Nature and science museums make up some of the most prestigious collections in the world. From San Francisco’s Exploratorium and the Science Museum in London to the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Field Museum in Chicago, there are plenty to choose from. But there are a ton of lesser-known, quirky and odd museums that pack a punch. Here are four of the best and funkiest museums not focused on nature and science:
Idaho Potato Museum
In a place known for its potatoes, it’d be a shame if Idaho didn’t have a potato museum. Luckily, it does. Located in Blackfoot, Idaho, the potato museum holds the world’s largest potato chip, measuring in at 25 inches by 14 inches. There’s a timeline of the history of potato consumption in the U.S. In fact, the introduction of fries to the White House menu was selected way back during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Peruvian-made 1,600-year-old vessels believed to be the first containers to be used specifically for potato storage are also on display, along with a hall of fame.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, Japan, is dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, as well as the company’s creator and founder Momofuku Ando. Admission is free, and you’ll see more ramen than you could even imagine in one place. There is even a noodle factory where visitors can assemble their own personal cup.
Museum of Bad Art
With “art too bad to be ignored,” the Museum of Bad Art, with multiple locations around eastern Massachusetts, is a privately-owned museum featuring the work of artists “whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” It’s so bad that it’s good. Or maybe not. In any case, a famous piece of theirs, Lucy in the Field With Flowers, was acquired from the trash in Boston. Others were donated by the artist or perhaps by a relative. The museum has spurned a trend in other areas, and it’s sometimes described as “anti-art.” However, the owners dispute that, saying the collection is a tribute to the sincerity of the artists who persevered despite something going wrong in the process.
Cancun Underwater Museum
Devoted to art conservation, the Cancun Underwater Museum features 500 underwater sculptures, mostly by the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, but also by local Mexican artists. Known as MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), the project demonstrates the interaction between art and environmental science. They have three different galleries submerged 3-6 meters deep in the ocean at Cancun National Marine Park. The objective of the museum, opened in 2010, was to save nearby coral reefs by providing an alternative destination for divers. The statues also have holes in them, allowing marine life to colonize and feed off of the coral growing at the site.