museum restrooms

Museum Monday: Best Museum Bathrooms

We recently celebrated the fact that two airports – Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) have restrooms in the running for this year’s America’s Best Restroom contest.

Restrooms at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) won that contest in 2016.

And over the years, restrooms in gardens, science centers, and museums have ascended to the throne in that contest. For example, the loos at Chicago’s Field Museum won the contest in 2011. And restrooms at many other museums have made the list of finalists over the years.

Perhaps inspired by the annual contest for America’s Best Restroom, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) recently did its own informal poll of favorite restrooms in museums around the country.

Here’s a sampling:

Smith College Museum of Art

Visitors to the Smith College Museum of Art in Northhampton, MA, will find washrooms that are presented as functional art.

This is Ellen Driscoll’s creation, Catching the Drift. (Photographs by Jim Gipe).

And this washroom is the creation of Sandy Skoglund and is titled Liquid Origins, Fluid Dreams.

Mariners’ Museum and Park

Eight restrooms in the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, VA feature an exhibition titled A Head of its Time, all about “the history of going at sea,”

Text panels in the museum’s loo explore topics such as why the facilities – or lack thereof – were called “the head”; the wisdom of keeping tabs on wind direction and how sailors improvised before toilet paper.

Longwood Gardens

The public restrooms at Longwood Gardens, in Kennet Square, PA, won America’s Best Restroom contest in 2014.

The 17 restrooms are part of the largest indoor “Green Wall” in North America and feature domed, naturally lit lavatory cabinets.

Read about other cool museum restrooms here.