A Guide to New England’s Most Unusual Museums

In the realm of museums, the ordinary gives way to the extraordinary, and the peculiar becomes the norm. 

In “A Guide to New England’s Most Unusual Museums,” we invite you on a journey through the fascinating and eclectic world of offbeat museums scattered across the charming landscape of New England. 

Beyond the traditional galleries and historic sites, these quirky institutions offer a glimpse into the unexpected, the bizarre, and the downright extraordinary.

From collections dedicated to oddities and curiosities to museums celebrating the eccentricities of human history and creativity, New England’s most unusual museums are sure to surprise. 

Join us as we uncover hidden gems, oddball artifacts, and off-the-wall exhibits that defy expectations and challenge conventional notions of what a museum can be. 

Prepare to expand your horizons and embrace the wonderfully weird as we embark on this unforgettable adventure through New England’s most unusual museums.

A Guide to New England’s Most Unusual Museums

Let’s explore New England’s most unusual museums, where curiosity knows no bounds and every exhibit tells a story unlike any other.

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), Massachusetts

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), Massachusetts

Tucked away in the basement of a community theater in Dedham, Massachusetts, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) celebrates the artistic endeavors gone awry. 

Showcasing a collection of hilariously bad art pieces, MOBA invites visitors to embrace the beauty of imperfection and revel in the absurdity of artistic expression gone wrong. 

From awkward portraits to questionable landscapes, each piece in the museum’s collection offers a humorous commentary on the subjective nature of art.

International Cryptozoology Museum, Maine

International Cryptozoology Museum, Maine

For those intrigued by the mysterious world of cryptids – creatures whose existence has not been proven by science – the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, offers a fascinating journey into the realm of the unknown. 

Founded by cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, the museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, specimens, and exhibits dedicated to elusive creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Mothman. 

Whether you’re a skeptic or a true believer, the museum’s eclectic collection is sure to spark curiosity and inspire wonder.

Warren’s Occult Museum, Connecticut

Warren's Occult Museum, Connecticut

Nestled within the quiet town of Monroe, Connecticut, Warren’s Occult Museum is home to a chilling array of paranormal artifacts and haunted objects collected by renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. 

From possessed dolls to cursed artifacts, the museum’s collection offers a spine-tingling glimpse into the world of the supernatural. 

Visitors can explore eerie exhibits, hear bone-chilling stories of paranormal encounters, and even witness artifacts said to be imbued with dark energy. Enter if you dare, but beware – the spirits may be watching.

Shelburne Museum, Vermont

Shelburne Museum, Vermont

Located in Shelburne, Vermont, the Shelburne Museum is not your typical art museum. Spread across 45 acres, the museum’s expansive campus is home to over 150,000 artifacts and artworks, including historic buildings, folk art, quilts, and Americana. 

Highlights of the museum’s collection include the steamboat Ticonderoga, a fully restored 220-foot paddle wheeler, and the Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building, a stunning example of Colonial Revival architecture. 

With its diverse array of exhibits and immersive experiences, the Shelburne Museum offers a captivating journey through American history and culture.

Witch Dungeon Museum, Massachusetts

Witch Dungeon Museum, Massachusetts

Step back in time to the dark days of the Salem Witch Trials at the Witch Dungeon Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Located adjacent to the site of the original witch trials, the museum offers a dramatic retelling of this infamous chapter in American history. 

Visitors can explore recreated courtroom scenes, learn about the trials’ origins and aftermath, and even witness a live reenactment of a witch trial. 

With its immersive exhibits and informative presentations, the Witch Dungeon Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the hysteria and injustice that gripped Salem in the late 17th century.

American Precision Museum, Vermont

American Precision Museum, Vermont

Delve into the fascinating world of precision manufacturing at the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont. Housed in a historic mill overlooking the scenic Connecticut River, the museum celebrates the ingenuity and craftsmanship of America’s industrial pioneers.

Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing early machine tools, mechanical marvels, and precision instruments that revolutionized industries ranging from firearms to textiles. 

