From SPAM to Barbed Wire: Seven of the Weirdest Museums in America

Posted May 13th 2011 07:00 AM

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Seven of the Weirdest Museums in America

Wandering Eyre, flickr

Imagine: A whole museum dedicated to SPAM in all its canned, hammy goodness.

Well, imagine no longer – this place exists, as do a number of museums dedicated to oddities like funeral history, medical specimens, barbed wire and more. Better yet, they can all be found somewhere in the United States. So, if the idea of missing out on jewelry made of hair is too much to bear, check out some of the weirdest museums in America.

Of course, the wackiness doesn't stop there. Share your favorite crazy museums in the comments below.


Mr. Kimberly, flickr

National Museum of Funeral History

According to this Houston museum, "any day above ground is a good one." But, for those of us who thankfully can relate, the National Museum of Funeral History is there to help us understand what it's like to deal with death. Founded in 1992, its mission is to preserve the heritage of the funeral industry. This is accomplished through exhibits like a full-scale replica of Pope John Paul II's crypt, a 1900s casket factory and a Civil War embalming diorama.
415 Barren Springs Drive, Houston, TX; 281-876-3063
Admission: Adults: $10; Children: $7; Seniors: $9

Leila's Hair Museum
Apparently, back in Victorian times, the cool thing to do was make wreaths, jewelry and other ornamentations out of human hair. And, thanks to Leila's Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri, the tradition is still alive. Here, visitors can see 159 wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of jewelry containing or made of human hair that date to before 1900. There's watch fobs, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, chains, brooches, hat pins and wreathes from two sisters who shaved their heads to enter a convent.
1333 South Noland Road, Independence, MO; 816-833-2955
Admission: Adults: $5; Seniors and Children: $2.50



istolethetv, flickr

Mutter Museum

Perhaps the best known museum on this list, the Mutter Museum is where visitors to Philadelphia go to get creeped out by medical oddities and specimens. Ever wanted to see Grover Cleveland's tumor, a conjoined liver from Siamese twins, a slice of a murderer's brain or a woman who turned to wax after death? Well, this is the place. Just consider eating lunch after visiting rather than before.
19 S. 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-563-3737
Admission: Adults: $14; Children: $10; Seniors: $10


Trash Museum
A true testament to the theory that one man's trash is another man's treasure is the Trash Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. Run by the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, the museum explores all things waste like the problems of traditional trash collection and various, sustainable solutions to the problem. Exhibits include an operating recycling facility, a mural depicting the history of trash management and a visualization of how much trash a single person produces annually.
211 Murphy Road, Hartford, CT; 860-757-7765
Admission: $2


SPAM Museum

Can't get enough of America's favorite canned meat? Then hightail it over to the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota to learn all about Hormel's culinary icon invented in 1937. Here, visitors can practice canning SPAM products (of which there are 13), brush up on SPAM trivia, learn about SPAM products and their role in World War II, and stock up on official SPAM merch. Maybe those SPAM takeaways will pair nicely with a souvenir from the Vidalia Onion Museum.
1101 Main St. N, Austin, MN; 1-800-LUV-SPAM
Admission: Free



IronHide, flickr

The Museum of Bad Art

Good art is so pedestrian – every museum has good art. But, only bad art adorns the walls of the Museum of Bad Art's three Massachusetts locations. Founded in 1993, the MOBA is "dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory." Works range from the "oops" moments of talented artists to something a first-grader might pin up on the fridge.
Dedham Community Theatre: 580 High St., Dedham, Massachusetts; 781-444-6757
Admission: Free
Somerville Theatre: 55 Davis Square, Somerville MA
Admission: Free with purchase of theater admission
Brookline Access Television: 46 Tappan St., Top Floor, Brookline, MA
Admission: Free

Devil's Rope Museum

A museum all about barbed wire – apparently nicknamed devil's rope. And, apparently this museum in McLean, Texas is the largest barbed wire museum in the world. Founded in 1991, it tells "all about the history of barbed wire, its artifacts, the significance of the invention, and the impact on the development of the Old West." This includes exhibits about barbed wire's military use, the development of cowboy tools, rare barbed wire artifacts and how to make barbed wire demonstrations. The western fun continues at the connected The Texas Old Route 66 Museum.
100 Kingsley St., McLean, TX; 806-779-2225
Admission: Free


Filed Under: Weird

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23 Comments

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nvisiblegypsys

largest, most comprehensive antique firearms/edged weapons museum in the U.S. possibly the world........
The Berman Museum Anniston Alabama

May 23 2011 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marilyn

My husband and I love Spam. So needless to say we had to stop at Austin Minnesota and see the Spam Museum. It was very interesting. You get a bite of Spam and the gift shop has some good things in it. We were driving right by the museum. It was not out of our way at all.

May 22 2011 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Connie Seals

I've been to both the Spam and Mutter's museums, really surprised me, would recommend both (my husband couldn't take much of the Mutter's, he had to leave, ha).

May 22 2011 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Connie Seals

Have been to the Spam and Mutters museums, really surprised me, would recommend both (my husband couldn't take much of the Mutters museum, he had to leave).

May 22 2011 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bunnikute

Museum of BAD ART is a MUST see

May 22 2011 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
apixie8

I can`t beilieve someone actually would go to some of these! :-P

May 22 2011 at 5:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to apixie8's comment
aspartax

I think that Leila's Museum buy the hair they need from this website http://www.sellhairstore.com/
It's even more bizzar to know that people sell their hair

January 11 2012 at 4:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jzanier468

I once visited the National Appliance Museum in Minden, Nebraska while on my way to California. They had household appliances like ranges, refrigerators, toasters, sewing machines and so on going back to the 19th century. Actually it was very interesting. Is it still there?

May 22 2011 at 4:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
laedbac1

It is great to go to these places and spend our hard earned American dollars on and far America. Not Communist China or other third world nations. God bless America.

May 22 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
actorsd

There is a great museum in Culver City, CA called the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Odd, funny, thought provoking, curious and weird. I recommend it!!

May 22 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JERRY

I saw this on TV but have not been there. Wharton Tx , just south if Houston has a Museum of obsolete technology. Out of date computers.calulators, cameras, etc.

May 22 2011 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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