10 Top-of-the-Line Brand Museums

The word “museum” has its origin with the ancient Greeks, for whom a mouseion was a place of contemplation and a seat of the Muses. It’s easy to see what the Muses of modern culture are—check out our list of the most interesting museums dedicated to brand-name products.


According to General Motors, the Chevrolet Corvette is the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car. Gawk at more than 80 sports cars (displayed in “periodic settings”) at this museum—some classics, some prototypes, and even the newest model. Just cross the street and you can tour the company’s 100-million-square-foot plant.

You may want to tread lightly—in 2014, a sinkhole opened up under the museum and damaged eight of the classic cars. According to, after the disaster the museum saw their Facebook followers rise to 200,000 from 50,000 and experienced record attendance, with the posted photos of the damage becoming more popular than those of the restored Corvettes. Not one to miss out on opportunity, the museum began selling jars full of dirt and rocks from the sinkhole in their gift shop for $10 apiece, and they’ve sold thousands of the souvenirs. The infamous sinkhole has since been filled in, but you can still watch security-camera footage of the carnage on YouTube.


The famous fashion house was founded in Florence in 1921. This three-level museum not only showcases artifacts and products from the company’s history and its legacy, but also displays contemporary modern art. You’ll see jet-set luxury luggage, floral designs inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco, and bamboo-adorned handbags. You’ll learn about the history of the company’s logo and see it gracing SCUBA flippers and even a customized 1970s Gucci Cadillac.


Don’t get too excited when you read about the “Cat Toys” exhibit on view through April—it’s not what you think. But this display of toy tractors and trucks still promises fun for kids and any fan of heavy machinery.

The museum offers the chance to design your own Cat vehicle and operate simulators that give you a sense of what it’s like to use the real things. Maybe the coolest features are the movie theater inside a replica of a two-story mining truck and the chance to design your own Cat machine.


This seven-floor attraction has the “world’s largest pint glass”—a glass atrium in the shape of a giant pint of Guinness, inside which you’ll see the infamous 9000-year lease that Arthur Guinness signed on the site. If it were filled, that giant glass would hold 14.3 million pints of the stout. 

Check out the exhibit on the brewery’s advertising, learn about Mr. Arthur Guinness himself, and view the brewing process. It may go without saying, but the location also features a bar—high up on the seventh floor and with a 360-degree panoramic view of Dublin. That’s where you can drink the pint included in your admission price and enjoy some traditional Irish fare.


The Museum on Chocolate Avenue” goes into detail about five separate stages of Milton Hershey’s life and how he became a chocolate king. One exhibit demonstrates the powerful promotional strategies of the company and how it became the country’s top chocolate brand. There is an interactive factory installation where you can receive job assignments and do your part to fill customer orders as it was done in the early 20th century. And yes, of course there is a café where you can indulge in chocolate desserts. 


Ryan Quick, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This vast museum celebrates the history and legacy of the world’s favorite soda pop. Check out memorabilia dating back to the 1800s, explore an interactive exhibit all about the “secret formula,” and watch a robotic bottling line producing eight-ounce souvenir bottles of Coke. The museum owns some pieces of art by major artists who illustrated the drink, such as Andy Warhol. If you get thirsty, help yourself to a sample of different Coca-Cola products from around the world. The museum holds in its collection a 1939 Chevrolet Coke delivery truck from Buenos Aires that is so large that the attraction had to be built around the truck.


Motto: “Belching is not encouraged.” Located in an 1880s building in Waco, this museum is a privately owned non-profit that aims to educate the public about the soft-drink industry as a whole. You can also learn about the pharmacist who invented Dr Pepper in 1885 in an attempt to recreate the smell of his drug store in drink form.

Inside the building is also the W. W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute, which offers instruction on the American economic system as well as on the life philosophy and business ethics of Woodrow Wilson “Foots” Clements (who rose from delivery-truck driver to president and CEO of the Dr Pepper company). Don’t forget to pick up a classic “I’m a Pepper” T-shirt in the gift shop.


Shop in Walton’s 5 & 10—a working general store made from the original storefront, ceiling, and floor tiles that housed the humble dime store that started it all. View founder Sam Walton’s 1979 Ford pickup truck and original office. Stop for a scoop of trademark blue-and-yellow ice cream in the Spark Café Soda Fountain, a tribute to Walton’s love of the frozen treat. The quirkiest display in the museum may be the collection of items that were returned to the store, including the hand mixer that was brought back because the customer believed it to be possessed. Don’t delay your visit: On view through March 16 is a special collection of founder Sam Walton’s own baseball caps. 


This is a whole museum devoted to the creative process of Momofuko Ando, the inventor of Chicken Ramen, the world’s first instant noodle dish. The legend goes that Momofuko worked tirelessly in a tiny shed for a whole year, sleeping only four hours a night and with no days off, to come up with the meal. About a decade later, he came up with Cup Noodles, the world’s first ramen served in a cup. In 2005 he invented Space Ramen, made to be eaten in a weightless environment. Exhibits in the museum include a collection of over 3000 product packages, a recreation of Momofuko’s work shed, and an interactive factory where you can make your own dried ramen to take home.


