By the word ‘Museum’, we mean a building which houses and exhibits a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance. However, there are certain museums, which focus on the more exotic aspects of the world and may be considered as bizarre, offbeat or outrageous.
Plastinarium, Guben, Germany
Located in the city of Guben in Germany, Plastinarium is the home of the morbid art of corpse plastination, open for the visitors to view the stomach-churning process. The process involves removing the water from a corpse’s dead tissue and replacing it with synthetic polymers that preserve the bodies in perpetuity as items of curiosity. Usually, it is done after the removal of the skin from the body and the separation of their component organs.
The institute displays preserved bodies in creative positions to showcase the intricacies of the human form. The Institution allows the visitors to walk through the steps of the gruesome process, as they tour the actual lab where the preservation is taking place.
Torture Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Torture Museum in Amsterdam takes the visitors back to the days of Europe’s dark history, when torture and execution were commonplace. The museum has a wide and a very extensive collection of implements of torture, like the spike-covered inquisition chair, the heretic fork, hanging cages, Catherin Wheels, the Guillotine, the skull cracker, Scold’s bridle and different types of masks. Apart from that, its collection also includes some lesser known objects like the thumb screws and the flute of shame. Once all those horrid devices were used indiscriminately throughout Europe on the suspected criminals, witches, and political prisoners to extract confessions or to make them talk.
Icelandic Phallological Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland
Considered as the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’, the small and magical island of Iceland has a strange museum in its capital city, Reykjavik. Known as the Icelandic Phallological Museum, it houses a collection of more than two hundred and fifteen penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found on the island. It has fifty six specimens belonging to seventeen different kinds of whale, thirty-six specimens belonging to seven different kinds of walrus and seal, one specimen taken from a rogue polar bear and one hundred and fifteen specimens originating from twenty different kinds of land mammal.
Apart from that, the museum is fortunate enough to receive legally-certified gift tokens for four specimens belonging to Homo sapiens. The fantastic collection of penises ranges from the 67 inches (170 cm) front tip of a blue whale to the 2 mm (0.08 in) baculum, a bone found in the penis of a hamster, a type of rodent, which can only be seen with a magnifying glass. There are some interesting items in the museum, which include lampshades made out of bull testicles, a tree trunk carved to look like a phallus and an unusually big penis bone from a Canadian walrus.
Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico
Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA), founded in 2009, was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, including one just off the coast of the famous island, Isla Mujeres. The three different galleries, containing the sculptures are submerged between three and six meters deep in the ocean. It contains around 500 permanent life-sized and monumental sculptures occupying an area of over 420 sq m of barren substrate and weighing in at over 200 tons. The sculptures are fixed to the seabed and are made of marine clay, a special material that promotes growth of algae and coral. Apart from snorkeling, visitors may also take the tour in the glass bottom boats and enjoy the submerged beauty of the ‘Silent Evolution’, a huge crowd of people, ‘Inertia’. a fat man sitting on a couch in front of the TV and other colossal sculptures.
Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
The Museum of Broken Relationships, located in the beautiful baroque Kulmer Palace in the historic Upper Town of Zagreb, Croatia, offers an emotional journey around the world through hundreds of breakups. When the Croatian film producer Olinka Vistina, and sculptor Drazen Grubisic separated, their reluctance to part with the sentimental reminders of their lost love inspired them to open the Museum of Broken Relationships, so that, at least the items, attached to their emotion, could remain together. Dedicated to failed love relationships, the museum exhibits personal objects left over from the former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions. The exhibits include an axe that was used to chop up an ex-partner’s belongings and a stiletto that has been kissed by a submissive.
The Mummy Museum, Guanajuato, Mexico
The Mummy Museum, locally known as Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, is located in the city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. The museum has the chilling attraction of more than one hundred mummies that were formed naturally in the local cemetery. The mummies were once residents of Guanajuato, probably from 1850 to 1950.The range of collection includes the smallest mummy in the world, a fetus and several mummies of children and men and women of all ages.
From 1865 to 1958, the town of Guanajuato imposed grave tax and in case of default for three years in a row, the graves were subjected to excavation for reuse. In all probability, due to the extremely dry conditions of the soil, the corpses in the cemetery of Guanajuato often came up as well-preserved mummies and were placed in the cemetery's ossuary building. Gradually, as the news spread, people began to visit the mummies and as the mummies gained popularity, a museum was set up near the cemetery for the mummies to be exhibited to the general public.
However, as the mummies were formed naturally, the mummies in the museum look more gruesome than their Egyptian counterparts. With gaunt and twisted faces, often covered in the tattered rags, the lean and reclined mummies stand in the glass cases throughout the museum. Perhaps the most shocking sights are the mummies of the pregnant women and the shrunken children.