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18 Unusual Museums Worth Traveling For

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
Cristina Hoyos, probably the most famous flamenco dancer of all time (her image from the 1960s is often used to represent the iconic flamenco dancer, with a slicked-back raven-black chignon and a fiercely passionate demeanor), founded this museum...
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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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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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103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
These days, wandering the Lower East Side (the area between the Bowery and the East River, with Houston Street marking its northern border and Canal Street its southern one), it can feel impossible to recall that this neighborhood was once among...
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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-chōme-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
Just down the street from fashionable Omotesando is the Nezu Museum, with an exquisite Japanese garden. Architect Kengo Kuma's touches include a warm welcome with a bamboo wall at the entrance and rooms with picturesque views of the garden. The...
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R. Me. Deus 4, 1900-312 Lisboa, Portugal
Azulejos (glazed tiles) are a ubiquitous decoration throughout Portugal. They cover the facades and interiors of many houses in Lisbon, and are even used as historical markers. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo, located in a 16th-century convent,...
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Ricardo de Ferrari 692, Valparaíso, Chile
The poet Pablo Neruda redefined the city with hisOde to Valparaíso, calling it “the patched bow of a small courageous ship.” Today, visitors can tour his home, known as La Sebastiana. The building is now a museum with one of the city’s finest gift...
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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
Art patroness and businesswoman Dolores Olmedo Patiño lived at this Xochimilco area estate that became a museum in the 1990s. An impressive ode to Mexican identity, the MDO features a wowza collection of Riveras, and Kahlos, alongside...
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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
Mountain Lion. Cougar. Puma. Panther. Any way you call it, it's majestic but fear-inspiring... At the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, on the western edge of Tucson, you can get face-to-face with one of these massive felines; their well-designed...
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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...