This is the official PEZ museum and factory.  You can learn about the early history of the candy dispenser, which was initially for adults and designed to mimic cigarette lighters. Here you’ll find the World’s Largest PEZ Dispenser and a custom-made PEZ motorcycle. You can also see into the actual factory that manufactures 12 million tablets each day.


Whereas the other museums on this list are dedicated to individual brands, this one is devoted to branding in general. Founded in 1984 by consumer historian Robert Opie (also described as a “supermarket archeologist”), this collection showcases packaging and advertising for food products, cosmetics, toys, and more. There are more than 12,000 original examples, from the Victorian era up to present times. As well as offering educational talks, the museum also loans out “Creative Reminiscence Packs”—collections of vintage packages (such as the “Rationing pack” featuring items from 1940s wartime) that are meant to facilitate discussion and creativity with groups of senior citizens.

8 Allegedly Cursed Places

Some of the most picturesque spots in the world hide legends of a curse. Castles, islands, rivers, and more have supposedly suffered spooky misfortunes as the result of a muttered hex cast after a perceived slight—whether it's by a maligned monk or a mischievous pirate. Below are eight such (allegedly) unfortunate locations.


An 800-year-old ruined wall stands on the grounds of a large steelworks in Port Talbot, Wales. The wall is surrounded by a fence and held up by a number of brick buttresses—all because of an ancient curse. The story goes that when King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 16th century, one of the local Cistercian monks evicted from Margam Abbey told the new owners of the site, in a bid to protect it, that if the wall fell, the entire town would fall with it (it's unclear why he would focus on that particular part of the structure). Since then, the townsfolk have tried hard to protect the wall, even as an enormous steelworks was built around it. Rumors abound that the hex-giving monk still haunts the site in a red habit, keeping an eye on his precious wall.


Alloa tower in Scotland
HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014, Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 4.0

Alloa Tower in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, has reportedly been subject to a curse for hundreds of years. In the 16th century, the Earl of Mar is said to have destroyed the local Cambuskenneth Abbey and taken the stones to build his new palace. The Abbot of Cambuskenneth was so furious he supposedly cast a multi-part curse on the Erskine family—ominously known as “The Doom of Mar." It is said that at least part of the curse has come true over the years, including that three of the children of the Mar family would “never see the light” (three of the earl’s ancestors’ offspring were reportedly born blind). The curse also supposedly predicted that the house would burn down, which occurred in 1800. Another part of the curse: The house would lay in ruins until an ash sapling grew from its roof. Sure enough, around 1820 a sapling was seen sprouting from the roof, and since then the family curse is said to have been lifted.


In the fall of 2017, archeologists reopened an almost-4500-year-old tomb complex in Giza, Egypt, that contains the remains of hundreds of workers who built the great Pyramid of Giza. The tomb also contains the remains of the supervisor of the workers, who is believed to have added curses to the cemetery to protect it from thieves. One such curse reads: "All people who enter this tomb who will make evil against this tomb and destroy it, may the crocodile be against them in water and snakes against them on land. May the hippopotamus be against them in water, the scorpion against them on land." The complex is now open to the public—who may or may not want to take their chances.


A chateau just north of the French Riviera may sound like a delightful place to be, but amid the ruins of the Chateau de Rocca-Sparviera—the Castle of the Sparrow-Hawk—lies a disturbing legend. The tale centers around a medieval French queen named Jeanne, who supposedly fled to the castle after her husband was killed. She arrived with two young sons and a monk known to enjoy his drink. One Christmas, she went into the village to hear a midnight mass, and when she returned, she found that the monk had killed her sons in a drunken rage. (In another version of the story, she was served a banquet of her own children, which she unknowingly ate.) According to legend, Jeanne then cursed the castle, saying a bird would never sing nearby. To this day, some travelers report that the ruins are surrounded by an eerie silence.


Stopped off at a small uninhabited island that, according to Thai mythology, is cursed by the god Tarutao. If anyone dared to even take one pebble off this island they would be forever cursed! 😈 I heard from a local that every year the National Park office receive many stones back via mail from people who want to lift the curse! I was never much of a stone collector anyway... ☻☹☻☹☻ #thailand #kohlanta #kohlipe #kohhingham #islandhopping #islandlife #beachlife #pebbles #beach #speedboat #travelgram #instatraveling #wanderlust #exploringtheglobe #exploretocreate #traveleverywhere #aroundtheworld #exploringtheglobe #travelawesome #wanderer #earth_escape #natgeotravel #serialtraveler #awesomesauce #picoftheday #photooftheday #potd

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The tiny uninhabited island of Koh Hingham, off the coast of Thailand, is blessed with a covering of precious black stones. The stones are not precious because they contain anything valuable in a monetary sense, but because according to Thai mythology the god Tarutao made them so. Tarutao is said to have invoked a curse upon anyone who takes a stone off the island. As a result, every year the national park office that manages the island receives packages from all over the world, sent by tourists returning the stones and attempting to rid themselves of bad luck.


