[image via Flickr]
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
While Washington DC’s Smithsonian takes the credit for being the world’s largest museum complex, the single largest collection has to go to St Petersburg’s State Hermitage. Containing more than three million works of art and artefacts, it would take over five years to see everything the Hermitage has to offer if you dwelt for just one minute at each exhibit.
World’s Smallest Museum, Superior, Arizona, USA
At the opposite end of the spectrum to The Hermitage falls Arizona’s self-proclaimed ‘World’s Smallest Museum’. Housing a collection of ‘Artefacts of Everyday Life’ in a 134 square foot (41 square metres), roadside shed along route US 60, marvel at hot water bottles, frying pans and irons from days gone by.
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, Japan
Although originally a Chinese noodle dish, served in a broth, Japan is the undisputed home of Ramen, with every locality producing its own variation. So ubiquitous is its popularity that it perhaps comes as no surprise that Yokohama has its very own Ramen museum, celebrating every stage in the development in this super-noodle from early rollers to the Pot Noodle. There’s even a replica on show of the first ever ramen dish eaten by Mito Komon, a 17th century Samurai.
Hair Museum, Avanos, Turkey
It’s not every museum that asks you to become part of the exhibition when you visit, but then Chez Galip’s Hair Museum in Avanos is far from being just any museum. Since 1979, Galip has been collecting locks of hair from visitors to his cavernous, pottery workshop and displaying them with the names and addresses of their donors. He now has so many hanging in this Cappadocian cave that Galip has been immortalised in the Guinness Book of Records, with over 16,000 samples at the last count.
It would take over five years to see everything the Hermitage has to offer if you dwelt for just one minute at each exhibit.
Louvre, Paris, France
In 2009 more than 8.5 million people visited Paris’ premier palace of culture making it, by some distance, the most attended museum in the world. Other top five contenders include The British Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, London’s Tate Modern and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Museum of Bad Art, Dedham, MA, USA
With so many international galleries and museums dedicated to the preservation of great art, it is something of a relief to discover that truly dreadful work also has its place in the cultural pantheon.MoBA is the very antithesis of High Culture. Housed in the basement of the Dedham Community theatre (conveniently close to the gentleman’s bathroom) this refreshing collection gives hope to every aspiring artist who ever suffered self-doubt.
Lunch Box Museum, Columbus, Georgia, USA
For serious lunch box enthusiasts, (‘Boxers’ or ‘Paileontologists’ as they are known in the trade) these pieces of playground ephemera are big business, with examples selling for up to $14000 at auction. Thisremarkable collection of pristine pails, ranging from Superman to The Simpsons, is the life’s work of Allen Woodall, a Georgia native with a taste for the obscure.
Museum of Bread Culture, Ulm, Germany
This unique museum, dedicated to the 6,000-year history of bread bills itself as “an indispensable record of human culture and civilisation”. Comprising over 18,000 objects, from archival documents to artworks, the only thing you won’t find on show is an actual loaf. According to the museum founders, bread is a food. Not an artefact.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England
Set genteelly among Oxford’s dreaming spires lies one of the most peculiar collections of global oddities we have ever seen. Founded in 1884 after Lieutenant General, Pitt Rivers, an influential adventurer and archaeologist, donated his collection, acquired over a lifetime of travel, to the University. Among the bewildering clutter of exhibits, find shrunken heads, fierce Japanese Noh masks and totem poles to name but a few.
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