10 weird museums to visit when you travel
A trip to a museum while on vacation is a very typical activity for many people when they travel. Visiting a museum is a fantastic activity, and it is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of the area. Other museums provide information on science and technology, or art and entertainment. While we love checking out these types of museums, the ones that catch our fancy are the weird museums.
We take great joy in visiting the weird museums we come across on our road trips. We actively seek them out when we plan our road trips so that we can incorporate a visit to these weird and offbeat museums into our itinerary. Some of the more unusual and bizarre museums that we have been to, that you may enjoy visiting are:
Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, PA
At the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is one of the most notorious of the weird museums. It contains many exhibits and collections of anatomical specimens, models of human anatomy, as well as medical instruments. Many people are drawn to this museum by the lure of medical oddities. The Mutter Museum is designed to help educate the public on the mysteries of the human body, the history of medicine, and the treatment of disease. The Mutter Museum describes itself as America’s most excellent museum of medical history, and that includes items that the average person may consider to be weird, including skulls, preserved specimens, blood, and abnormal human development.
Pharmacy Museum New Orleans
In a city known for the absurd, offbeat, and unusual, New Orleans is also home to one of the most interesting museums we have ever visited. The Pharmacy Museum at 514 Chartres St. is located in the heart of the French Quarter. This small museum is the original location for America’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho, JR. Exhibits at this museum include displays on bloodletting, surgical instruments, methods of administration, questionable medical practices, voodoo potions, and much more. There is also a courtyard with a medicinal herb garden, and there is a display with a collection of spectacles.
International UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell, New Mexico
Surely, you have heard of Roswell and the Roswell incident. The Roswell Incident refers to the crashing of a UFO on the outskirts of Roswell in 1947. This museum contains an extensive collection of artifacts, reports, documents related to the UFO crash, as well as many ‘alien’ associated displays. The UFO research centre focuses on sharing stories of the incident, extraterrestrial life, the history of UFO encounters, and the influence on pop culture. You will love to take selfies with the various aliens on display.
The Experimental Breeder Reactor, Arco, Idaho
Arco, Idaho has the distinction of being the first city in the world to be powered by nuclear power. The Experimental Breer Reactor 1 turned on in December 1951, making it one of the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plants. In 1955, the reactor suffered a partial meltdown and decommissioned in the early ’60s. Today, EBR-1 is a museum where you can learn about the history of nuclear energy. You can explore the reactor on self-guided tours; you can play with controls and see the melted core behind safety glass. The nearby town of Atomic City once boomed with the promise of the Atomic Age, but is now a ghost town, with a population of approximately 30 people.
A nearby attraction worth visiting is the Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Read our article on Chernobyl – another nuclear powerplant ghost town.
Living Dead Museum, Evans City, Pennsylvania
Horror fans will enjoy taking a trip to the town of Evans City. Filming of the 1968 classic horror movie “Night of the Living Dead” took place in this town, with the opening scenes filmed at the nearby Evans City Cemetery. In town, there is a museum dedicated to the Living Dead and other zombies in pop culture. It is a small museum, but a lot of fun to check out the props, memorabilia, and presentations they have in store for you. Don’t forget to have your photo taken in front of the “Maul of Fame” wall. If you are a true fan of the movie, you will want to visit for their annual Living Dead weekend event.
Read about the Evans City Cemetery – used in the Night of the Living Dead movie.
Salem Witch Museum, Salem Massachusetts
When you visit Salem, you probably are going to immerse yourself in the Witch lore and history for which the town is known. In 1692, hysteria struck in Salem Massachusetts and surrounding areas. The result was the infamous Salem Witch Trials, where many people were accused, tried, and convicted of being witches and put to death. The Salem Witch Museum is full of dioramas depicting various scenes of events that took place during the hysteria. The dioramas in this museum are a little weird and odd-looking. Still, it is a very informative museum depicting a horrible event in American history – based on fear, hysteria, and scapegoating.
Read more about planning a visit to Salem, by reading our 48-Hour itinerary.
Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick, Cleveland, Ohio
A visit to Cleveland conjures up thoughts of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame sporting events, fantastic art, or excellent craft beer. However, there is a bewitching museum you will want to check out if you are curious about witchcraft, magic, and the occult. The Buckland is one of Cleveland’s weird(est) museums, with a collection of artefacts dedicated to the dark arts. Raymond Buckland began collecting items relating to Wicca, witchcraft, and magic in the 1960s and displayed in this weird museum in Cleveland. The most popular exhibit is the Demon in a box.
International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine
Cryptozoology is the study of or the search for, creatures whose existence is unproven. There are many tales around the world of mysterious beings lurking in the shadows. It may be a lake monster, a large-footed hominid, or some other creature whose existence is the stuff of legend. If you are on the hunt for Bigfoot; in search of a Yeti; looking for the Loch Ness Monster, there is one museum you need to visit. The Cryptozoology Museum has it all. Here, you can find information on every cryptid you may have heard of, and some you haven’t. They have a wide range of scientific specimens, documents, studies, and videos. They also have collections of items relating to cryptozoology in pop culture, including Gremlins.
The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, Portland, Oregon
If you are looking for a weird museum, then plan a trip to Portland. The Peculiarium is probably one of the strangest museums we have ever seen. There is no real way to describe it and do it justice. It is a collection of exhibits of unexplained phenomenon, cryptozoology, strange art, alien autopsy, horror, and so much more. This collection of oddities is a part art exhibit, part Ripley’s believe it or not, and a part haunted house. Overall, it is 100% amazingly freaky-but-true.
The Shag Harbour Incident: Shag Harbour NS
Recently, Roguetrippers visited another weird museum dedicated to a UFO crash site. This one located in the small coastal town of Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. In 1967 there were reports of a large unidentified flying object crashed into the waters near this tiny fishing village. Nearly a dozen people claimed to have seen this occur or heard the sounds. There were search parties and investigations into the incident, but they never recovered an object from the water. However, that does not stop the townsfolk from still believing in the event. This tiny (and weird) museum is dedicated to this crash, the news around it, as well as the attention this town got as a result of possible aliens crashing in Shag Harbour. Traveller tip: Shag Harbour is not on the beaten path. It is a 3-hour drive from Halifax or a 2-hour drive from Digby.
Weird museums are everywhere, and we love them. So, whether it is the hunt for Bigfoot, UFO sightings, medical oddities, or weird museums dedicated to a strange phenomenon, Roguetrippers will find them. There are many more for us to discover. If you have suggestions, let us know.
Continue to follow along as we bring your more Offbeat Adventures for your travel inspiration.
The truth is out there.