Museum Monday: hair, cockroaches, plumbing and more

Thousands of museums in the United States document important events and valuable objects.

But if it’s the funny and offbeat you’re after, hightail it to the Plumbing Museum, the Pencil Sharpener Museum and these other offbeat and somewhat off-kilter places I profiled in a recent slide-show story titled Bizarre Museums for Bing Travel.

Here’s a sampling:

Established to celebrate “the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum,” the three galleries operated by the Museum of Bad Art in the Boston area celebrate paintings that have “gone horribly awry in either concept or execution.” Rescued from trash heaps, yard sales, thrift stores and attics, the collection now includes more than 600 works of art, all of them bad — but in a good way.

Whether it’s a good hair day or a bad one, Leila Cohoon is happy to weave stories about the history of hair and take visitors through Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Mo. The carefully coiffed collection includes locks snipped from the manes of celebrities, 400 framed Victorian hair wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of antique brooches, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry made entirely with, or containing, human hair.

Located, appropriately enough, in Watertown, Mass., the Plumbing Museum’s collection snakes back to the 18th century and includes antique sinks, toilets, water closets and bathtubs as well as historic tools of the trade. If you’re curious about water mains, overflows and septic tanks, this museum devoted to piping technology through the ages will help flush out the answers.

When he’s not out removing unwanted critters from private homes, pest-control expert Michael Bohdan is tending to his Cockroach Hall of Fame and Museum in Plano, Texas. The museum features live insects, such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and more than two dozen costumed and preserved cockroaches, including the bejeweled, piano-playing Liberoachi and the sexy Marilyn Monroach.

Get the picture? There are 14 offbeat museums featured in the Bing Travel story, Bizarre Museums.
I’ll let you contemplate these a while and post a few more tomorrow.

Have I missed your favorite offbeat museum? Drop a note in the comment section below and perhaps your recommendation will be featured on a future edition of’s Museum Monday.

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2 thoughts on “Museum Monday: hair, cockroaches, plumbing and more

  1. Harriet Baskas says:

    Yes, Marilyn Monroach IS a little scary. The curator told me he’s working on a dancing Ellen DeGeneroach…

  2. That cockroach doll really frightens me. I used to live right near Plano, but I didn’t know about this gem of a museum.

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