Mashable.com has posted a cool article about the ultimate cross-country road trip, in which you could visit 26 of the strangest museums in the U.S. I love little pieces like this because I’m always looking for new travel ideas both here and abroad. Checking out their list of choices, I recognized more than a couple along their route and that got me thinking; why not write about the ones I’ve actually visited.
Whoever compiled their list did a pretty great job; some of these museums sound like Bucket List material, while the others that I’ve visited are each truly unique and worth the drive whether you live nearby or you’re just passing through. There seems to be a museum for just about anything these days, but these locations demand a mandatory visit at some point in your life.
The Mutter Museum – Philadelphia, PA
Have you ever wondered what Albert Einstein’s brain looked like? Well they’ve got a portion of it on display at the Mutter. Billed as one of only two places in the world where you can check it out; this museum features all kinds of anatomical curiosities, including a Civil War Era amputation kit, microscopic images of dead human tissue and a collection of 139 actual human skulls that show the evolution of cranial anatomy through Europe. Fun stuff!
The Poe Museum – Richmond, VA
If you’re a fan of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, then this is the place for you. There are manuscripts, letters, all kinds of Poe memorabilia, even first editions of some of his most popular works. Immerse yourself in the world of Poe at this museum, housed in the oldest free-standing house in the city of Richmond.
The Mustard Museum – Middleton, WI
5,624 different mustards from every state and over 70 countries. A museum of mustard. Founded by guy who was so distraught over the Red Sox losing the 1986 World Series, the mustard in his local supermarket started talking to him. Next thing you know, he’s collecting them and soon enough he’s got his own museum dedicated solely to the popular condiment. Make sure you check out the mustard vending machine before you leave.
Historic Auto Attractions – Roscoe, IL
A museum of cars. Old cars, newer cars. Each exhibit has a very specific theme and some seriously cool wheels. There’s a JFK exhibit showing the cars used in the fateful motorcade on November of 1963, Gangsterland vehicles from the Roaring 20′s, old NASCAR vehicles from back in the day and movie and TV cars including a couple of Batmobiles, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and the Griswolds’ Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Among many others!
The International UFO Museum – Roswell, NM (Where else??!)
This place helps Roswell protect its reputation as Ground Zero for anything otherworldly. A museum dedicated entirely to the Roswell UFO Incident of July 1947. Visitors can guess what really happened back then, because the museum offers no solid answers. Only “evidence” to let you make up your own mind about the truth!
Museum of Western Colorado: Dinosaur Journey – Fruita, CO
Sure there are plenty of fossils and facts to check out but the real attraction here is the collection of animatronic dinosaurs. Things get pretty grisly as the dinos tear each other limb from limb, while others shamble and shake peacefully for your amazement. Jurassic Park it ain’t, but it’s certainly cool nonetheless!
The International Banana Museum – Mecca, CA
First a mustard museum, now a banana museum. This tribute to yellow kitsch houses anything and everything shaped, colored, and featuring the famous yellow fruit. You’ll be sure to see a few monkeys hanging around as well, and you be sure to have a seat at their Banana Bar to enjoy chocolate covered bananas, banana ice cream, banana shakes, even banana flavored soda.