If, when thinking about weird artifacts in museums, you’re reminded of an old whale tooth, or maybe an uncommon gun from the 1700s, you might want to revise your definition of “weird”. You can't imagine what strange items are exhibited in some museums – many of which very few people would ever think about preserving! Let's check out a few of the most interesting ones.
1. A Slice of Route 66
The collectors of the Smithsonian have always worked hard to document every part of American culture – this is probably why they’ve also taken a sizable chunk out of the famed Route 66 and put it on display. The item features a 50-foot long piece of concrete that used to belong to the Oklahoma section of the popular road.
2. A Book Bound in Human Skin
Undoubtedly one of the strangest things in museums, a book written about pregnancy in the 1700s took a turn for the macabre in 1880, when its owner, a physician of the time, boiled a piece of skin taken from a woman’s thigh and used it to bind the book. God, this is chilling! The item is held at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
3. Interactive Asylums
A strange place you might want to think twice before entering is the Glore Psychiatric Museum in Missouri. Here you can find real life replicas of old psychiatric wards, complete with creepy mannequins and weird tools.
4. The Head Press
The Amsterdam Museum houses some of the most unusual instruments of torture. Among them is the head press – a type of machinery that provided a truly horrible death in medieval times by crushing a victim’s skull.
5. The Mechanized Monk
The mechanized monk is another one of the weirdest things in museums you can have the chance to see. Built in the 16th century in Spain, the monk is a true marvel of engineering, being able to walk, as well as move its mouth and arms.
6. Museum of Bad Art
If you’re tired of looking at pieces painted by famous artists that make you think your artistic skills are zero, take a look at the Museum of Bad Art. Here you can find examples of some of the most bizarre and downright ugly artistic pieces ever made.
7. Collections of Hair
Avanos in Turkey and the Leila’s Hair Museum have some disturbingly beautiful pieces on display… made from human hair. I'm talking about wreaths, bunches, clumps and a huge collection of hair of all colors collected from 16,000 women – these may not be everyone's idea of a cultural experience, but they are definitely worth a look.
Yes, that's right! You can actually go to a museum to see toilets – and basically everything else related to them. The Sulabh Museum in New Delhi will be proud to present you all kinds of toilets from around the world, including related paraphernalia dating back to 2500 BC!
9. Joseph Hyrtl’s Skulls
In the 1800s, anatomist Joseph Hyrtl donated 139 skulls to the Mütter Museum. The skulls are still kept for visitors to admire, and some have an intriguing background story or have belonged to people who were famous at the time.
10. The Soap Lady
The final point on my list is the Soap Lady, but it's definitely not the least interesting one. It is the unique body of a young lady exhumed in Philadelphia in 1875 which is encased in an unusual, soap-like substance called adipocere.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end without cringing, congratulations are in order! Which of these items do you think is the weirdest? Would you go to see any of them in person?