unusual museums USA

7 Unusual Museums In The United States

There’s endless famous art galleries and museums in the US, but there’s also many quirky and unusual museums too. From a tiny museum that’s actually a freight elevator to a spy museum where you’ll feel like James Bond, these places will educate you on all sorts of weird and wacky subjects.

Bookmark these weird museums for your next cross-country roadtrip and you’ll have an unforgettable time. Aliens? Bananas? Medicine? These places have it all…

Unusual Museums In The United States

1. Mmuseumm – New York

Mmuseumm is a display of artifacts housed in a freight elevator.

This tiny space (it can only fit three people!) features rotating and permanent collections, specializing in the “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored.” Past exhibitions include Personal Possessions found in the Pacific, Paper Works found in Copying Machines, and Homemade Weapons of Defense. Unusual objects in the museum in the past include the shoe thrown at George W. Bush at the Minister’s Palace in Baghdad.

2. American Sign Museum – Cincinnati, Ohio

The American Sign Museum is an ode to the art and history of commercial signs and sign making. . All sorts of signs that are brightly-lit are on display here!  Some of the most beautiful signs are those from the pre-neon era, including signs advertising haberdashers, cobblers and druggists. There’s a Main Street that’s like stepping back in time.

The Museum’s collection goes back to the 1800s. As well as learning about the history of signs, it’s the perfect photo op.

American Sign Museum Cincinnati

3. SPYSCAPE – New York

The famous Spy Museum in NYC is one of the best things to do in New York. This museum will unleash your inner spy. Learn all about espionage with stories of double agents, code breakers and social justice hackers.

You can test your own spy skills in decoding, surveillance, lie-detection and you can navigate a laser tunnel secret-agent style. James Bond fan? Discover the original “Q” who inspired the James Bond character, and see some of his rare spy gadgets. It’s fun for all the family.

Image: Scott Frances

4. Drive-Thru Museum – Seale, Alabama

This roadside stop is the world’s first drive-thru art and antiques gallery. The Drive-Thru Museum is built of stacked shipping containers, with windows cut into the sides to reveal strange objects. Quirky things you can expect to see include a collection of Bigfoot tracks and several items constructed from cow bones.

Best bit? You don’t even have to leave the driver’s seat to see it all! It’s hugely popular and people come from all over the country to visit.

Drive-Thru Museum

5. New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana

Housed in the apothecary of America’s first licensed pharmacist, the museum’s collection will teach you about the history of medicine during the 19th century. Visitors will learn about questionable medical practices, herbal medicine, bloodletting, surgery, the history of epidemics and much more! They change up the exhibitions and always have something interesting on. It’s a beautiful building, and is popular for wedding photos.

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6. International UFO Museum – Roswell, New Mexico

Interested in the supernatural? You need to visit here. This museum attracts visitors from all around the world.

Museum exhibits include information on the Roswell Incident, crop circles, UFO sightings, Area 51, ancient astronauts and abductions. The exhibits are designed not to convince anyone to believe one way or another about their subjects. Many visitors come several times and some spend days or even weeks doing research in the library. Whether you believe in aliens or not, this museum is a must-visit.

unusual museums

7. International Banana Museum – Mecca, California

Home to some 20,000 banana-themed items, this place is all about the ‘world’s most perfect fruit’.

The collection includes banana-shaped and themed items. From harmonicas and squirt guns to a “Go Bananas” slot machine and road crossing signs for banana slugs. The museum is about an hour’s drive south of Palm Springs; call ahead before driving out there. You can also enjoy delicious banana treats in the onsite cafe.

unusual museums

Want to see more odd things in the US? Here’s the strangest tourist attractions across the country.

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Sarah Clayton-Lea
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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