The "cursed" PH stones of St. Andrews University
Nuwandalice, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The initials PH are paved into the ground outside St. Salvator’s Chapel at St. Andrews University in Scotland. They mark the spot where 24-year-old preacher and faculty member Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake for heresy in 1528—an early trigger of the Scottish Reformation. The location is therefore supposed to be cursed, and it is said that any student who stands on the initials is doomed to fail their exams. As a result of this superstition, after graduation day many students purposefully go back to stand on the spot now that all danger of failure has passed.


Charles Island, Connecticut
Michael Shaheen, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Charles Island lies off the coast of Milford, Connecticut, and is accessible from the mainland via a sandbar when the tide is low. Today it's home to a peaceful nature reserve for local birds, but its long history supposedly includes three curses. The first is said to have been cast in 1639 by the chief of the Paugussett tribe, after the nation was driven off the land by settlers—the chief supposedly cursed any building erected on the land. The second was supposedly laid in 1699 when the pirate Captain William Kidd stopped by the island to bury his booty and protected it with a curse. Shortly afterward, Kidd was caught and executed for his crimes—taking the location of his treasure to his grave.

The third curse is said to have come all the way from Mexico. In 1525, Mexican emperor Guatimozin was tortured by Spaniards hoping to locate Aztec treasure, but he refused to give up its whereabouts. In 1721, a group of sailors from Connecticut supposedly stumbled across the Aztec loot hidden in a cave in Mexico. After an unfortunate journey home in which disaster after disaster slowly depleted the crew, the sole surviving sailor reportedly landed on Charles Island, where he buried the cursed treasure in the hope of negating its hex.


A house in Bodie, California
Jim Bahn, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Bodie, in California's Sierra Nevadas, sprang up as a result of the gold rush. The town boomed in the late 19th century, with a population nearing 10,000 people. But as the gold seams ran dry, Bodie began a slow and steady decline, hastened by a series of devastating fires. By the 1950s, the place had become a ghost town, and in 1962 it was designated a State Historic Park, with the the buildings kept in a state of “arrested decay." Bodie's sad history has encouraged rumors of a curse, and many visitors to the site who have picked up an abandoned souvenir have reportedly been dogged with bad luck. So much so, the Bodie museum displays numerous letters from tourists who have sent back pilfered booty in the hope of breaking their run of ill fortune.

But the curse didn't start with prospectors or spooked visitors. The rumor apparently originated from rangers at the park, who hoped that the story would prevent visitors from continuing to steal items. In one sense the story worked, since many people are now too scared to pocket artifacts from the site; in another, the rangers have just succeeded in increasing their workload, as they now receive letter after letter expressing regret for taking an item and reporting on the bad luck it caused—further reinforcing the idea of the Bodie curse.

Billions of Cockroaches Are Bred in China to Create a ‘Healing Potion’

Insectophobes would probably agree that any place that breeds billions of cockroaches a year is akin to hell on Earth.

That place actually exists—in the Sichuan Province city of Xichang—but China's government says it's all for a good cause. The indoor farm is tasked with breeding 6 billion creepy-crawlies a year to meet the country's demand for a special "healing potion" whose main ingredient is ground-up roaches.

While there are other cockroach breeding facilities in China that serve the same purpose, the one in Xichang is the world's largest, with a building "the size of two sports fields," according to the South China Morning Post.

The facility is reportedly dark, humid, and fully sealed, with cockroaches given the freedom to roam and reproduce as they please. If, for any odd reason, someone should want to visit the facility, they'd have to swap out their day clothes for a sanitized suit to avoid bringing pollutants or pathogens into the environment, according to Guangming Daily, a government newspaper.

The newspaper article contains a strangely poetic description of the cockroach farm:

"There were very few human beings in the facility. Hold your breath and (you) only hear a rustling sound. Whenever flashlights swept, the cockroaches fled. Wherever the beam landed, there was a sound like wind blowing through leaves. It was just like standing in the depths of a bamboo forest in late autumn."

Less poetic, though, is the description of how the "miracle" potion is made. Once the bugs reach maturity, they are fed into machines and ground up into a cockroach paste. The potion claims to work wonders for stomach pain and gastric ailments, and according to its packaging, it has a "slightly sweet" taste and a "slightly fishy smell."

The provincial government claims that the potion has healed more than 40 million patients, and that the Xichang farm is selling its product to more than 4000 hospitals throughout China. While this may seem slightly off-putting, cockroaches have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Some studies seem to support the potential nutritional benefit of cockroaches. The BBC reported on the discovery that cockroaches produce their own antibiotics, prompting scientists to question whether they could be used in drugs to help eliminate bacterial infections such as E. coli and MRSA.

In 2016, scientists in Bangalore, India, discovered that the guts of one particular species of cockroach contain milk protein crystals that appear to be nutritious, TIME reports. They said the milk crystal could potentially be used as a protein supplement for human consumption, as it packs more than three times the energy of dairy milk.

"I could see them in protein drinks," Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist who led the study, told The Washington Post.

However, as research has been limited, it's unlikely that Americans will start to see cockroach smoothies at their local juice bar anytime soon.

[h/t South China Morning Post]


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