In the old school, there was bad art and good art. Today, though, you’ll find several museums showcasing some of the oddest collections ever created. You’d begin to wonder if the categories “bad” and “good” still fit them. If the aesthetic ladder of contemporary art is way over your head, don’t shrug off these oddball museums just yet. They still make for an interesting quirky trip across town. Some of them might just hit your sweet spot.
Bunny Museum, Pasadena California
Unless the killer rabbit in Monty Python gave you endless nightmares, this museum should be a harmless, rather wholesome trip. It’s still going to be strange seeing 23,000 bunnies, in total, but it’s not going to shatter your sensibilities. You’ll find a wide (and that is an understatement) collection of ceramic bunnies, plush bunnies, stuffed bunnies, plastic bunnies and more.
What’s even stranger is that the museum owners Steve Lubanski and Candace Franzee set up camp in the building. This museum with literally thousands of bunnies is also their home. According to the owners, it took a total of fifteen years to complete the collection. The Pasadena property was originally just their family’s home, but they invited bunny collectors to showcase bunny paraphernalia here, too.
Hopping into the bandwagon, you’ll see Elvis “Parsley” which is a water pitcher shaped into a bunny dressed as the King of Rock and Roll. However, the most eye-catching (and weirdest) bunny collection in the property is probably “The Garden of Broken Dreams”. This is a graveyard of damaged bunny crafts which plants damaged bunnies “to grow again”. Like any collector, the owners see their bunny collection as family and can’t bear to throw broken bunnies away.
Shinyokohama Raumen Museum, Yokohama, Japan
Since 1958, when instant noodles were introduced to the market, ramen has been a staple food in all of Japan. It’s no wonder that Japan now has over 200,000 ramen restaurants to feed the country’s hungry citizens. The ramen’s popularity doesn’t end there, though. They also have a museum paying homage to the prolific noodle. The Shinyokohama Raumen Museum has three floors which showcases the dish’s numerous variations.
The two underground levels of the Shinyokohama is a reconstruction of the Shitamachi neighborhood in 1958. There are eight restaurants here which are not just put up for viewing purposes. You can also get to sample “versions” of the classic noodle dish. It’s always best for you to get smaller portions so you can try out more flavors.
Before leaving, make sure that you drop by the souvenir shop first so you can pick up the museum’s own rendition—the chocolate ramen.
Museum of Toilets, India
Who would have thought that toilets could be considered artifacts? Apparently, this new collection shows that some toilets were preserved from as far back as 2500 B.C. More than just an oddball collection, it showcases actual relics which might say something about humanity’s hygiene culture. Dr. Bindeswar, the museum owner, certainly considers this more than just a laughing matter. He wishes to address present health issues connected to poor plumbing, particularly those present in India. A small trivia, though. Have you ever wondered why the can is also nicknamed “the throne”? Just look for the multifunctional throne in the collection which used to belong to King Louise XIII. This was used during open court sessions, and is a clear proof that the king was never a modest man.
Museum of Bad Art, Dedham, Massachusetts
What do you do with a museum that declares its collection “bad”? While other museums are forever defending the value of their artifacts and paintings, the Museum of Bad Art in Dedham happily conquers the niche. Here, you’ll find the worst (and proudest) paintings across America. The acronymic similarity of the MOBA with the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York is no accident, either.
The museum owners are obviously out to make a statement. It starts with showing the worst of art to as many people as possible. It has now procured about 400 art pieces, and most of them were salvaged from the trash. And just to show that it’s serious about making the right impression, it’s located outside the men’s room of the Dedham Community Center.
The most recognizable piece among the lot is The Athlete. This is a drawing made from just crayons and pencil showing an Olympian wearing a pink toga and throwing a discus. On a less wholesome light, you’ll also see a series of paintings of a young woman. She stares blankly at the audience as she holds a severed, bloodless head of a horse.
Sewer Museum, Paris
When you think about Paris, you usually imagine romantic honeymoon spots, the Eifel Tower, anything that spells “quaintness” and “charm”. However, Paris is also home to odd artifact collections. These include the Sewer Museum which lies in the city’s underbelly itself. The first sewerage of Paris was built in 1200 A.D. because King Philippe Auguste ruled that the streets should all be paved.
To meet the city’s needs, they also had to create a drainage system in the middle for waste to pass through. Today, about 1,300 miles of the sewage system lies under Paris. Travelers are invited to explore the tunnels using the sidewalks created along the system. Locals also say that the stench isn’t so bed in certain times of the year. Just watch out for the wagon vanne when you’re underground. This keeps the connections free from “debris”.
Leila’s Hair Museum, Missouri
If you’ve spent most of your life styling hair, you’d probably have a generous collection of hair art as well. No? Well, celebrated hairstylist Leila Cohoon did this, and she now has quite a collection of artifacts and artworks made from real hair. These range from wreaths to jewelry and portraits. The collection started as a hobby. Cohoon discovered she can be quite good at restoring hair art as well.
Later on, she made artworks of her own from hair donated by Hollywood celebrities. Among the most treasured in the collection are the strands of Marilyn Monroe’s hair and a woven wreathe which is made from hair donated by Phyllis Diller.