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Offbeat Museums in America

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The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

Museums are important cultural institutions. They preserve our heritage, educate the public, celebrate the past and look to the future. Our society would be poorer without them. Which of course is why someone thought to create a museum devoted to vacuums.

Say what?

Okay, actually, there’s more than one vacuum cleaner museum in America. The odd corners and weird fringes of our culture deserve attention and preservation nearly as much as rare fossils and priceless works of art. Right? Check out our list of offbeat museums and learn where to go to turn your next vacation into something really memorable.

Vacuum Cleaner Museum
St. James, MO
This small, rural town is also home to a vacuum cleaner factory, which naturally led to a museum. As they say, “while it might seem like a stretch to some that there could be an entire museum about vacuum cleaners, try to remember the last time you DIDN’T have a vacuum cleaner in your home.” Good point. If you’re planning a visit, it doesn’t hurt that the rest of the town looks like Mayberry.

Triangle Tattoo & Museum
Ft. Bragg, CA
Tattooing is an ancient art and this museum is a fascinating look at tattooing in ancient cultures, the tools used and the development of modern tattoos. And hey, they have a working tattoo parlor, so get some ink while you’re there.

National Museum of Roller Skating
Lincoln, NE
Someone really needs to bring back the gas powered roller skate. It could revolutionize the car-less commute. Or, you could just visit a museum where “you can experience the evolution of roller skate wheels, view a selection of nineteenth-century roller skate patents, and watch highlights of roller skating competitions.” And yes, they have that gas powered skate.

National Mustard Museum
Middletown, WI
This museum is home to “more than 5,000 jars, bottles, and tubes from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. The Museum also is home to hundreds of items of great mustard historical importance, including mustard pots and vintage mustard advertisements.” Yes, really, great historical importance…

The Hammer Museum
Haines, AK
Forget gold rush musuems, Alaska is home to a museum holding over 1,500 hammers.

Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum
Leavenworth, WA
You wouldn’t believe all the ways there are to crack nuts.

Lunchbox Museum
Columbus, Georgia
Thousands of metal lunch boxes, thermoses, TV trays… now I’m all nostalgic for the Scooby Doo lunch box of my childhood.

Devil’s Rope Museum
McLean, TX
That’s barbed wire for you city folks. And because it’s Texas, it’s THE LARGEST BARBED WIRE HISTORIC MUSEUM IN THE WORLD!

International UFO Museum and Research Center
Roswell, NM
Go ahead and snicker, you never know… Admission is cheap, and it is Roswell after all.

And because this is America, consider this a Part One exploration of offbeat museums. There are many more to explore. Many, many more…