The tiny Musée de la Prohibition is housed, appropriately enough, near the bar in Hotel Robert at Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, a tiny group of islands belonging to France but lying off the coast of Newfoundland. During prohibition in the U.S., Saint-Pierre was a staging point for rum-runners, mostly the Mafia. A hat belonging to Al Capone, who evidently had a freakishly small head, is the highlight of the collection. Another funny link to prohibition is that the Bronfman family ran a bootlegging operation from Saint-Pierre, and you can still see their name faintly carved in stone on one building. They went on to own Seagrams, in its heyday one of the biggest liquor producers in the world. By the way, another little museum on the island has the guillotine used in the execution that inspired the Juliette Binoche film “The Widow of Saint-Pierre.”
The other museum I thought of most likely won’t meet this blog’s criteria because it’s far better known, but in my honest opinion deserves a plug – Handel House in London. There was no one else there when I visited, so I had a private tour with one of the wonderful volunteers. She told me that Handel was very generous to young musicians, but they often visited him hoping for dinner. He provided the meal, but retired to another room to enjoy more expensive food alone while his guests dined on cheaper stuff. Students are sometimes allowed to practice on the period harpsichord, and this was such a day – bonus treat for me. Jimi Hendrix lived in an adjacent flat (the white building on the left of the photo) and they plan to develop that part of the building in his memory.