When the topic is museum, our mind instantly thinks galleries with million dollar art, staid security guards on hand to quite the crowds, and an aura of bygone history. But do you know how far people have taken this education to. Imagine the most random or crazy thing by your side and there would be a museum built for it, unless obviously you can trace history. Break up – yes, toilet – yes, penis – ahem indeed.
So forget regular history and art museums and pay a visit to these unique museums in India and abroad that celebrate unusual subjects.
Human Brain Museum, Bengaluru
Imagine walking down a gloomy corridor with human brains on both sides. Yes, that’s exactly what you’ll feel like when you visit the Human Brain Museum housed in the basement of NIMHANS in Bengaluru. This slight gory museum has over 300 brain specimen preserved in jar. And each brain has its own tale to tell. You even get to hold a real brain when the tour ends.
Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
This Croatian museum is tracing the history of love gone wrong. It can feel your pain, the pain of a broken relationship. Founded by artists Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic in order to heal from their own emotional misadventures, each subject at the museum is followed by a story of its own. While some are funny, a few are sarcastic and the rest are just plain heartbreaking.
Losel Doll Museums, Dharamsala
Dolls are like us and yet they aren’t and that is exactly what makes them creepy. And if you’re a fan of all things spooky, there’s a whole museum for you out there. Nestles in the lush greens of Dharamsala, the museum is filled with wire, clay and papier mache dolls dressed in traditional Tibetan costumes. As if all this wasn’t enough, the dolls are also adorned with jewellery.
Icelandic Phallological Museum, Iceland
When the world is obsessed with the male sex organ, it is no wonder that there is a whole museum dedicated to display its wonders. On a more serious note, it’s not really about phallic wonders but is probably the only museum in the world to possess the largest collection of phallic specimens. Admire the collection of 280 penises, from the tiniest of that of a hamster (2 mm) to the gigantic phallus of a sperm whale (1.7 meters).
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, Delhi
Toilets and their history often don’t make to our topics of discussion, but if you’re fascinated by a good flush, Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Delhi is perfect for you. With exhibits dating back to 3000 BC, the museum has a fascinating collection of chamber pots, Victorian toilet seats and even toilets made of gold that were once used by Roman Emperors. It’s clearly a staple on the list of unusual museums around the world.
Museum of Enduring Beauty, Melaka, Malaysia
They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but what do you say about the extremities that people have done over time to feel pretty and different? Visit the Museum of Enduring Beauty in Malaysia and it will mess your ideas of beauty. From elongating necks with metal rings to putting discs in lips and bounding feet with tiny wooden shoes, you’ll see it all here.
RBI Monetary Museum, Mumbai
Have you ever wondered that the 1 rupee coin that you hand over with nonchalance has a story to tell? Well, many such tales are found in the RBI Monetary Museum in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. From cowry shells and beads to engraved coins from various historic points and empires, a huge collection of coins are exhibited at this well-documented and security-conscious museum.
British Lawnmower Museum, Southport, England
Yes, the swanky Brits are just capable of building a museum for the humble lawnmowers. From royal lawnmowers belonging to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, to the world’s most exotic and expensive ones, the museum allows everyone to at least talk up appearances if not keep one. Well, now we know even lawnmowers can chart social history as any other.
Pakhauti Muktangan, Raipur
A very indigenous name that literally translates to ‘free and open courtyard of our ancestors’; this museum-cum-park brings together the native ethos of Chhattisgarh with modern design sensibilities. Filled with murals of award-winning artists, iron gates those tell long forgotten tales and gardens adorned by tribal art installation, Pakhauti Muktangan beautifully combines the past and present in one place.
Museum of Bad Art, Massachusetts, USA
Yes, that’s right! That’s a catastrophic version of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Ain’t it profound? And this is just one among the 500 horrid canvases hanging in the Museum of Bad Art. The idea behind this museum is to collect art that is ‘too bad to be ignored’. And BTW, if you think you can beat this terrible display with one of your masterpieces, the museum is open to donation. Just ensure it’s downright BAD!