The world’s weirdest museums

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More than 100 mummies are on display in the Museum of Mummies in Mexico. (PHOTO: Russ Bowling)
More than 100 mummies are on display in the Museum of Mummies in Mexico. (PHOTO: Russ Bowling)


Museum of Mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico
This macabre museum has more than 100 mummified corpses, from infants to adults, on display. In the 19th century, hundreds of people were buried in the Santa Paula cemetery in the tiny mining town of Guanajuato but because their families couldn’t pay the town’s grave tax, the bodies were exhumed – and it was discovered that the corpses had become mummified through natural processes linked to the area’s unique climate. News of the mummies spread like wildfire and it was later decided to put the corpses on display in the museum, which opened in 1969.Today the museum remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Museums, food, world
The mummied corpse of cannibal of Si Ouey can be viewed at the Siriraj Medical Museum in Thailand. (PHOTO: Bobby CC)

The US National Museum of Funeral History in Texas, documents the history of the work of undertakers as well as different funeral rituals and techniques from around the world.

The Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok, Thailand is definitely not a destination for sensitive tourists. Its halls resemble scenes from a bloody horror movie, with displays of severed and maimed limbs, lungs slashed with deep by knife cuts and skulls penetrated by bullets. The main attraction is the mummified corpse of gardener Si Ouey, a notorious cannibal who killed several children.

Avanos Hair Museum, Turkey
In 1979, when Turkish potter Chez Galip had to say goodbye to a dear friend who was moving house, the woman cut a lock from her hair for her sad pal to remember her by. Later, several other women who heard the sad story also sent Chez locks of their hair, which are now on display in the underground cave he uses as his studio. Now, locks of hair from about 16 000 women, who sent their hair to him over the past 40 years, dangle from the ceiling in the studio – each with a tag bearing its owner’s name and address.

Museums, food, world
The Avanos Hair Museum in Turkey has the locks of 16 000 women on display. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

READ MORE | This Centurion man fondly known as Oupa Coke has an impressive Coca-Cola collection 


CupNoodles Museum, Japan
Noodles are big in Japan and it’s where Momofuku Ando created the world’s first instant noodles – chicken-flavoured ramen noodles – in 1958. So little wonder the island nation is home to this unique museum, which opened in 1999.The museum documents Ando’s influential creation, and the evolution of instant noodles. There are packets of instant noodles from all over the world on display, and visitors can sample Japan’s best instant ramen and about 800 types of instant noodles that aren’t readily available. Visitors can even design their own instant-noodle packet at the museum. It must be the dream of many a famished university student to try out all the flavours.

Museums, food, world
The CupNoodles Museum in Osaka, Japan documents the history of instant noodles. (PHOTO: Wikipedia)

Many people who collect salt and pepper cellars and in 2002, Andrea Ludden’s obsession with the containers culminated in the The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Tennessee, USA. Andrea’s museum has more than 22 000 salt and pepper sets of every imaginable shape and size, from chickens to cats to feet and a pair modelled after the Mona Lisa. Visitors can buy duplicates of them in the museum’s gift shop.

Museums, food, world
in The Salt&Pepper Shaker Museum you'll find condiment containers in every shape imaginable. (PHOTO: FACEBOOK - Salt and Pepper shaker Museum)

The European Bread Museum in Germany brings together more than 18 000 items, including ancient artefacts from bakeries dating to the Stone Age.

Avery Island in Louisiana, USA is home to the Tabasco Brand Factory Tour & Museum. It was here that the beloved hot sauce was created, and where it has been produced for the past 153 years. Visitors are treated to a tour of the factory before being invited to taste the sauce.

READ MORE | See this Cape Town man’s incredible collection of 1 500 Barbie dolls worth R1,5 million


Torture Museum, Netherlands
This museum documents the history of torture and execution. An interrogation chair embedded with nails, and executioners’ swords, is among more than 40 devices employed for the interrogation of crime suspects, witches and political prisoners. The museum supports the UN’s convention against torture, and visitors are informed about modern-day torture practices in more than 100 countries.


Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia
Singer Whitney Houston wondered, “Where do broken hearts go?” and while they might not end up here, items linked to their sad states are housed here. The museum, which opened in 2006, displays items from failed romantic relationships, including shoes, wedding gowns and even a prosthetic leg, with a note from the jilted lover on the significance of that item.

Museums, food, world
The Museum of Broken Relationships displays intimate souvenirs of failed love. (PHOTO: Paul Prescott)

In 2002, the Museum of Sex opened in New York, documenting the evolution of human sexuality. With its collection of historical sex toys, a “jumping castle of breasts” and vintage nude photography, the museum has definitely raised the eyebrows. 

READ MORE | This North West woman loves dolls so much she opened a ‘hospital’ to fix broken ones


Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, India
This museum may look like the shop floor of a plumbing warehouse, but it also includes golden toilets coveted by Roman emperors and thrones from bygone eras. It chronicles the history of hygiene and sanitation from 2500 BC to the present. And what would a public toilet be without graffiti on the walls? This museum also boasts a collection of rare toilet poems.

Museums, food, world
Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh Toilet Museum, with a replica of French king Louis XIV’s throne. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

The National Poo Museum on the Isle of Wright, England was opened in 2016 to break the taboo around bowel movements, by sharing all the fascinating facts on the subject. The displays cover human, animal and even fossilised excrement that’s millions of years old. The museum is hoping to receive donations from well-known personalities for future displays.


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