Museums that get the better out of curiosities deserve to be on every travel itinerary!
When visiting a new city, museums are one of the most accessible places to learn the nation's culture and history whilst viewing their prized possessions. From artefacts, art pieces to cultural relics, one can easily get carried away amongst exhibits and emerge with a more cultivated perspective of their new surroundings. Museums are home to almost any kind of collectible possible, which means that once in awhile, you’ll come across some of the oddest museums imaginable. Here are several strange subject matters found in museums, in different corners of the world.
Tap Water Museum, China
It’s clear to see that the Chinese are gratified with access to water supply by immortalising it at the Beijing Tap Water Museum. The museum was founded in 1908 and is located on the site of the Beijing City Water Supply Company. From the city’s first pumps to more advanced models, an impressive architectural water work structure, wells, pipes, meters and steam powers, the collection is intriguing enough to keep both curious tourists and engineering buffs pleasantly surprised throughout the tour that takes at least an hour.
Avanos Hair Museum, Turkey
What would be categorised as creepy in the normal world has been paid homage to at the Avanos Hair Museum in Cappadocia, Turkey. It all started when a local potter was gifted with a strand of a dear lady friend’s hair, which he displayed in his shop. Visitors and tourists passing through were amused by the gesture and began leaving locks of their own hair behind. By 1979, the collection was put on display, and has been acknowledged in the Guinness Book of World Records for a whopping 16,000 of hair samples. Should you like to leave a piece of your hair behind, scissors, pencils, paper and pins are offered, and who knows, your lock might win you a free stay and workshop with the master potter!
The Kunstkamera, Russia
Russia’s first museum has another feat to add to its credentials – it is also home to preserved monstrosities; ‘freaks’, mutant foetuses, deformed animals, and abnormal body parts, among other anatomical specimens. The Kunstkamera was founded by Peter the Great himself, who had a collection of curiosities – namely model ships, tools, stuffed animals and astronomical instruments, and much more – collected on his various travels. The museum was established in 1718, making it one of the oldest museums in the world, and was used as a means to educate superstitious Russians. The collection also features over a million other anthropological, archaeological and ethnographic artefacts, if ghoulish displays are not your cup of tea.
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Japan
A visit to this instant noodle haven does not require a dash of MSG for heightened taste. Momofuku Ando, who created a quick and cheap noodle meal during food shortage spells from 1948 to 1958, spurred the Japanese obsession with instant ramen. From then now, Momofuku went on to invent cup noodles and even space ramen for consumption in space! Come with a hunger for knowledge and noodles, as you’ll be led through a history of the wheat staple in Japan and a wall of every kind of ramen and flavour ever created. Visitors will also get a peep at the makeshift shed where Momofuku carried out his experiments, but the best part is the “My Cup Noodles Factory”, busy with visitors personalising their own noodles!
Museum of Enduring Beauty, Malaysia
Throughout the ages, people have gone great lengths to be beautiful, some to the point of self-mutilation. The Museum of Enduring Beauty in Malacca displays what some culture’s idea of beauty is another’s torture – visitors will get acquainted with painful depictions of beauty, from the common tattooing, tooth-filing and feet-binding, to the dangerous neck stretching with copper rings, extreme corsets, and lip-stretching. It’s an unnerving, if not, educational experience to learn the historical background of some cultures and squeeze in a closer look at these beauty practices.
International Cryptozoology Museum, United States
The fascination with unusual, mysterious creatures oftentimes continue throughout a lifetime, and if you find yourself still baffled with legendary animals like Bigfoot, lake monsters, yetis and sea serpents, tickle your curiosity at the International Cryptozoology Museum. The museum exhibits a vast collection of artefacts, specimens and replicas; from P.T. Barnum’s Feejee mermaid to an eight-and-a-half foot tall Bigfoot. The museum steers you through a fascinating scientific expedition, and you’ll step out with renewed satisfaction.
Photo credits: Tap Water Museum, Avanos Hair Museum, The Kunstkamera, Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Museum of Enduring Beauty, International Cryptozoology Museum