18 Unusual Museums Worth Traveling For
Collected by Bryan Kitch , AFAR Contributor
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.
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...
Somerset House, 150 Strand, London WC2R 0RN, UK
Tucked away inside the large space of Somerset House, this small gallery leaves a large impression. It houses the collection of the Courtald Institute of Art, a stunning set of early 20th-century art with a focus on French Impressionist and...
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,...
1 Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
Originally built as an arts and culture “palace” for the 1904 World’s Fair, the Saint Louis Art Museum is now home to approximately 34,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of history and culture. On display are works by Henri...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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