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18 Unusual Museums Worth Traveling For

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These museums each have powerful, distinct, and sometimes niche cultural significance. While not all off the beaten path, each offers a unique window into wider intellectual, artistic, and historical landscapes. Get below the surface.
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Calle Manuel Rojas Marcos, 3, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
My favorite museum in Seville is the Flamenco Museum. It has a fascinating history of flamenco dancing in southern Spain and there a terrific series of short films showing the different styles of flamenco. There are also romantic old posters of...
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99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, USA
The Cloisters, a museum devoted to medieval art and architecture, is a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of NYC. This tranquil treasure is definitely worth a half day (or more) trip on your next visit. A branch of the Metropolitan...
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Via Paolo Ferrari, Modena MO, Italy
Now there is a new reason to visit Modena, the mother city of supercars in northern Italy. An inspiring museum for Enzo Ferrari has just opened. Enzo Ferrari was an Italian icon, a real genius that created the absolute myth in Formula 1 and the...
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508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
At the Seattle Pinball Museum, everything may be behind glass, but nothing is hands-off! The owners have a rotating collection of pinball machines, usually about 30 at a time, ranging from old-timey wooden boxes to modern games with tons of bells...
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685 Changjiang W Rd, Baoshan Qu, Shanghai Shi, China
The Shanghai Museum of Glass, housed in a former glassmaking factory, features ancient artifacts such as blown-glass hairpins from the Song Dynasty as well as modern glass sculptures by Chinese and international artists, many of them American....
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1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225, USA
The American Sign museum is a must for anyone interested in the art and design of advertising. Having recently heard about an independent film on sign painting, this museum piqued my interest—as handmade signs age, it's phenomenal the way that...
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103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
A must visit, must do for any visitor or resident of NYC. Not your typical museum experience, the Tenement Museum walks you through history and explores subject such as immigration, discrimination, housing and the history of the neighborhood...
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6011, New Zealand
The Te Papa museum combines New Zealand’s dramatic history with its high-tech present. Don’t miss the traditional greenstone and wood carvings or the 60-foot wall of constantly changing images, videos, and words manipulated by...
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6 Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
The museum was built to house the private collection of a railroad company mogul. Works by the Buddhist artist Ogata Korin are on display in April and May. —Kashiwa Sato  Read more about Kashiwa Sato’s Higashi neighborhood of...
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Somerset House, 150 Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK
Art lovers in London should not miss the Courtauld Gallery. Housing one of the best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works outside of France, this museum features pivotal works by Manet and Van Gogh. The pastel walls, detailed...
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R. Me. Deus 4, 1900-312 Lisboa, Portugal
The Tile Museum was a must-see for me while in Lisbon. It's in a convent, which makes it a beautiful setting. I loved the tile work and the chapel. It was one of my favorite places to visit.
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1 Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the most attractive and interesting art museums in the country—inside and out. Best of all, admission is free every day. Located inside beautiful Forest Park (which offers a host of its own free activities...
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Ricardo de Ferrari 692, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
We can all remember how much fun it was to ride escalators as a kid. We'd try to go up the 'down' one and down the 'up' one, until our parents told us to stop (and then we'd do it all over again when they weren't looking, but I digress.) In the...
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If you go to Cappadocia, Turkey, the Göreme Open Air Museum is worth a visit. The museum is a collection of cave churches carved out by Orthodox monks from about 900 AD to 1200 AD. The monks really went all out to try and make the cave churches...
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Av Mexico 5843, La Noria, 16030 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Mexico City has a colorful legacy of art and architecture. Today, museum buildings are often impressive landmarks on their own. Here's a place where art and design align. Dolores Olmedo first modeled for artist Diego Rivera when she was 20. At her...
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Rue Assouel, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
At Ben Youssef Medersa, a 16th-century Koranic boarding school turned museum, visitors can see colorful mosaic zellij tiles and intricate stucco carvings inscribed with Muslim invocations. —Jennye Garibaldi
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2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, USA
Southern Arizona is one of the world's birdwatching meccas, and the hummingbird aviary of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum just west of Tucson is amazing in the spring. My in-laws, my wife and I spent the better part of an afternoon marveling at...
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2, 54 Pearl St, New York, NY 10004, USA
Want to eat where a historic event of the American Revolution took place? Try Fraunces Tavern in downtown New York City. After defeating the British, it was here that George Washington gathered his officers for a farewell speech before heading...