From the mundane to the bizarre, if it exists, there is probably a museum somewhere dedicated to it. Both in the United States and abroad, people are infinitely fascinated by things, their variety, and their history.
Below are six items so arcane or lackluster that dedicating more than a moment’s thought to them—let alone a museum—is already quite the task. But in this world, is anything really shocking anymore? Some are interesting, some disturbing, and some may be considered flat-out gross, but in our human quest to satiate our curiosities, we collect, we curate, and we open the doors to anyone with similar intellectual appetites.
Strange Museums: The Paris Sewer System – Paris, France
The Paris underground has long been known for its hidden catacombs filled with skeletons and other mysteries, but what few people are aware of is that citizens and tourists have also been exploring the city’s underground sewer systems since the 1800’s. There are displays of sewage history directly within the pipes and tunnels of ‘Gay Paree’. As you can imagine, while the history visitors are presented with while traipsing about a city’s centuries-old inner workings is rich, it also stinks.
Strange Museums: The Icelandic Phallological Museum – Reykjavik, Iceland
This museum proves just how informative childhood events are of your future. Retired teacher Sigurður Hjartarson founded the Icelandic Phalloglogical Museum in 1997, citing a cattle whip made from a bull’s penis that he received as a boy as the event that sparked his interest in the sexual organ. Also known as The Penis Museum, The Icelandic Phallological Museum is a celebration of the diversity of the penis throughout the natural world.
With over 280 penises and penile parts on display, the museum is currently in search of its final capping piece, a human penis. Specimens include the phallic remains of shrews, walruses, and the unquestioned star of the show: a 6 foot long blue whale penis. Opened in 1997, this museum is ‘rising’ in popularity with thousands of tourists a year, the majority of which are women.
Strange Museums: The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices – St. Paul, Minnesota
This is actually a museum within a museum. Located within The Science Museum of Minnesota is a collection of the world’s most questionable medical contraptions, implements, and machines. Containing the personal collection of curator Bob McCoy, the museum displays a wide array of devices that at one time were thought to – or at least passed off as – having viable and valid medical uses. From machines to help you lose weight while you sit on them to an electric prod held between the legs to increase virility and cure prostate problems, every one of the devices failed to live up to their claims.