6 Bizarre Museums You Can Visit From The Comfort Of Your Desk

1. The Toaster Museum

You don't know toasters. What you're picturing in your head when you hear the word "toaster" could not possibly encompass the infinite variety and curiosity of the subject. Jens Veerbeck, a media designer and purveyor of a gorgeously accessible web museum, does know toasters. And he wants to show us how exciting the design history is of the machine that makes the most boring food on earth. He says it best himself: "The design of each single toaster is like a small window to the design trend of the corresponding decade and country. The variety of designs is unbelievable: There are Art Deco and Art Nouveau toasters, raw or crazy technical constructions, streamlined toasters from the '50s, and porcelain pieces matching to the flower patterns of contemporary dinnerware." And we thought they just toasted bread.

2. The Museum of Menstruation

Half the earth's population menstruates for several decades of their lives. But do you know what a lady used for those particular hygienic needs in, say, 1700? Back before women even wore undies? That's a great question. And up until recently, you could spend hours in libraries and probably never find an answer. It just wasn't the sort of thing that got written down.

But the Museum of Menstruation (The MuM) has tracked down multiple answers to those questions, and many more. But they don't just cover the fascinating, deeply shushed history of The Curse of Eve. The site keeps up to date on women's health issues, reproduction issues, and a surprising amount of news about menstruation. They also have a collection of some of the funniest retro magazine ads on the web. Trying to advertise your menstrual product without ever acknowledging menstruation exists was a fascinating challenge faced by advertisers of old. And that's just a portion of the information The MuM has to offer.

3. The Moist Towelette Museum

Sometimes it's not the depth of knowledge to be gained that draws you to an online museum. It's the curious thrill you feel to find out such a museum even exists. And not just exists, but is so hardily overwhelmed with interest and donations that the curator, in this case a Mr. John French, can't keep up with them all.

4. The Big Ashtray Museum

There is a two-fold intrigue to this online museum. One, the materials used to create ashtrays, heat resistant and moldable, readily lend themselves to incredible works of art. And second, it's one of the few non-electric objects of our time that we're getting to watch, firsthand, fade into history. Ashtrays are falling hard, from "one in every room in America" to display cases in museums. The Big Ashtray Museum displays a truly breathtaking array of a dying art form spanning the globe and history, as well as showcasing forgotten designs, some so unique you'd be hard pressed to identify them as ashtrays.

5. The Online Paper Airplane Museum

The Online Paper Airplane Museum doesn't just show you photographs of the outstanding marriage of engineering and delicacy that is the paper airplane (though they do have hundreds of images). It also provides directions and links for the construction of hundreds of unique planes. They are rated by difficulty level, meaning you can start with the simple Jet airplane we all flew in third grade, and work your way up to a level 5 Achi Val. Whether your passion is aviation history, design, or paper-craft, the Online Paper Airplane Museum has something for you.

6. The Opium Museum

The history of opium is one of trade, war, changing cultures, and astounding artwork. The online Opium Museum takes you from the pre-Communist days of open opium indulgence in China up to the day it became a controlled substance in America. In between are rarely seen photographs and surprisingly beautiful artifacts of the opium culture.

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Pop Culture
Stanley Kubrick Photography Exhibition Opening at the Museum of the City of New York
Evening Standard/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Stanley Kubrick will forever be known as one of the most important film directors of the 20th century, but he started his career in the 1940s as a photojournalist for Look magazine. Now, the Museum of the City of New York will host a photographic exhibition of Kubrick’s early work, featuring 120 pictures from his time as a staff photographer at Look from 1945 to 1950.

Much of Kubrick’s work at the time revolved around daily life in New York City—the clubs, the commutes, and the sports. Some of his most notable pieces while at Look were his photo features on boxers Rocky Graziano and Walter Cartier, the latter of which became the subject of Kubrick’s first film, a 1951 documentary called Day of the Fight.

“Turning his camera on his native city, Kubrick found inspiration in New York's characters and settings, sometimes glamorous, sometimes gritty,” the museum wrote in a press release. “He produced work that was far ahead of his time and focused on themes that would inspire him through his creative life. Most importantly, his photography laid the technical and aesthetic foundations for his cinematography: he learned through the camera's lens to be an acute observer of human interactions and to tell stories through images in dynamic narrative sequences.”

Titled "Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs," the exhibition will detail the different themes that inspired Kubrick’s work, as well as guide patrons through his Look tenure, including both published and unpublished work. One of the exhibit’s goals is to provide an “examination of the direct connection between Kubrick the photographer and Kubrick the director.”

"Through a Different Lens" runs from Thursday, May 3 through October 28, 2018 at the Museum of the City of New York.

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Pop Culture
Mr. Rogers’s Sweater and Shoes Are on Display at the Heinz History Center
Family Communications Inc./Getty Images
Family Communications Inc./Getty Images

To celebrate what would have been Fred Rogers’s 90th birthday on March 20, the Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh has added two new, iconic pieces to its already extensive Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood display: his trademark sweater and shoes.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rogers's green cardigan and blue Sperry shoes are now part of the fourth-floor display at the History Center, where they join other items from the show like McFeely’s “Speedy Delivery” tricycle, the Great Oak Tree, and King Friday XIII’s castle.

The sweater and shoe combo has been in the museum’s storage area, but with Rogers’s 90th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on deck for 2018, this was the perfect time to let the public enjoy the show's legendary props.

Fred Rogers was a mainstay in the Pittsburgh/Latrobe, Pennsylvania area, and there are numerous buildings and programs named after him, including the Fred Rogers Center and exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

If you’re in the area and want to take a look at Heinz History’s tribute to Mr. Rogers, the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

[h/t Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]


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