Museum of Death, Hollywood
The Museum of Death doesn’t mince its words, and while it has no age restriction on visitors, “because WE ALL DIE,” it makes no bones about the fact that its exhibits are not for the faint-hearted. The founders claim to have created the museum to fill the ‘void in death education’, but you’d be forgiven for feeling that the museum is more a of a lip-licking horror freak show. It boasts the largest collection of Serial Killer artwork and grisly photos from several murder scenes, including Charles Manson and Black Dahlia – a gruesome mutilation that is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.
Cancun Underwater Museum, Cancun
With over 470 underwater statues, the Cancun Underwater Museum hopes to draw large numbers of people away from the delicate and vulnerable reefs nearby and create a new artificial area where more marine life can thrive. You don’t have to be a scuba diver to explore the eerie, serene underwater world – there are options for snorkelling and even glass bottomed boats.
The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia
The Mutter Museum claims to be ‘America’s finest museum of medical history’, and it certainly exudes an air of luxuriance with its polished darkwood cabinets and nineteenth century portraits lining the walls. The only thing stopping you from settling down with a pipe and a nice tumbler of whiskey is the fact that the cabinets are filled with skulls and slices of human faces. The Mutter Museum is a rich combination of history, science and art, with permanent exhibitions that include slices of Albert Einstein’s brain and a large collection of conjoined fetal specimens.
Le Musee des Vampires, Les Lilas, France
Not an easy drop in if you don’t speak French as you must make an appointment to visit, but if you’re interested in all things blood-sucking then this Museum of Vampires is the treasure trove for you. As well as being stacked full of every type of vampire related paraphernalia you can imagine – from books, to fine art, to traditional looking props to a mummified cat, it boasts an impressive collection of the autographs of every actor who has ever played Dracula in a Hollywood movie.
National Museum of Funeral History, Houston
Unlike the Museum of Death, the National Museum of Funeral History deals with the subject of death with a little more compassion and decorum. It explores the history of how humans have dealt with death and the dead, from Ancient Egypt to Modern times. Whether you’re interested in the practicalities of embalming of the more emotional aspects of 19th century mourning customs, this museum is both broad and deep.
Glore Psychiatric Museum, Missouri
Winner of the tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, The Glore Psychiatric Museum chronicles centuries of mental health treatment. If the subject matter weren’t disturbing enough, the creepy mannequins employed to demonstrate some of the treatments will creep you out. As well as displaying surgical tools, the museum boasts a collection of genuine artwork by mental illness sufferers, including the stitched needlework of a mute schizophrenic.
Sulabh International Toilet Museum, New Delhi
“Sanitation is more important than independence” — bet you didn’t know Gandhi said that! And since you know how strongly he felt about independence, that should give you some inkling as to how he felt about sanitation. In a country famous for its sanitation struggles, this museum is no place for toilet humour. The founder has grand ideals of reforming contemporary India and bringing dignity and health to the ‘untouchables’. The museum details the historic evolution of toilets from 2500BC to the modern day, including technology, customs and etiquettes.
Salem Witch Museum
As well as chronicling the Salem Witch Trials through thirteen unsettling life size stage sets, the museum takes it upon itself to detail the changing interpretations of witches over time, all the way up to witchcraft practice today. The museum invites you to experience the dark drama of the time with theatrical presentations and ‘stirring narration’ then make up your own mind about whether the Trials were only hearsay, innuendo and gossip.
Roswell UFO Museum
Perhaps a visit to this museum will make a believer out of doubters, with its photos, newspaper clippings and lifesize models of the little grey men with giant black eyes. Visitors are split between die hard conspiracy theorists who insist the museum proves the government cover up and those who just like the fact that a fake spaceship with alient models revs up every half an hour – and of course the gift shop.
Iceland Phallological Museum, Husavik
Penises in jars. Lots and lots of penises in jars. Ever wonder what the penis of a polar bear looks like? Then this is the museum for you. The museum claims to have specimens from every mammal in the country – including homo sapiens. The founder of the museum’s fascination with phalluses was born when as a child he was given a bull’s penis for ‘whipping the animals’, and later when his colleagues would bring him whale penises to ‘tease’ him. Some people might foster some kind of trauma, but this guy started a museum.
Featured photo credit: mal a la gorge/istolethetv via flickr.com