As our friends over at 1000 Museums know, there’s a near endless supply of museums scattered across the globe to satisfy your curiosity and thirst for knowledge. With over 35,000 museums in the United States alone, there are bound to be a few oddballs. Today, we’re rounding up a list of museums that are so specific, you’ll be tempted to visit them – if for no other reason, just to see how they can fill a museum on the topic.
The Mini Bottle Gallery: Oslo, Norway
If you’ve ever bought a shooter bottle of liquor just because you thought it was cute (guilty), then this is the museum for you. The Mini Bottle Gallery is home to over 53,000 miniature bottles from all over the world. On your way out, make your way back to the first story using their slide.
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices: Saint Paul, MN
For better or for worse, the art of healing has long been a game of trial and error. This museum pays homage to some of the approaches to medicine that were misguided, ridiculous, and sometimes downright harmful – some devices stemmed from the inventor’s desire for riches at any cost, while others were well-intentioned, if misguided. From bloodletting devices to phrenology (the study of the shape of the head), this museum offers an amazing collection of quackery.
Ramen Museums: Ikeda and Yokohama, Japan
Americans largely know Ramen as the meal of choice for poor college students. However, many don’t realized the history of the dish, and its many varieties. Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum aims to educate, and includes a full-sized replica of a 1958 Tokyo street. Why 1958? It was the year instant ramen was invented, of course. If you’d like something even more specific, check out The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum – this museum only focuses on instant Ramen and Cup O’ Noodles.
Leila’s Hair Museum: Independence, Missouri
Whether or not this makes the museum more or less creepy is up to the viewer, but the Hair Museum is not simply a museum of locks of hair — rather, it’s dedicated to hair art, a centuries old practice often done as a token of affection or remembrance for another. Hair relics have longtime had a place in society, however, perhaps reached the height of their popularity in the Victorian period. The museum boasts thousands of pieces of hair art, some dating as far back as 1680.
The Museum of Broken Relationships: Zagreb, Croatia
Whether it’s old letters or a stuffed animal, many of us still have some relic of a past relationship in our possession — so think of the Museum of Broken Relationships as a giant version of that box shoved in the back corner of your attic. Items range from the sad (a wedding dress, 1994-1997), to the usual (a teddy bear holding a heart that says “I love you,” 2002), to the downright bizarre (a molecular animal, “a few years”). Each item has a short piece of writing from the owner, usually describing it’s significance to the broken relationship. The museum is sure to be full of emotional ups and downs, and when your tour is complete, you can come off the emotional rollercoaster at the Brokenships Cafe, which serves mulled wine and pepper cookies.
There are thousands of other oddly specific museums in the world — some represent a unique facet of the community in which their housed, whereas others are a place for one individual to display their peculiar interests to the world. We’d love to hear more about some of the museums you’ve visited that depart from the norm in the comments.