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We’ve all seen the signs, and hopefully stopped to take in some of the sights.
Sometimes the best part of a road trip can be the unplanned roadside attractions along the way. But what about making those wonderfully weird stops the purpose of the trip, instead of a chance encounter? Introducing, the ultimate road trip featuring weird American museums. Here are a few strange and unusual museums to get you started.
International Cryptozoology Museum
At the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine you can expect to see relatively “unknown” animals. These animals are unknown because we’ve never seen things like giant beavers and two-headed calves. Did they ever exist?
Maple Syrup Museum
Vermont is known for its maple syrup. So it should come as no surprise that the New England Maple Museum is located in the foothills of the Green Mountains of Vermont. Learn how trees were tapped and maple products made before machinery and technology took over. The museum tells of over two hundred years of sugaring. You can even buy maple syrup products in the gift shop.
Barney’s Toilet Seat Museum
Our next stop is a tiny garage/museum located in San Antonio, Texas where retired plumber, Barney Smith, has a museum that proves any surface can become an artist’s canvas. Hailed as “The King of the Thrones”, Barney decorates toilet seats and displays them on the walls of his Texas garage, aka Barney’s Toilet Seat Museum. Barney has toilet seats commemorating Super Bowl victories, one has license plates, while others tell the story of his travels.
Warren Anatomical Museum
Located in Boston, the Warren Anatomical Museum contains such specimens as the “well-known” skull of Phineas Gage, the man with the iron rod through his skull—the result of a railroad accident. Phineas lived to tell about it but the trauma changed his personality.
The museum houses the personal teaching and research collection of its namesake, John Collins Warren who started collecting around 1799. Today the Harvard museum boasts more than 15,000 artifacts.
The Mutter Museum
This Philadelphia museum was founded in 1858 to educate doctors in anatomy and medical abnormalities. Thomas Dent Mütter, a surgeon, started the museum with his personal collection of strange materials. It now houses over 20,000 oddities. One of the most famous is a plaster cast of the torso of world-famous Siamese Twins. Also included is a bizarre collection of 2,000 objects taken from people’s throats. The tallest skeleton on display in North America is included as part of the Mutter Museum collection.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
While we are exploring the weird and wonderful, might as well throw in this one. This Richmond, Virginia museum is dedicated to all things Poe. It is located in the oldest house in the city, built in the 1700s. Poe lived two blocks away. Filled with Poe’s manuscripts, the museum also has Poe’s letters, first editions, memorabilia and personal belongings.
The World’s Largest Twine Ball Museum
The world’s largest ball of twine constructed by one person is located in Darwin, Minnesota. The ball was the work of Francis Johnson. He wrapped twine four hours a day for twenty-three weeks. By the end of the fourth month it took a crane to move the ball. By 1979, Johnson’s twine ball weighed almost 9 tons and was 12 feet wide. A quiet, unassuming man, Johnson died of emphysema leaving behind thirty years of twine. The townspeople of Darwin built a museum to honor his effort.
The Warther Museum
If you are a wood carver, you won’t want to miss this Dover, Ohio museum. The collection is located in a building made to look like it was built in the 1920s.
Mystery Spot Michigan Museum
According to St. Ignace Mystery Spot’s website, in the 1950s three “surveyors” from California happened upon this Michigan spot. Their surveying equipment seemed not to work properly. Using a similar attraction as inspiration the three: Clarence, Fred and McCray, set up a tourist attraction here.
The Jell-O Museum
For kids of all ages who love Jell-O ,this Le Roy, New York museum is a must see. When, in 1897, carpenter Pearle Wait created Jell-O in Le Roy, New York he had no idea it would become America’s favorite dessert. Today, Le Roy is the site of a museum with a detailed history of his invention. Immerse yourself in Jell-O trivia, past recipes and advertising memorabilia.
What do you think of these wacky and weird museums? Do you have any to add to the list? If so, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!