This Belongs in a Museum

Once called the "Stephen Fry of Museum Blogging," this tumblog, written by a frustrated museologist, is dedicated to the small, random museums and weird attractions of the world. Always informative, usually funny, sometimes offensive.

Bringing you museum-approved grammatical errors and typos since 2010.

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Posts tagged "Museum"

I once told you about that time I visited the Ramones Museum in Berlin. I’ve also told you about many small museums, like the 22 square foot closet known as Edgar’s Closet, the Micro Mµseum in Somerville, the World’s Largest Collection of the Smallest Versions of Large Things as well as the Smallest House in Great Britain (because of course I have to go to the world’s tiniest house museum). Anyway, if you think it’s impossible to combine the teeny tiny with America’s first punk band, well, you are wrong. If you say it can’t be done, it has been done…in a seaside suburb of Dublin…inside a Mexican restaurant (of course there is a Facebook). Lifelong Ramones devotee and restaurant owner Colin Ring (hey, that name doesn’t sound Mexican) started it as a way to get his collection out of the house and in front of the band’s fans. He describes it as “exactly the kind of restaurant [he’d] visit if [he] didn’t own [the] restaurant” and believes “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” changed his life. His favourite item in the collection is the “Swallow my Pride” single, which was released on Phillips Ireland (I guess back then countries would press their own version of a single or LP). At the world’s smallest Ramones museum, visitors (or should I say restaurant patrons) can look at backstage passes, tickets and an early fan club newsletter while drinking margaritas and eating chicken enchiladas.


Actor Kirk Douglas, star of the 1956 film Lust for Life, posing with a Vincent van Gogh self-portrait at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I bet you didn’t know Muppets creator Jim Henson was originally from Mississippi. I bet you also didn’t know that Jim Henson had a (human) friend named Kermit. They used to play along the banks of Deer Creek in the small town of Leland, which has since been proclaimed as the birthplace of the frog (which must be true…I mean look at that autographed photo above). Deer Creek not only has a historic marker commemorating such an important event, but it’s also home to a museum officially called “Birthplace of the Frog: The Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit”.

A small, roadside museum off Highways 61 and 82, several walls are lined with glass cases of Muppets/Jim Henson memorabilia and collectibles as well as a giant Kermit the Frog for touristy photo ops. And even though the very first Kermit puppet resides in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. there is an early but post-metamorphosis Kermit here as well as several other incarnations of the various Muppets. Leland also hosts an annual FrogFest event each fall at the Rainbow Connection Bridge, named for Kermit’s signature song from his first feature film, The Muppet Movie (check out Kermit’s duet with Debbie Harry here). But there is more to the town than Muppets as it’s also home to the Highway 61 Blues Museum, part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.

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As the U.S. Supreme Court decides the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care of Act (aka Obamacare) and the religious freedom of for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, let’s talk about a museum that celebrates America’s two favorite things…carbonated soft drinks and the Bible. At the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens in Louisiana, there’s more than just a historic house and formal gardens. Yes, the righteous and holy can also check out a collection of bibles and biblical literature with a rotating exhibit (the current one is a Stations of Cross exhibit, just in time for Easter) in a special fortress-like building, then go to an original soda fountain full of Coca-Cola memorabilia, including the company’s first ever delivery truck. If you’re wondering how these two collections came together, well, back in 1894 a man named Joseph A. Biedenharn, a Mississippi businessman, changed the world forever. In order for his customers outside downtown Vicksburg to have access to Coca-Cola, he had his brother Herman put it into Biedenharn bottles, making his company the first to ever bottle Coca-Cola. Today, thanks to Biedenharn’s decision, not only is Coca-Cola sold in more than 200 countries, but the world is also a lot sweeter (and some say heavier). It was Biedenharn’s only daughter Emmy-Lou who is to be canonized (or blamed) for all the Bibles. There is an 1848 facsimile of a Wycliffe Bible, an original 1611 King James Bible and a single sheet from the 1454-55 Gutenberg Bible. And the best part? Visitors can enjoy an ice cold glass bottle of Coke from an original vending machine for just a nickel. So make sure to bring your piggy bank. And of course God.

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For anyone following this blog long enough, well, you’ve probably noticed an obsession with miniature museums. From Zarifa Salahova’s collection of miniature edition books in Azerbaijan to the 105 models of historic buildings at Miniatürk we’ve covered a lot of small stuff. One day I hope to find out why creating small-scale reproductions has become a thing. And if you think we’ve run out of such places, think again. With over 32,000 lead pieces, each under an inch high, displayed in 23 historical scenes, the Jaca Citadel Military Miniatures Museum in Spain (a country that appears to be winning the battle of the small with several miniature museums, see here and here) chronologically documents the most important battles of human history. Visitors will see the armies and battles of Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the Crusades, the Napoleonic era and of course the 20th century wars. But there is definitely an emphasis on the Reino de España, especially with the Crown of Aragón, etc. The collection began to take shape in the 1960s by a miniatures fan and history lover named Carlos Royo-Villanova. It was first acquired by the Jaca Council in 1984, then nearly twenty years later moved to its own museum in the Castle of San Pedro. But like I said before, Spain has got miniatures on the brain, and this teeny tiny museum isn’t even the largest collection in the country. That title belongs to the Museo de los Soldaditos de Plomo in Valencia, which has more than 85,000 toy soldiers and miniature figures making it the official holder of world’s largest military miniatures collection. May the itty bitty museum battle commence!