When you think of the word “museum”, does an oak-panelled room and a clickety-clack floor come to mind? Or taxidermied woodland creatures and a display case of dead butterflies?
You’re in luck. We’ve found the 10 best alternative museums around the world. And they’re anything but boring. Not a “Quiet Please” sign in sight.
1.Neon Museum, Downtown Las Vegas
AKA The Neon Boneyard, this downtown Las Vegas museum is a sunny scrap-yard of disused neon signs from Sin City. Only accessible through guided tours (from super-cool volunteers), here you’ll take a journey from 1930s Las Vegas right through to modern day. Numerous fashion and film shoots take place at this museum too. Plus, it makes one hell of a good Instagram shot!
770 N Las Vegas Blvd
2. Museum of Broken Relationships, Los Angeles
Dedicated to failed relationships, this LA museum showcases over 100 mementos of real-life break ups, including love letters, wedding dresses, photographs and even underwear. A sister museum to its predecessor in Croatia, the website says this collection shows that “we all share the same problems, no matter our nationality or background”.
6751 Hollywood Blvd
3. Mini Bottle Gallery, Oslo
This quirky Norwegian museum claims to have the “world’s largest collection of miniature bottles”, with 53,000 in total. They’re filled with all sorts of things (from fruit to worms) and displayed over three floors, including a “Horror” room which you can take a slide down to. Oh, and there’s also a bar.
The Mini Bottle Gallery A/S
Image: Instagram user 3030 vision
4. International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi
As well as lavatory-related accessories dating back from 2500 BC and an impressive display of decorative porcelain thrones, this museum has a good cause. It’s curated by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International, who is dedicated to improving sanitation conditions in the poorest parts of India.
Sulabh Bhawan, Palam Dabri Road,
5. Busy Beaver Button Museum, Chicago
Probably the best named museum on this list, the Busy Beaver has a massive collection of pinback buttons (we call them badges), with some even dating back to the 1800s. The museum aims to “show how people commemorated noteworthy times in their lives by creating and collecting these wearable mementos”, according to the website.
3279 W Armitage Ave
6. The Sex Museum, Amsterdam
This risque museum has lots of naughty artifacts, artworks and photographs – including some of the world’s first nude photos. The experience seems to be one that most visitors consider fun, if a bit seedy. One Yelp reviewer paints the scene by saying it has “the atmosphere of a 50's diner mixed with Vegas and plastered with pornographic polaroids”.
1012 LG Amsterdam
7. MOBA, Boston
The tongue-in-cheek Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is on a mission to collect, preserve and exhibit art that has gone wrong. Housed in a theatre basement, the museum has around 500 pieces. You’re welcome to donate your own bad art as long as it’s original…and bad enough.
55 Davis Square
Image: Flickr used BionicGrrrl
8. Maple Museum, New England
Visit Vermont and learn about the history of maple syrup - plus try a few tasters. This is actually not the only maple syrup museum in Vermont, but it is the largest. In the gift shop you can buy maple syrup by the gallon, in addition to other maple delicacies like Maple Blueberry Glaze and Maple Horseradish Mustard.
9. Irish Rock N Roll Museum Experience, Dublin
This is a recording studio, live-music venue and museum all in one. Dedicated to Irish rock royalty, the museum is stuffed with memorabilia from iconic bands like Thin Lizzy and U2. You can also go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the recording studio and browse the Wall of Fame.
10. Chasing Rainbows Museum, Tennessee
Located in Dollywood (in the Adventures in Imagination area of the park), this museum is dedicated to all things Dolly Parton. On display are costumes from 9 to 5, sequinned gowns, awards and platinum records. Colours, jewels and sparkles aplenty.
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd
Check out the Travel Inspiration section for daydream-worthy top picks.