We've all heard about some of the great museums of the world, from the Louvre in Paris to the Museum of Natural History in New York, the cutting-edge museums of science and others. But this summer, TODAY travel editor Peter Greenberg shares his candidates for some of the wackiest museums in America — museums that celebrate everything from mustard to lunch boxes to UFOs.
Here are his picks:
LUNCH BOX MUSEUM
Owner Alan Woodall, a retired radio-broadcasting company executive, has been collecting lunch boxes for 20 years. The museum displays more than 2,000 metal lunch boxes and over 1,700 thermoses. The owner began collecting ’50s and ’60s TV trays, along with the original paintings featured on the museum's lunch boxes.
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The collection has many originals, but also has various duplicates that the store sells and trades. Woodall's collection of lunch boxes range in cost from $10 and up into the hundreds.
Admission: Adults are $5. Children over 6 are only $3; those under 6 are free.
The museum provides an extensive history of Jell-O — everything you needed to know and much, much more. One exhibit showcases Bill Cosby's influence over the brand over the past 30 years. The Jell-O Brick Road features stones inscribed with the names of former factory employees.
Jell-O aficionados will enjoy displays of early advertisements and radio and TV commercials. Jell-O promotional products, such as toys, baseball cards and cookbooks, are also sold in the museum. The museum also features original oil paintings of old magazine ads.
WORLD FAMOUS MUSTARD MUSEUM
Mount Horeb, Wis.
The museum boasts of its wide collection of more than 4,900 prepared mustards from all over the world. There are hundreds of great items, such as vintage mustard cookware and advertisements, displaying the history of mustard.
The museum features a "Gourmet Foods Emporium" where you can taste all kinds of mustards. An extensive gift shop allows you to buy some of the flavors you tasted or were interested in trying out.
The museum's "Mustard Piece Theatre" presents movies all about mustard with free admission. True lovers of mustard can get a higher education at the fun "Poupon U," a university dedicated to the knowledge of mustard.
Special events, like the National Mustard Day Celebration, are held in the museum.
COCKROACH HALL OF FAME
The Cockroach Hall of Fame was founded by Michael Bohdan, a pest control specialist who has been in the industry for more than 20 years. The museum is located in his retail store, The Pest Shop.
There are real, dead roaches on display including one dressed up as Elvis, and another wearing a white mink cape and sitting by a piano (his name is Liberoachi).
In addition to the dead guys, you can also find a collection of very much alive Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
The museum was established in 1992 to answer questions about UFO phenomena for curious visitors.
Displays include early UFO sightings in the 1940s-50s and extensive information about what is known as the Roswell Incident. The museum houses photos of the base and some of the people involved in the incident. This gives a point of reference to the Incident and what Roswell and the area looked like. There is a reproduction of what the radio broadcast of the initial press release by the military could have sounded like.
The other half of the museum includes general UFO information about the different types of sightings, like close encounters of the first, second and third kind. There is photographic evidence of unexplained objects that claim to have been verified to be true photos, abduction information, Area 51 and crop circles.
The museum also houses an extremely large library with several rare, out-of-print and unique books and other information. The first week of July is the annual Roswell UFO Festival, which
MUSEUM OF SEX
New York, N.Y.
The museum has more than 15,000 works of art in its collection. The facility in lower Manhattan houses various media, such as photography, clothing and costumes, technological inventions and historical ephemera.
The multimedia library features films that have been destroyed because of sexual censorship.
Current exhibitions include "Sex in Design," a collection that promotes sex intertwined with the concept of design.
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