Some people prefer to get their kicks examining examples of 18th-century cross-stitching, while others enjoy an afternoon mooch around glass cabinets filled with handwritten train timetables. When it comes to museums, it really is each to their own, and for every niche interest you can almost guarantee there’s a bizarre collection somewhere dedicated to its honour.
1. Bad Art, US
One of the most random has to be the tremendously popular Museum of Bad Art in Somerville, Massachusetts. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder here, as the museum’s exhibitions include only the most eye-wateringly fugly, painfully misjudged or just plain strange samples of artistic endeavour.
Among the highlights, or lowlights depending on your perspective, are some real howlers. There’s a barber’s chair beneath floating scissors, which seeks to capture the fear of a bad haircut. There’s also a very angry elderly lady (or gent, it’s tough to tell) skipping through a field of daisies.
The museum certainly lives up to its slogan: “Art too bad to be ignored.” It was established in 1994 by antiques dealer Scott Wilson, who kept finding hideous pieces in rubbish tips and started putting them up in his own home for his friends’ entertainment.
There are about 600 pieces in the museum’s stores, although only 50-70 are displayed at a time due to space limitations. And they won’t take any old piece of junk either – potential additions are regularly turned down for not being ugly enough.
Become transfixed for a couple of hours and even try your hand at some art criticism – you won’t be short of inspiration and the museum offers a monthly prize for the best interpretation of a piece. Admission is worth every penny – it’s free.
2. Instant Ramen, Japan
Ah, that most riveting of subjects: freeze-dried noodles. We could talk about it all day, couldn’t you? In Japan’s Instant Ramen Museum, you can learn about the history of the delicacy and their invention in 1958.
The museum’s top attractions include a noodle cup theatre shaped like a Styrofoam holder, and the chance to make your very own chicken noodles to take home for tea. Can you contain your excitement?
3. Witchcraft Museum, UK
Never mind the beaches, there’s nothing like spending a sunny afternoon in Cornwall perusing instruments of torture once used to interrogate suspected sorcerers.
The first incarnation of the museum opened in 1951, coinciding with the repeal of the Witchcraft Act. Wildly unpopular with local residents in the Isle of Man, it was forced to relocate before settling in its current location of Boscastle. Admission is £5.
4. Currywurst, Germany
Go crazy for the Berlin speciality at the Currywurst Museum where you will find out everything you ever wanted to know about the spicy sausage but were afraid to ask. You can also sit on a sausage sofa, oversized ketchup drops and gigantic fries, or sample the sausage in a number of varieties.
If you’re feeling really wild, why not also pretend you’re the owner of a snack bar yourself, and pose for photos behind the counter? What a hoot, eh? Admission £9.50.
Forgive the pun, but you’d have to be barking mad not to visit the Dog Collar Museum in Kent.
Housed in Leeds Castle, you can see 500 years’ worth of stylish doggy neck wear. There are over 100 collars here to see, some of which once belonged to great hunting hounds of the past and other more modern examples of 21st-century canine couture.
Admission to Leeds Castle is £21 for unlimited admission for a year (one-off tickets not available).
Photos: Getty; WikiCommons