Why go to the Tate when you can visit London’s Fan Museum? Strange as these museums may sounds, they’re often the ones most remembered from your trip years later. Who doesn’t love a little absurdity on their holidays?
This list is far from complete, but it’s a good start for any trip to the UK, the USA and even India. We know you can only handle so many natural history and fine art museums, so give your brain a break and learn about the fascinating history of baked beans, or appreciate the value of bad art. Forget the world’s most beautiful museums and let’s take a tour of the world’s strangest!
The London Fan Museum
As the only museum in the world devoted to the ancient art of fan-making, this Greenwich haunt is sure to be educational. It has 4,000 fans in its collection dating all the way back to the 11th century to present day. Hand-held fans have been used for thousands of years to cool oneself but have turned into essential fashion accessories one wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without. Even today, the use of decorated and designer fans is very common in Spain.
- Address: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich
- Open: Tues-Sat 11:00-17:00, Sun 12:00-17:00
- Admission: £4 adults
- More info: thefanmuseum.org.uk
Sulabh Museum of Toilets
Thinking you wouldn’t much enjoy a tour of this Indian toilet museum? Think again. The founder of the museum says, “The toilet is a part of the history of human hygiene which is a critical chapter in the growth of civilization.” From Victorian chamber pots and ornate British stoneware urinals to a replica of the throne of King Louis XIII who used to give audience while using the loo.
- Address: Sulabh Bhawa, Mahavir Enclave, Pala Dabri Marg in New Delhi
- Open: Mon to Sat 10:00-17:00
- More info: sulabhtoiletmuseum.org
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
Not your usual pharmaceutical museum, as many know that the French Quarter in this southern American city is known for its use of voodoo to cure common aches and pains. The museum houses thousands of antique medical tools and jars of curiosities, can you spot the jar of leeches?
- Open: Tues-Fri 10:00-14:00
- Admission: $5 adults, $4 students
- More info: pharmacymuseum.org
Museum of Bad Art
Some may say there’s no such thing, but if you get a look at some of the things in this museum, you’re likely to agree that bad art truly does exist. The MOBA is, to use their own words, “a community-based, private institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms and in all its glory.” Well worth a visit if you’re in MA with a US car hire.
- Address: 580 High Street, Dedham, Massachusetts
- Open: Sun-Thurs 14:00-21:00, Fri-Sat + holidays 13:00-22:00
- Admission: Free
- More info: museumofbadart.org
Baked Bean Museum of Excellence
For the love of beans on toast, this is a must-see museum if you’re in Port Talbot, South Wales. It was opened in 2003 by a man who goes by the name of Captain Beany in his two-bedroom flat. Today his home museum is open to the public, just call in advance, and features 200+ artifacts entirely dedicated to baked beans.
- Address: 6 Flint House, Moorland Road
- More info: bakedbeanmuseumofexcellence.org.uk
What’s the strangest and oddest museum you’ve ever visited? Have any others to add to our list?