Why not visit a museum on your next holiday? Where else can you see vampire teeth, Hello Kitty children’s furnishings or historical toilets close up? Here are a few suggestions.
Dive down and marvel at the sight of hundreds of sculptures underwater, populated by swarms of fish, algae and corals, at the Cancún Underwater Museum in Mexico. Depending on your diving skills, you can scuba drive, snorkel or take the glass-bottom boat to explore.
Dying for a selfie with the world’s most famous cat? No problem at the Hello Kitty Island museum on Jeju Island in South Korea. The cute creature, whose real name is Kitty White and who’s a big fan of homemade apple pie, is everywhere here – and there’s even a fully furnished, pink Hello Kitty kid’s bedroom.
Behind the suitably blood-red door of the Vampires and Legendary Creatures private museum in Paris, you’ll find gruesome exhibits galore: vampire books, paintings, film posters, costumes, teeth and the autographs of Dracula actors. There’s even an authentic 19th-century kit for slaying vampires. Reservations required.
The love of your life has left, leaving behind only a shoe. Or a necklace. Or a fortune cookie wrapper. The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb shows mementos of painful break-ups and lost love, plus the back stories. Croatia too far away? There’s a branch in Hollywood.
Call of nature
If you gotta go, you gotta go. We urge you to pay a visit to the Toilet Museum in New Delhi, where you can follow the history of sanitary installations, from brick toilets in Indian homes around 2500 BCE to elaborately tiled Victorian lavatories and ultramodern toilets from Korea and Japan. There’s also culture in the shape of poems celebrating what is possibly the most important room in the house.
Chamber of wonders
The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles is a kind of dark treasure chest brimming with weird objects from various different centuries, including microscopic sculptures in the eye of a needle, oil paintings of all the Russian dogs that ever flew into space, and a mysterious mouse sandwich that’s said to cure a stutter. The museum belongs to a private collector, but it’s open to the public.
City of gnomes
Just outside Bunbury near Perth, Australia, you’ll find a veritable army of garden gnomes. You can even bring your own little guy to Gnomesville and place it anywhere you wish, as long as you include the details of its name and the date it joined the throng. But don’t even think of moving a previous occupant to make space for yours it brings bad luck!
Andy Rementer (The New Yorker, The New York Times) illustrated this story. His favorite museum? “The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. My favorite part is one doctor’s collection of 2374 objects removed from the airways and digestive tracts of his patients: buttons, coins, screws …”
More curious museums around the world
The American Pigeon Museum & Library in Oklahoma City is dedicated to the relationship between humans and pigeons.
Located in Gießen, Germany (gießen means “to water/pour”), this museum boasts a collection of 1200 watering cans that are long-term loans or donations.
The British Lawnmower Museum in Southport, England, features more than 300 mowers.
The Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Oregon, is dedicated to creatures whose existence is unproven, like Bigfoot and the Yeti.