There’s a Museum for That

My wife and I recently traveled to upstate New York. Along the way we decided to visit a few museums. First we stopped at the Jell-O Gallery Museum because there is always room for a Jell-O tour in your itinerary. At the gallery we were given a guided tour through Jell-O history. Although I am a history buff, this tested my limits. However, I did learn that the dessert’s main ingredient is gelatin which is made by boiling the connective tissue, bones and skin from cows and pigs. Yummy. It’s surprising that there is an entire museum dedicated to this one jiggly dessert. But there is. My wife had been wanting to go there thinking there would be free Jell-O shots at the end, while I had been hoping there would be a room dedicated to female Jell-O wrestling which is a real thing. No luck on either count. Despite these shortcomings, it is a pretty cool place.


Not part of the museum, just messing with you.

We then stopped at a number of other museums that she choose and that I tolerated. It wasn’t a total bust for me though as we also went to the National Baseball Hall of Fame which is wonderful.

When we returned home I started researching museums. It turns out that there are 35,000 museums in the U.S. There is one for just about everything you could imagine. There are museums for art, for history and for sports. America has a myriad of children’s museums too. We have museums dedicated to things we want to remember, such as: lunch boxes (GA), Dr. Seuss (MA) and The Alamo (TX). We also have museums for things that most of us would rather forget, such as: Spam (MN), the Dukes of Hazard (TN) and kazoos (SC). Then there are museums for just plain ordinary stuff, such as: umbrella covers (ME), cleaning supplies (ID), vacuum cleaners (MO), salt (KS), vinegar (SD), barbed wire (TX) and yo-yos (WI).

Tragically, the Museum of Bathroom Tissue in Wisconsin and the Hollywood Erotic Museum in California have both closed due to a lack of business. I understand why the bathroom tissue museum was wiped off the map but I think it would be hard to pass up a visit to a museum of erotica. Thank God that Harry Mahoney’s Erotic Heritage Museum is still around. It is in Las Vegas and, not surprisingly, it’s right across from Trump Tower. The museum features exhibits such as: Sex in the Third Reich, Catherine the Great and the history of the peep show. It also has the world’s largest erotic bicycle and an auto-erotic chair. Great for perverts and history buffs. Note, It’s for adults only and is one you probably wouldn’t want to take your mother to. I’ll probably skip this one because some of the reviews said it was educational and not trashy. What’s the fun in that?

Another curious gallery was the Frog Fantasies Museum and Gift Shop in Arkansas. It houses a collection of frog stuff in “every shape, size and color and material imaginable.” Unfortunately it has closed. However, since we’re talking fantasies, Arkansas still has Miss Laura’s Social Club which is a former bordello that has been restored to its original glamour. And the tickets are free. They’re probably the only thing that’s ever been given away for free there.

Another intriguing place to visit is the Accomac Debtor’s Prison in Virginia. The jail was built in 1783 and has since been converted into a museum. However, you can’t just show up. You can only get in if you have an appointment or you fall way behind on your mortgage. Just kidding. They don’t throw people in jail anymore for not paying their debts. If they did we would need a lot more jails.

Then there is the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Texas. In researching this museum, I happily noted that they have inducted Gorilla Monsoon into the hall of fame. It is alleged that Gorilla was from Manchuria where he had roamed the countryside with a band of gypsies. It was also said that Mr. Monsoon wrestled bears, ate raw meat and drank the blood of his victims. The 6’7” giant was actually from Rochester, N.Y. but that isn’t half as interesting. Anyway he was a great wrestler and very deserving of the honor. However, my favorite wrestler, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, who used to cut his defeated opponent’s hair with garden shears or an electric razor, has not yet been inducted which is an outrage. Another favorite of mine, the 663 lb. behemoth, Haystack Calhoun, has also been slighted. I refuse to visit this establishment until these oversights are rectified or they add a female Jell-O wrestling exhibit.


He’s still cutting.

Another strange place to visit is the National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame in Ohio (I told you there is a museum for everything). It was established to “preserve and promote the rich and intriguing history of the barbering profession”. They have on display shaving mugs, colorful barber poles, awesome barber tools and, of course, barber chairs from throughout the ages. As their website says, you can “travel back in time and see barbering history unfold before your eyes”. I’m not actually going to go as I don’t want to be reminded of my hair loss, though I did download their nomination form. I plan to nominate Edward Scissorhands, Floyd Lawson (the barber from the Andy Griffith show) and of course, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. I’m determined to get Mr. Beefcake inducted into a hall of fame somewhere.

And then there are the institutions dedicated to clowns. There is the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center (WI), the American Clown Museum and School (FL) and the Klown Doll Museum (NE). Their attendance must have dropped off dramatically given all of the recent clown threats and sightings that are sweeping the country. It seems that Americans have decided that, for the most part, clowns aren’t funny they’re just creepy.

There are a lot of unusual museums in this country, like the ones mentioned above, there are also many other wonderful museums and, no matter what you are interested in, I promise you, there’s a museum for that.


Our favorite one is the Guy Watching TV Museum.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

You can read about John Wade’s take on super heroes here, if you don’t want to go back to work yet.

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published with permission of the author