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Unusual Museums Throughout the US
Most museums are buildings that serve as vaults for some of humanity's most culturally significant art and artifacts. Places like the Louvre in Paris, which houses the Mona Lisa, and the Museum of Natural History with its fantastic dioramas are classic examples of what most people think of when museums come to mind.
Unfortunately, there are a large number of items and industries that have cultural significance that just can't find a home in a “normal” museum. Luckily, instead of being lost to history forever, there are plenty of unusual museums across the U.S. that cater to even the most obscure interests and cultural taste.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology - Culver City, CA
While many Southern California attractions cater to a wide array of interests, the Museum of Jurassic Technology hones in on the strange and the weird. The MJT, which bills itself as “an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic,” offers a diverse collection of artistic, historic, and scientific exhibits. Its microminiature collection by Hagop Sandaldjian focuses on sculptures carved out of single grains of rice or single strands of human hair, and displayed within the eye of a needle. There's also a collection detailing life and “artifacts” from Los Angeles trailer parks known as The Garden of Eden on Wheels, as well as an oil painting gallery named The Lives of Perfect Creatures, which depicts the heroic canines of the Soviet space program.
The Museum of Sex - New York, NY
One of the more unique museums in New York is located on 5th Avenue: the Museum of Sex, or MoSex, offers educational exhibits that cover a wide range of presentations related to sexuality and its related topics. Some of MoSex's previous exhibitions have examined how New York City affected the perception of sex in the United States, and others have focused on sexuality from other time periods and cultures. While the museum presents these topics in an academic format, some items and images are graphic, which restricts admission to MoSex to those 18 or older.
The Museum of Bad Art - Boston, MA
With so much great art in the world, it stands to reason that there would be some art that misses the mark. The Brookline and Somerville, Mass., (both just outside Boston) branches of the Museum of Bad Art aim to give those peculiar pieces the exposure that they so richly deserve. The MOBA's collection of “art too bad to be ignored” contains approximately 500 pieces and ranges from mountains that look more like ice cream to portraits of landscapes that might actually be portraits of dogs. Despite the quality of the artwork, everything is displayed and exhibited with the utmost seriousness (loosely speaking). Each piece of artwork is examined, critiqued and interpreted by curators, just like a traditional art museum. The MOBA is not interested in collecting or displaying tacky artwork, so to be considered for inclusion, pieces must have been created with serious artistic intent.
National Museum of Funeral History - Houston, TX
Founded in 1992, the NMFH in Houston is a museum with the goal to “educate the public and preserve the heritage of death care.” The museum, which is widely regarded as the largest funerary educational institution in the world and hosts a variety of exhibits, including Thanks For the Memories, which focuses on celebrity funerals. Additionally, the NMFH is also home to Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes. This exhibit contains vestments, funerary items, and even the Popemobile, and was designed in collaboration with the Vatican to make visitors feel as if they were part of the papal funeral process