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Quirky museums


A museum showcases a collection of objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance. But dig a little deeper and you will realise there are museums around the globe that reflect a huge diversity of passions.

There's the traditional, such as the British Museum in London dedicated to human history and culture and the Vatican Museums featuring an immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and important masterpieces of Renaissance art.

But then there's also the downright bizarre from The SPAM® Museum in Minnesota housing 16,500 sq. ft. dedicated to canned foodstuff or the British Lawnmower Museum for the Alan Titchmarsh in you!

The Flexicover Team takes a closer look at some places that house niche exhibitions.

International Spy Museum; Washington DC, USA

Washington DC is the home to a number of museums and historically significant sites, but for something slightly different, try the International Spy Museum, the only museum in the world devoted to espionage, both historic and fictitious. There are plenty of hands-on, interactive exhibits and cool gadgets that appeal to history buffs and kids of all ages while providing a unique glimpse into the innovative world of espionage and its impact throughout history. It ecompasses the Greek and Roman empires, the British Empire, the American Civil War, both World Wars and the Cold War, as well as present day espionage including the full story behind the movie “Argo”. When you think spy you probably think James Bond. A new exhibit, “Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains”, not only includes over 100 historic and cinematic artefacts from the 23 films, but also features videos in which members of the intelligence community comment on the Bond films and share their own "Bond Moments".

Currywurst Museum; Berlin, Germany

The Germans do love their sausage and in particular’ Currywurst, their answer to our own chicken tikka masala! First concocted by Herta Heuwer in 1949 using ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder, an estimated 800 million servings of iconic take-away delicacy are sold in Germany each year. So it’s not surprising that one of the nation’s favourite dishes has its own dedicated museum. The museum offers a real sense of fun and you’re encouraged to use all of your senses: listen to the sound of sausages sizzling and visit the spice chamber sniffing stations, while ketchup-bottle shaped audio stations play songs about the Currywurst. There’s even the chance to get behind a mocked-up sausage stand so you can actually feel what it's like to serve up this much-loved snack. And perhaps best of all, a serving of Currywurst is included in the €11 entrance fee!

Trekcetera Museum; Vulcan, Alberta, Canada

When you visit Vulcan it’s hard to miss the huge replica of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek V mounted on a pedestal featuring greetings in English, Klingon and Vulcan. Contrary to popular belief the town was not named after Mr Spock’s fictitious home planet but after the Roman god of fire more than 50 years before the first episode of “Star Trek” ever aired. The town has embraced Gene Roddenberry’s legendary sci-fi franchise. Its latest attraction Trekcetera opened its doors on 2nd August 2013, a museum full of Star Trek memorabilia and artefacts including screen-used props, costumes and pre-production items utilized for the many Star Trek series and feature films. While the museum’s main focus is on Star Trek, it also features authentic costumes and props from other productions filmed in the area including the Superman franchise, Brokeback Mountain, Sherlock Holmes and Titanic. This is definitely somewhere to boldly go...

Museum of the Sewers; Paris, France

Paris is home to numerous iconic landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Sacre-Coeur Basilica -you could go on and on, But then there’s also Musée des égouts de Paris. Whilst somewhat unconventional and not the normal ‘to do’ list in Paris, this unique museum affords visitors an intriguing glimpse into the historic Parisian sewer system. If you are a fan of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, this museum is a 'must-see', as you get a sense of what Jean Valjean endured when he rescued the wounded Marius. Also, this sewer system is where French resistance fighters outfoxed the Nazis in World War II. Interestingly, the tunnels are designed parallel to the Parisian roads above and you can see the street names and house numbers written on the walls, so you're essentially exploring the city under the city. So why not take the plunge into Paris's underbelly...

Museum of Witchcraft; Boscastle, Cornwall, UK

Tucked away not far from Boscastle harbour, the museum claims to be the world's largest collection of witchcraft and the wiccan arts. The unusual exhibition was founded in 1951 - the same year in which laws against the practice of witchcraft were finally repealed in Britain - by Cecil Williamson, a man with a keen interest in the occult. He was even employed by MI6 to collect information on the occult interests of the Third Reich. Covering everything from the persecution of witches, spells and charms, religious beliefs and the dark arts of cursing, it also houses a library of over 3,000 books relating to witchcraft or the occult. This museum is important not only as a collection of witchcraft related items, but for social history looking at human nature and superstition throughout the ages. In fact it is so popular that this year it received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, thanks to its consistently positive reviews. A truly bewitching experience...

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