Tortue museum

7 Weird museums around the globe

The list of the world’s most weird and strange extends to include museums around the globe that have become tourist attractions noted for the bizarre collections housed within their walls. If ever you’re in one of the destinations listed below and find yourself wanting a taste of something different, a visit to one of these weird museums will definitely provide something out of the ordinary.

Dog Collar Museum – Leeds, UK

Leeds Castle, stretching across 500 acres of land, showcases a ‘unique collection of historic and fascinating dog collars’. The collection, which has more than 100 dog collars and other related items, tells a canine cuff tale which spans five centuries. Visitors can marvel at hunting dogs’ strong collars to 21st-century fashion bling collars. Also exhibited at the castle is a more conventional display of Henry VIII memorabilia.

The Museum of Bad Art – Boston, USA

The Museum of Bad Art is the only museum in the world devoted to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. The museum has in its collection over 400 of terrible art pieces. Only 40 pieces can be exhibited at a time due to space constrictions. Specific themes on display include ‘blue people’, ‘poor traits’ and ‘unlikely landscapes, seascapes and still lifes’. Art pieces depict conflicting colours, disproportionate figures and a general lack of talent that do not fail to amuse visitors to the museum.

Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments – Prague, Czech Republic

Ever wondered how confessions were extracted in the Middle Ages? The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments has on display more than 60 torture devices used to forcibly gain confessions from alleged heretics; one such instrument is the Head Crusher. Also on hand are tutorials which helpfully explain how each device is used.

Leila’s Hair Museum – Missouri, USA

The strange artifacts found in Leila’s Hair Museum consist of human hair. Wreaths, bracelets, pictures and other fascinating objects d’art have been fashioned out of beards, fringes and other human hair cut offs. More than 2 000 items are exhibited.

Parasite Museum – Tokyo, Japan

Where would you find 300 different varieties of parasites all in one place? The parasite museum in Tokyo, founded by four scientists specialising in parasites, also doubles as a research facility. Pride of place is given to a 30 foot tapeworm that was pulled out of a woman.

Museum of Funeral Carriages – Barcelona, Spain

Macabre it may be but the Museum of Funeral Carriages is a top attraction for visitors to Barcelona. Anyone wanting to have a look at 18th century flamboyant funeral carriages need to first report to the Municipal’s Funeral Services. They will then be directed to the basement by a security guard where the exhibition is under lock and key.

Currywurst Museum – Berlin, Germany

The city of Berlin boasts plenty of world class attractions. The existence of the Currywurst museum, in all its ketchup red splendor, may raise a few eyebrows but the currywurst is the national favourite dish in Germany. Learn all there is to know about this spicy sausage delight, experience a sensory explosion or be a pretend cart owner behind a mock currywurst stand.

Robben Island

4 must-see museums in South Africa

It is a sad state of affairs when museums – the unsung keepers of a country’s history and heritage – are relegated to only being good enough for a school outing. Museums contribute a more important function to society. They can be seen as centres of learning, documenting the humble beginnings of an area to celebrating proud human achievements; and often showcase natural and geological treasures as well as man-made accomplishments.

South Africa has such a rich history with such a joyous conglomeration of cultures that it has been rightfully dubbed ‘the Rainbow Nation’. The choice of museums in South Africa is wide and varied from museums heralding history to those celebrating cultures to themed museums such as the Apartheid museum South African Breweries museum and the James Hall Transport Museum. Some notable museums that should be visited at least once include:

The National Cultural History Museum
Located in the city of Pretoria, the National Cultural History museum showcases the multicultural diversity of South Africa; housing both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Visitors can expect to see displays of San rock paintings and engravings, Iron Age figurines dated a thousand years old from Schroda in Limpopo. The in house Art gallery offers an overview of the cosmopolitan culture of South Africa through the exhibiting cultural objects, sculpture and paintings.

Museum Africa
Housed in the cosmopolitan soul of the Johannesburg CBD, Museum Africa is a highly popular attraction for local and foreign visitors. The vast array of exciting exhibitions held in this museum grabs the immediate attention of the visitor. One can expect to engage with the history of civilization in the area traversing the Stone Age through to modern day. Extensive collections highlighting geology, anthropology and archaeology contribute to the main attractions.

Robben Island Museum
The value of the Robben Island Museum to South Africa’s and world history is such that it has earned the status of being a World Heritage Site. This museum represents a reminder of what price South Africa paid for democracy and freedom. Once used as a place of banishment and imprisonment, it serves as a reminder of justice and human rights. The island is also famed for its flora and fauna and conservation efforts.

The Cradle of humankind
Gauteng’s only proffering South Africa’s eight dedicated World Heritage Sites and key international tourist attraction is the world renowned Cradle of Humankind. Experience the birthplace of humankind at Maropeng, the exhibition centre focusing on the development of human civilization over the past few million years. The Sterkfontein Caves also earns its reputation for the many fossil treasures discovered here and for its contribution to the global academic world of paleoanthropology.

Museums are a great resource to learning and appreciating the people and events that shape the course of history of a society.