Unusual Museums of the World (Part 1)
If you like to do something different while on your travels, don’t just take in the usual sights and sites. There are many alternatives awaiting you in Goway’s world of travel, including unusual museums of the world.
The Old Ghan Heritage Railway Museum, Alice Springs
The luxury Ghan train today runs through Central Australia between Darwin and Adelaide, with a stop in Alice Springs. It was named after Afghan camel drivers who had contributed to the development of communication and transport links in inland Australia. The Old Ghan Heritage Railway Museum is housed in a 1930s-style railway station and the exhibits include restored locomotives and carriages, a collection of photographs and a miniature railway which runs around the museum.
The National Dollhouse Gallery, Melbourne
The National Dollhouse Gallery in Melbourne houses the largest private collection of old dollhouses, dioramas, figurines, and miniature furniture, ranging from the 1800s to the present day. Many of the items have been hand-made by very talented miniaturists throughout Australia as well as locally. Dollhouses and dolls are available for purchase.
The Old Umbrella Shop, Launceston, Tasmania
Perhaps not a museum as such but definitely worth investigating on Australia vacations. Built in the 1860s, this unique shop is the last genuine period store in Tasmania and has been operated by the same family since the turn of the 20th century. Umbrellas spanning the last 100 years are on display, and modern “brollies” and souvenirs are for sale.
The Museum of Fire, Perth, Western Australia
This museum in Perth has the world’s largest and most unique collections of fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia. These include fire engines ranging from hand-drawn, horse-drawn, and motorized vehicles from the late 18th century to the 1980s. You can also see uniforms, fire fighting tools, and a children’s section with a play area and interactive computer games.
Clapham’s Clock Museum, Whangarei
Situated in New Zealand’s most northerly city, the Clapham’s Clock Museum is home to around 1,500 clocks and timepieces and is the largest collection of clocks in the Southern Hemisphere. It provides a walk through the history of time. The clocks on display range from ancient sun, sand, and water clocks to rare antique clocks and weird and strange clocks. How strange? From clocks that go backwards to antique French dancing girl clocks, and even clocks that make tea!
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka
This museum is dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, plus its creator and founder, Momofuku Ando. It is an interactive educational museum about instant noodles and is practically a historical monument to Japan’s food culture. Momofuku Ando believed that, “The power of creation is a human being’s greatest asset; invention and discovery are what changed history.” He invented instant noodles!
The Hall of Clocks and Watches in the Forbidden City, Beijing
Right in the heart of the Forbidden City, aka the Imperial Palace in Beijing, is an excellent collection of around 200 timepieces from the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world. These clocks and watches were mostly made in Switzerland, England, France, and Japan as gifts to the emperors, with some Chinese made timepieces on display as well. They display various styles and exquisite workmanship and their artistic value makes them very precious.
China Honey Bee Museum, Beijing
China Honey Bee Museum is located in the picturesque Beijing Botanical Gardens and pays homage to these tiny, but extremely useful pollinators. There is a total of 600 bee specimens and there is also a bee-keeping exhibition for anyone who has been thinking about taking it up as a hobby or just wants to learn more about where honey comes from. You can taste many different types of honey here.
The Beijing Diabolo Museum
A diabolo is a Chinese yoyo. This yoyo is shaped like a dumbbell which is spun and tossed on a piece of string tied between two bamboo sticks. The museum has about 400 yoyos and you can watch tricks being performed by experts. There is the opportunity to make your own yoyo with one of the experts.
The Batcat Museum, Bangkok
This is the largest toy museum in Thailand and will thrill memorabilia collectors and fans of the TV series, Batman. There are 50,000 toys, magazines, games, costumes, all to do with Batman, including high-tec Batmobiles, also Superman, and others. There is an exhibition of famous comic book characters with life-size models. A smaller section is dedicated to Star Wars, Spiderman, and computer graphics from movies such as Pixar: Monsters Inc., Robots, Small Soldiers, and Toy Story.
The House of Museums, Bangkok
This is a fun museum. None of the objects on display has any historical significance. It is a private collection in Bangkok of thousands of daily objects and goods dating from the 1960s onwards. There is a toy room which could bring back happy memories of your own childhood. There is a dentist room which may not. Other exhibits include an old-fashioned pharmacy, candies, radios, TVs, a movie theatre showing Charlie Chaplin, a hairdressing salon, plus much more.
The International Dolls Museum, Delhi
This collection consists of dolls collected from European countries such as UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, Africa, India, and other Asian countries. The main part of the exhibition is 150 types of Indian costume dolls made by local craftsmen. Other exhibits include replicas of the Queen of England’s doll collection, Samurai dolls from Japan, and Flamenco dancers from Spain. Each doll is handcrafted after meticulous research into the physical attributes, dress, and jewellery of individual characters. The museum also runs a “clinic” for “sick” dolls, where rare deteriorating dolls are restored.
Cat Museum, Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo
Kuching in Malay means “cat”, so naturally, the city has a cat museum. Everything and anything to do with this animal can be found here. The Cat Museum is filled with articles, paintings, posters, toys, and figurines of cats. There are four galleries containing over 4,000 artifacts relating to these felines. Exhibits include a mummified cat from ancient Egypt, a gallery of feline-related advertising, movies featuring cats, and the five species of wild cats found in Borneo. Cat lovers will love this cat museum.
We live in a sometimes difficult world. Isn’t it nice to know that we can escape while learning and enjoying something unusual and often fun? There are many other unusual museums around the world which fall into the same category, and perhaps, on your travels, you may come across them.