Museums helps us to learn about the history of our planet or a past civilization by showing artifacts from the past. But if you don’t like to visit a museum for learning history, you should check out these six weird museums.
6. Dog Collar Museum
Half a million dog lovers from all over the world flock to the Dog Collar Museum in Maidstone, Kent, England every year. Located within the Leeds Castle, the museum pays homage to Lady Baillie- the last owner of the estate and her well-known love for canines. It features more than 100 unique dog collars that date back centuries, with the oldest collar dating back to the late 15th century.
The collars on display are made from an array of materials, including iron, plastic, and even silver. In 1977, an avid antique collector by the name of Mrs Gertrude Hunt donated her collection of 60 antique collars to the museum in memory of her husband, John, and since her donation the number of collars acquired by the museum has continued to grow.
5. Beijing Tap Water Museum
Considered to be “the exciting side of tap water”, this museum is a former pipe-house in the center of Beijing, China. It recaps the history of tap water in Beijing since 1908, and houses 130 real objects, 110 pictures, and 40 models and sand tables. The museum is built over top of the Zhongzhimen Water Plant, with the original chimney and steam engine room still intact Starting from the front of the museum, tourists can learn about the difficulties of obtaining safe tap water, and the second and third parts inform tourists of the rapid progression of developing tap water from 1949 to the late 1970’s.
Curious about an exhibit? Well, if you don’t speak Chinese you very well might need a translator, as English descriptions and subtitles only appear on a handful of equipment displayed outside of the museum.
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4. The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices
Home to a collection of the most unique medical devices, this museum makes me glad that these tools are no longer on the market. Alternately, the museum is called “The Museum of Quackery”- a fitting name if you ask me. Items on display include the Foot Operated Breast Enlarger Pump (1976), Radium Cures (1920’s), Prostate Cures (for example, the Prostate Gland Warmer- consists of a 4.25-inch probe and a blue light bulb connected to a nine-foot cord, 1918), and the Pyschograph (an antique phrenology machine).
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices was founded by Bob McCoy, who battled with Alzheimer’s Disease for years, before losing his battle in 2010. Before his death, Bob McCoy wrote a book by the name of: Quack! Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices, which can be purchased from Amazon.
3. The Parasite Museum
Interested in germs? This is the place for you. The Parasite Museum in Shimomeguro, Japan is exactly what its name describes: a museum of parasites. The museum is a small place with only two floors, no paid staff, and no entrance fee (that’s right: it’s free). The museum holds around 300 specimens (give or take a few), and a large number of research papers and booklets on harmful parasitic diseases.
Physical specimens include parasitic crabs, worms, fish and bugs that at one point, were all living off of a live host. Perhaps the most popular attraction on display is an 8.8-meter-long tapeworm that is set proudly in a framed glass case. The information written about the displays is in Japanese, which can make reading difficult, but whether you read the articles or not, the displays are fun to look at and interesting anyways.
2. The Mutter Museum
The second fascinating, but more gruesome medical themed museum on our list is the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. This museum is part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and its main goal is to better the health of the public by utilizing its educational programs and resources. Some of the museums’ exhibits are authentic 19th century donations from the founder, Dr. Mutter himself.
Upon visiting the museum, you will see glass jars full of a clear liquid that contain something anatomical- these are considered to be “wet specimens”- which are either human body parts (any part you can imagine from hands to organs), or cysts and tumors that don’t belong on the human body and have been removed. Referring to bones, the Osteological section of the museum is where you’ll find your friendly science class room skeleton.
One particularly notable skeleton located here is that of the Mutter American Giant: a 7’6” tall skeleton who holds the record of being the tallest skeleton in all of North America. Can’t make it to the Mutter Museum? Have no fear. The museum educator, Marcy Engelman, is always willing to travel within a 25-mile radius of Philadelphia to teach in school classrooms and at birthday parties, or children’s events. The hour long lessons include hands on projects as well as real specimens from the museum itself.
1. The Icelandic Phallological Museum
The Phallo-what? The Phallological Museum, also known as The Penis Museum, showcases an array of male genitalia. From giraffes to whales, visiting this museum will expose you to all sorts of animal genitalia that you never thought you’d be exposed to. The museum has genitals from almost every land and sea mammal that can be found in Iceland, and 48 foreign samples, totaling to 282 specimens.
The idea for the museum was first-born when the founder, Sigurður Hjartarson (born 1941), added a bull’s penis to his collection. His teachers, after discovering that he had collected a bull’s penis and was planning to keep it, started bringing him whale penises to tease him- little did they know that his collection was just beginning and that they were fueling his odd fascination.
By 1997, he had 62 specimens, and eventually as his museum expanded, he was forced to move it to a bigger location in Reykjavík, about 298 miles from its original location in Husavik. If you take a trip to the museum, make sure to bring extra cash, as the museum won’t accept payment by credit, debit, or any other type of card payment.