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When we think of museums, we think of collections of priceless art or dinosaurs in natural history museums. We visit these museums (e.g., The Museum of Modern Art) as children on field trips or on family vacations. They are full of exhibits that educate as well as ignite the imagination. Where else can you see a recreation of a Neanderthal man in his habitat or a collection of Civil War rifles and uniforms? However, there are some museums on the lighter side that showcase collections of odd and unique items we would never have thought to curate. Below are some of these exceptional museums. 

National Mustard Museum — Located in Middleton, Wisconsin, this museum is all about mustard. Founder and curator Barry Levenson is such a fan of the condiment that he created a museum for it. There are over 6,000 mustards from the United States and 70 countries. And it’s not just about mustard; there are also antique tins and jars. There is no admittance fee, and the museum is open seven days a week. Donations are encouraged. 

International Spy Museum — For those who love spy movies and novels, this museum is for you. A popular attraction in Washington, D.C., this $162 million museum has the world’s most extensive collection of spy contraptions — 200 gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, and more. Listen to stories and watch videos of the famous spies as well as experience interactive exhibits and workshops. There is a fee, and you should book your tickets online well in advance of your visit. 

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum — This museum is full of ancient remedies and potions along with tools and instruments that were used to concoct the medicines. It is within the apothecary of the first licensed pharmacist, Louis J.Dufilho, Jr. He was the first to pass the exam, which was created in 1804 under the direction of Louisiana’s Governor Claiborne. You’ll find a variety of exhibits, from bloodletting to rare patent medicines. There is an admittance fee, and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday.

These are just a few of the unique museums in the United States that are a welcome complement to the formal museums. Each has characteristics that make them truly one of a kind. Also, they make a fun addition to your vacation.  

Here’s a website to find an unusual museum near you: