple Avenue, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
‘The World’s only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism‘ houses over 700 figures, promising a highly surreal experience.
2. GENERAL PATTON MEMORIAL MUSEUM
62-510 Chiriaco Road, Chiriaco Summit, California
The memorabilia collection covers every war from WW1 to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as a Tank Yard featuring vehicles from WW2 through to Vietnam.
3. THE SPAM MUSEUM
1101 N Main St Austin, Minnesota
A tribute to all things Spam, the museum is home to the world’s only Great Wall of Spam, featuring over 5,000 cans of ‘America’s favourite tinned meat’.
4. THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM
117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Features a vast array of paintings, sculptures and video installations spread over seven floors.
5. THE TRASH MUSEUM
211 Murphy Road, South Meadows, Hartford, Connecticut
Marvel at huge sculptures made from recycled rubbish, including a one-tonne trash-osarus. Other attractions include The Temple of Trash and the old-fashioned town dump.
6. THE HOBO MUSEUM
51 Main Ave S Britt, Iowa
Opened in the early 1980s with money left to the owners from ‘an unknown hobo’. Amongst the museum’s collection are books written by hobos as well as records by hobo artists.
7. JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM
119 Third Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee
In the same year that Cash’s Tennessee lake home burned down in 2007, the House of Cash Museum was sold to be renovated into office space. This year has seen the opening of the new Johnny Cash Museum, featuring an extensive collection of Johnny’s guitars.
8. UFO MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER
114 North Main Street, Roswell, New Mexico
Takes a serious approach to the infamous Roswell conspiracy, with the aim of ‘educating the general public on all aspects of UFO phenomena’.
9. INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM
800 F Street, NW, Washington DC
Currently running an exhibition celebrating 50 years of James Bond villains, featuring over 100 artefacts from the films.
Voodoo dolls at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. Photo by Claudia Crane via Flickr.
10. THE NEW ORLEANS HISTORIC VOODOO MUSEUM
724 Dumaine St New Orleans, Louisiana
Learn about the history behind the myths, including voodoo rituals and the origin of the Haitian zombies.
11. SALEM WITCH MUSEUM
Washington Square, Salem, Massachusetts
Offers a tour of the infamous Salem witch trial sites, as well as offering information about the origin of the witch as we know her today.
12. THE CALIFORNIA SURF MUSEUM
312 Pier View Way Oceanside, California
Documents the history of one of America’s most popular sports as well as featuring a diverse range of exhibitions exploring the history of the surfboard and the dangers of the ocean.
13. INTREPID SEA, AIR & SPACE MUSEUM
Pier 86, 46th Street, New York
Play with a number of interactive exhibits housed aboard the decommissioned Intrepid aircraft carrier, including the Space Shuttle Pavilion, the former USS Growler submarine and the former British Airways Concorde Alpha Delta G-BOAD.
14. THE NATIONAL STEINBECK CENTER
1 S Main St Salinas, California
Features films and documents covering each area of Steinbeck’s life and is currently running a special exhibition to celebrate 75 years of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.
15. MUHAMMAD ALI CENTER
144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville, Kentucky
As well as covering the great athlete’s life and career, the museum features a number of programme arenas, encouraging ‘our new generation of leaders to achieve greatness on local, national and global levels’.
16. PEZ MUSEUM
214 California Drive, Burlingame, California
Featuring all the Pez memorabilia you could ever want, as well as the world’s largest Pez dispenser.
17. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FUNERAL HISTORY
415 Barren Springs Dr Houston, Texas
Houses the largest collection of funeral artefacts as well as information on the mourning rituals of ancient civilisations and authentic utensils used in the funerals of presidents and popes.
18. BACKSTREET CULTURAL MUSEUM
1116 Henriette Delille St, New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in New Orleans’ Tremé neighbourhood, the Backstreet Cultural Museum explores jazz culture, cultural festivals and anything and everything relating to New Orleans’ African American community.