To be honest, I’m a complete museophile (yes, it’s a thing). No matter where I visit, I’m always drawn in by museums that provide a glimpse into the cultural particularities of a certain locale. Sure, world-renowned art or natural history museums are usually well worth the visit, but the museums I remember most tend to be a bit quirkier and more specific in nature. Here are five interesting (and certainly unique) museums around the world that are worth checking out.
International UFO Museum and Research Center – Roswell, NM
Travelers interested in UFOs (or the culture that has sprung up around this specialized interest) will find plenty of fascinating information and objects at the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. This quirky museum has become famous for its collection of memorabilia from the highly debated flying-saucer crash in Roswell in 1947, exhibits regarding the alleged government cover-up, and plenty of other information on extraterrestrials and their spacecraft.
Musée DuPuytren – Paris, France
Not of the faint of heart, the Musée DuPuytren is a medical museum located in Paris. Established in 1835, it contains an impressive collection of over 600 specimens, wax models, paintings, and prints of biological abnormalities dating back to the 18th century. As one would expect from a Parisian museum, everything is labeled and displayed to perfection, which makes it fascinating for a range of visitors from the experienced medical practitioner to the average Joe.
Center for Wooden Boats – Seattle, WA
Filled with residential houseboats and seaplanes, Lake Union, located just north of downtown Seattle, is definitely worth a visit. To sweeten the deal, there’s a quirky museum located on the lake’s south shore, the Center for Wooden Boats. Dedicated to experiential learning, the CWB hosts workshops and community programs that allow visitors to learn about maritime culture while engaging in boat preservation and sailing on the lake. For those who would rather stay on dry land, there’s a small boating museum with historic vessels and paraphernalia.
Japanese Coiffure Museum – Kyoto, Japan
One of the most captivating and unusual museums I’ve visited, the Japanese Coiffure Museum (also known as the Japan Hair Museum), houses over 100 examples of Japanese hairstyles spanning multiple centuries. Equally as captivating are the over 200 combs and hair ornaments used by maiko (geisha in training) and geisha in the Kyoto district of Gion. The museum provides a rare glimpse into a unique aspect of Japanese culture and aesthetics.
German Knopfmuseum – Bärnau, Germany
Established in 1975, the delightful and informative German Knopfmuseum chronicles the history of the robust Bärnau button industry, which dates back to 1895. Visitors will be able to see buttons from four centuries made from various materials (including the largest and smallest buttons ever made in this region of Germany), as well as machinery and equipment used in button manufacturing. One of the most beautiful parts of the museum is the room with tapestries made from hundreds of buttons – true works of art!
What quirky museums have you visited during your travels? Which ones were your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.