One of the top sights tourists flock to as a great way to gain a cultural, historic, and/or artistic view of a foreign country are museums. I enjoy a good museum, certainly, and can spend days strolling around soaking everything up. But there are so many museums around the world, too many to visit (especially for a frugal, introverted traveler like me). So I’ve taken to searching out museums that are different, quirky, downright weird, and, frankly, potentially offensive. I find I have a lot more fun, and a lot more interesting travel tales, spending my time exploring truly unique places. In this post, I will share 5 of my favorite crazy, singular, uber-fun museums around the world. The Louvre these are not, so be forewarned… 😉
1. Frietmuseum in Bruges, Belgium
“Friet” in Dutch means “fries”. Yup, that’s right! This museum is dedicated to that classic, golden, potatoey goodness we know as the french fry (or chip…). I had such a good time in this museum, which has so much information on the history of fries and potatoes in general. There are so many more varieties of potatoes than I had ever imagined!
There’s also a section with all kinds of french fry themed toys and collectibles, some of which you can play with. The piece de resistance, of course, is the Fry Shop in the “medieval cellars” (basement level) of the museum where you can sample this staple of Belgian cuisine at its finest!
2. Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada
I used to have quite an extensive shoe collection, but it was nowhere near the 13,000 pieces housed at the Bata Shoe Museum. They cover the history of shoes, including examples from the past 4500 years through to the latest wearable and avant-garde fashions.
It goes into shoemaking and the cultural significance of shoes throughout the years. Plus, it includes shoe-related items and, best of all, an area where you can try on all kinds of crazy, fun, and unusual shoes for a fantastic travel selfie!
3. Claphams Clock Museum in Whangarei, New Zealand
This is probably the smallest museum on this list. But I mean that in terms of the size of the building, not necessarily the size of the collection. The small space of Claphams is packed solid with clocks of all description and awash with a cacophony of chiming, chirping, and whistling sounds that mark the hours.
You’ll find cuckoo clocks, sundials, watches, hourglasses, clocks that move backward, and even clocks that make tea! So many rare, funny, and interesting clocks to inspect, it took a lot longer than I thought to get a proper look at everything in this cute and quirky Kiwi museum.
4. International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico, USA
Roswell, NM is famous for an incident in 1947 when a government surveillance balloon crashed near the town causing speculation and conspiracy theories that the balloon was actually a UFO or “flying saucer”, that aliens were recovered from the site, and that the government was covering everything up. Despite being debunked many times over, the story has persisted to the present day.
The UFO Museum is dedicated to all kinds of information, recordings, and artifacts pertaining to what has become known as “The Roswell Incident”, as well as other UFO-related paraphernalia. It’s a bit kitsch, but very amusing. My favorite part was probably the display featuring a flying saucer and three aliens which comes to life several times an hour, the saucer spinning and emitting lights and smoke to eerie music and “alien” chatter.
5. Love Museum in Seoul, South Korea
In some ways, the Love Museum may be the most traditional museum on this list. It is, fundamentally, an art museum. However, the subject matter of that art also makes it the museum on this list most likely to offend, as the brief for the museum is, “Eroticism Art Collaboration”. The pieces on display run the gamut from classical art inspired to crazily cartoony to downright pornographic.
Needless to say, this museum is not for everyone. But for those not shy about sexuality, you will find it expressed in all kinds of ways here. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities for NSFW photos, including inserting oneself (so to say… ;-P) into the scene in one way or another.
So if you’re looking for a unique, fun, and quirky experience during your next trip to Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, New Mexico, or South Korea, check out one of these more unusual museums. I found them to be one of the highlights of my travels, but if nothing else, they will certainly give you an interesting dinner party anecdote!
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