Do you love museums?
What’s your favorite thing about them? What do you like to find?
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for weird stuff or things you’ve never seen before.
This collection of museums is kind of like that, except that they consist of things most of us have seen before, and often didn’t give much thought to.
It’s the collections of the mundane, the idea that somebody cared enough about a simple item or an idea to start collecting something we rarely think about, that makes these museums rise to visit-worthy status and gives the items in them more importance than we usually think:
5. The Mustard Museum: Middleton, Wisconsin
This is one that I’ve had on my radar for a while now.
I first heard about the museum when I would visit, and later live in, Lawrence, Kansas. There’s a brewery in Lawrence that hosts March Mustard Madness, where you can try out all kinds of mustards throughout the month.
Anyhow, they always mention The Mustard Museum, and I remember picking up a brochure.
The National Mustard Museum recently moved 18 miles from Mount Horeb to Middleton, Wisconsin, and currently has more than 5,600 jars of prepared mustard on display:
They also host an annual festival on August 5, National Mustard Day.
4. The Watering Can Museum: Giessen, Germany
It’s a friggin’ museum full of watering cans.
The museum has only been open since 2011, but they’re always adding new items to the collection, which spans the entire history of the mundane but expansively used implement.
In German, it’s called “Gießkannenmuseum.” The town is technically called “Gießen,” which literally translates to: “To water.”
3. Gnomesville: Wellington Mill, Australia
Is it really a museum, or just a bunch of gnomes?
I think the layout makes it count as a museum:
It’s clearly set out with walking paths. It counts!
And visitors are encouraged to bring gnomes to add to the collection.
2. Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum: San Francisco, California
So, maybe vibrators don’t quite qualify as mundane.
I submit that A: close enough, and B: they probably should be.
Museum Curator and Staff Sexologist Dr. Carol Queen is well versed in the history of the modern sex toy that started out as a treatment for “female hysteria.”
Queen and her trained docents give guided tours through the collection that ranges from the late 1800s up through the 1970s.
1: Umbrella Cover Museum: Portland, Maine
There’s a museum for umbrella sheaths?!
Damn right. Nancy 3. Hoffman had some umbrella covers lying in a closet, so she started a museum.
The rest is mundane history:
The museum is only open during the warmer months, but it seems to get a decent amount of visits, judging from their Facebook activity.
To me, no other museum exemplifies the celebration of the mundane quite like this one.
Perhaps that it why it’s their slogan:
You can find all of these museums and soooooo many more on the The Ultimate List of Wonderfully Specific Museums that Atlas Obscura has curated.
Check these out:
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