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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Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
The 'David Bowie Is' Exhibition Is Coming to Your Smartphone
 Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images
Ralph Gatti, AFP/Getty Images

"David Bowie is," an exhibition dedicated to the life, work, and legacy of the pop icon, concluded its six-year world tour on July 15. If you didn't get a chance to see it in person at its final stop at New York City's Brooklyn Museum, you can still experience the exhibit at home. As engadget reports, the artifacts displayed in the collection will be recreated in virtual and augmented reality.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, the curator of the exhibit, and the David Bowie Archive are collaborating with Sony Music Entertainment and the sound and media studio Planeta on the new project, "David Bowie is Virtual." Like the physical exhibition, the digital experience will integrate visual scenes with the music of David Bowie: 3D scans will bring the musician's costumes and personal items into the virtual sphere, allowing viewers to examine them up close, and possibly in the case of the outfits, try them on.

"These new digital versions of ‘David Bowie is’ will add unprecedented depth and intimacy to the exhibition experience, allowing the viewer to engage with the work of one of the world’s most popular and influential artists as never before," the announcement of the project reads. "Both the visual richness of this show and the visionary nature of Bowie and his art makes this a particularly ideal candidate for a VR/AR adaptation."

"David Bowie is Virtual" will be released for smartphones and all major VR and AR platforms sometimes this fall. Like the museum exhibition, it will come with an admission price, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.

[h/t engadget]

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Your New York City Library Card Now Gets You Free Admission to 33 Museums and Cultural Sites
iStock
iStock

Your New York City library card is good for more than checking out books and downloading music. Starting this summer, your card will get you free admission to 33 cultural institutions around the city, The New York Times reports.

New York's public library system is rolling out its Culture Pass program in an effort to make the city's world-renowned museums and cultural centers more accessible to residents. As long as you have a card from the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, or the Queens Library systems, you can visit Culturepass.nyc and use your card number to reserve a ticket. Participating organizations include the the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Wave Hill, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum.

Some of the locations on the list are already free without the suggested donation, but others can get pricey. The Museum of Modern Art, for example, costs $25 for adults. Using Culture Pass does come with a few catches: Passes are limited, so if you wait until the last minute you may not be able to reserve one for your preferred day. Cardholders also can only use Culture Pass once per year at each institution, but depending on where they go they can make the most of it: At some organizations like the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a pass is good for entry for up to four guests.

New York isn't the only area that offers free museum tickets to anyone with a library card. Members of public library systems in SeattleNew Jersey, and Los Angeles County, and kids in Chicago, can take advantage of similar programs. And even if your library card can't get you into cultural institutions, it can likely get you other perks you may not be aware of.

[h/t The New York Times]

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