9 strange and quirky museums around the world

From the world's biggest collection of salt and pepper shakers to monuments celebrating the humble toilet – these museums are certainly odd – but they're endearing and interesting too...

5 mins

1. Cup Noodles Museum, Japan

Cup Noodles Museum (Dreamstime)

Cup Noodles Museum (Dreamstime)




An incredibly wonderful experience. We made our own ramen, toured the museum, then designed our own cup noodles (Cameron W, Tripadvisor)

With an estimated 100 billion servings of instant noodles consumed every year internationally, this Osaka-based museum is a monument devoted to the king of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando.

Step inside the museum’s rainbow-coloured time tunnel of old noodle products, and learn how this humble home-invented 1958 product has boomed into a global sensation over the years.

Looking to get a hands-on experience? Knead, spread and steam your way through the original instant noodle Chicken Ramen recipe with the guidance of a cookery tutor. Alternatively, get creative with personalised packaging and 5,460 flavour combinations to feast on at home.

More information: cupnoodles-museum.jp

2. Museum of Toilets, New Delhi, India

People visiting the Museum of Toilets (Alamy)

People visiting the Museum of Toilets (Alamy)




This has to be one of the weirdest and most interesting museums I have ever been to (Travis S, Tripadvisor)

Roll-up, roll-up! If you find yourself caught short in the streets of India’s capital, Sulabh International Museum of Toilets has got plenty of vacant seats.

Browse the collection of several hundred toilet basins and seats that date back as far as 2500 BC, and extend to modern day electronic models from Japan, South Korea and beyond. Visitors can even find royal ‘thrones’ used by kings and emperors of the Middle Ages, as well as Queen Victoria’s highly-decorated floral basin. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, take a read of the humorous – albeit crude – jokes that are rest room appropriate.

More information: sulabhtoiletmuseum.org

3. The Museum of Drinking Water, Taiwan

Piping display at the Museum of Drinking Water (Dreamstime)

Piping display at the Museum of Drinking Water (Dreamstime)




Interesting place to see some history about Taipei’s fresh water system, a nice place to visit, not too crowded (Ken H, Google Reviews)

Hidden among a backdrop of stone Doric columns and architectural grandeur, Taiwan’s Museum of Drinking Water attracts all kinds of visitors, from newly-wed couples and film crews, to families that are making a splash in the water park that surrounds it.

The park traces the history of Taiwan’s water system, but despite its simple subject there is an abundance of activities – from the pipe sculpture area and purification plant, to its floral nursery and water pump station. You won’t be short of aquatic adventures. 

4. The Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia

Zagreb museum interior (Mare Milin)

Zagreb museum interior (Mare Milin)




It had everything. Happy stories. Weird stories. Upsetting stories. Devastating stories. What a fascinating concept for a museum (Joey613, Tripadvisor)

Croatia may boast coastal charm and incredible national parks, but its capital plays a central part in heartbreak warfare.

What appears to be a display of everyday objects transforms into a collection of captivating memories when reading the passages showcased alongside them. There’s an axe that was used to chop up an ex-partner’s belongings and a stiletto that has been kissed by a submissive – but that’s just the start…

It may sound heartless to exhibit the sentimental relics of relationships gone by, but this unique concept crossed oceans from Zagreb to Los Angeles after the second Museum of Broken Relationships opened in 2016.

More information: brokenships.com

5. Museum of Death, New Orleans, USA

Hollywood's Museum of Death (Museum of Death)

Hollywood's Museum of Death (Museum of Death)




What an interesting place to explore. We spent a couple of hours seeing everything. It is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended my gore (jthomp01, Tripadvisor)

Housing severed heads, gory photos, and the world’s largest collection of serial murder artwork, the Museum of Death isn’t for the faint-hearted. Once you’ve been lured in by the entrance’s extravagant show lights and skeletons, fate will pave your way through the maze of obscure and questionable artefacts that have been gathered over the years. Expect everything from body bags and coffin collections to human skulls and staged murder scenes.

Following the museum's initial success in Hollywood, the owners of this eerie initiative expanded to New Orleans' French Quarter. While all ages are welcome within reason that “we all die”, the exhibition is definitely aimed at adult visitors.

More information: museumofdeath.net

6. British Lawnmower Museum, UK

Ransome Spyder lawnmower (British Lawnmower Museum)

Ransome Spyder lawnmower (British Lawnmower Museum)




We both learned some amazing, weird and wonderful facts about lawnmowers. Reasonably priced and well worth a visit (Cosmicgill, Tripadvisor)

Forget classic motor collections – it’s all about racing grass cutters at Southport’s British Lawnmower Museum. Expect everything from four-wheel drives to vintage trimming machinery and even a spot of advice from garden experts on how to maintain a fresh and healthy lawn.

If there’s one reason that draws visitors from across countries, it’s to see the collection of lawnmowers once owned by the rich and famous. Esteemed donators to the museum include Alan Titchmarsh, Nicholas Parsons and even Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

More information: lawnmowerworld.co.uk

7. Derwent Pencil Museum, UK

26ft giant pencil, Derwent Pencil Museum (Maurice Oliver)

26ft giant pencil, Derwent Pencil Museum (Maurice Oliver)




The museum gives a lot of really, really good information on how the graphite was discovered, extracted, and manufactured (George M, Tripadvisor)

Get crafty in Cumbria with a visit to the home of the world’s very first manufactured pencil. What started as a discovery of graphite in Borrowdale Valley transformed lives around the world, sharpening by sharpening. Fast forward to over 200 years later and Derwent Pencil Museum stands in the same place as the original factory.

It’s a prime spot to get artistic inspiration, with its open gallery and weekly workshops for all abilities. It's impossible to miss the 26ft giant pencil that takes centre-stage, and it's worth seeking out the secret Second World War stationery and miniature sculptures too.

More information: derwentart.com

8. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, Tennessee, USA




We chuckled the entire tour – the salt and shaker sets are just amazing (Warren, Tripadvisor)

The story behind the world's only salt and pepper museum is a sweet one. Rolf and Andrea didn't have a salt and pepper shaker at home 35 years ago, so they went out to find some. Their collection started from there, and now they have 20,000 shakers of all different shapes, sizes and colours, from all around the world.

Visitors can go on a journey through time via the salt and pepper sets, from ancient shakers to the 1500s, right up until the present day. There's also a collection of around 1,500 pepper mills to see. Although it does seem a peculiar thing, it's the only place in the world people can appreciate the craftsmanship behind these object we all use in every day life. 

More information: thesaltandpeppershakermuseum.com

9. Cancún Underwater Museum, Mexico

Underwater Museum, Cancun (Shutterstock)

Underwater Museum, Cancun (Shutterstock)




Surprising sight that you have when diving. The sculptures are so realistic that I felt in the middle of living people (Miguel R, Tripadvisor)

Hold your breath for this one. Sitting on the Cancun's ocean floor is a collection of mysterious sculptures. The Underwater Museum sunk its first statues in 2009, each one made from a special material in order to perform as an artificial reef and improve ecosystems. This is art conservation!

Sculptures include a large hand titled 'Blessing', six figures sitting around a table called 'Understanding' plus a young boy standing with a football named 'Diego', all modelled from real people, creating quite an emotional viewing experience. The statues can be viewed by glass-bottom boat, snorkelling, or best of all, scuba diving.  

More information: musamexico.org

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