With its interactive displays and hands-on workshops, the American Precision Museum offers a captivating journey through the history of innovation and technology in America.

The Umbrella Cover Museum, Maine

The Umbrella Cover Museum, Maine

Located on the picturesque island of Peaks Island in Maine, the Umbrella Cover Museum may seem like an unlikely destination for museum enthusiasts. However, this quirky museum celebrates the humble umbrella cover in all its forms. 

Visitors can marvel at a diverse collection of umbrella covers from around the world, ranging from practical to whimsical designs. 

Whether you’re fascinated by everyday objects or simply enjoy a good laugh, the Umbrella Cover Museum is sure to brighten your day.

Museum of Jurassic Technology, Massachusetts

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Step into a world where fact and fiction blur at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, Massachusetts. This peculiar institution combines elements of art, science, and folklore to create a truly unique museum experience. 

Visitors can explore exhibits on everything from Soviet space dogs to microminiature sculptures, all presented with a touch of whimsy and wonder. 

Whether you’re intrigued by the mysterious or simply appreciate the absurd, the Museum of Jurassic Technology offers an unforgettable journey into the unknown.

International Tennis Hall of Fame, Rhode Island

International Tennis Hall of Fame, Rhode Island

For fans of the sport of tennis, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and evolution of the game. 

Housed in the historic Newport Casino, the museum features exhibits on legendary players, historic matches, and the evolution of tennis equipment and attire. 

Visitors can explore interactive displays, view memorabilia from tennis greats, and even test their skills on the museum’s grass courts. 

Whether you’re a casual fan or a die-hard tennis enthusiast, the International Tennis Hall of Fame offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Museum of Russian Icons, Massachusetts

Museum of Russian Icons, Massachusetts

Nestled in the historic town of Clinton, Massachusetts, the Museum of Russian Icons is home to one of the largest collections of Russian icons outside of Russia. 

The museum’s extensive collection includes religious icons, artifacts, and artworks spanning over six centuries of Russian history and culture. 

Visitors can explore exhibits on iconography, religious symbolism, and the history of Orthodox Christianity in Russia. With its stunning collection and educational programs, the Museum of Russian Icons offers a unique opportunity to explore the rich artistic and spiritual traditions of Russia.

The Trash Museum, Massachusetts

The Trash Museum, Massachusetts

Delve into the world of waste management at the Trash Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Operated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, this unique museum offers a behind-the-scenes look at the journey of trash from curbside collection to final disposal. 

Visitors can explore interactive exhibits on recycling, composting, and waste reduction, and learn about the environmental impact of everyday consumer choices.

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Unusual Museums in New England?

The best time to visit the unusual museums in New England depends on personal preferences and the specific attractions you plan to visit. Generally, the museums are open year-round, but there are certain factors to consider when planning your visit.

Spring and fall are popular times to explore New England due to the mild weather, beautiful foliage, and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season. 

During these seasons, you can enjoy comfortable temperatures and vibrant landscapes, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

However, if you prefer to avoid crowds and take advantage of off-season rates, winter can also be a great time to visit the museums. 

Many of the indoor attractions offer shelter from the cold weather, allowing you to explore at your own pace without the crowds typically seen during the summer months.

Ultimately, the best time to visit the unusual museums in New England depends on your interests, schedule, and tolerance for crowds and weather conditions.


Are these unusual museums suitable for children?

Many of the unusual museums in New England cater to visitors of all ages, including children. However, it’s essential to research each museum’s exhibits and content to ensure they are appropriate for your child’s age and interests.  

Can I take photographs inside the museums?

Photography policies vary depending on the museum, so it’s best to check with each institution before your visit. While some museums allow photography for personal use, others may have restrictions on photography or prohibit it altogether, particularly in areas with sensitive artifacts or exhibits. 

How long does it typically take to visit one of these unusual museums?

The amount of time needed to visit an unusual museum in New England can vary depending on the size of the museum, the number of exhibits, and your level of interest in the displays. 

Are these museums wheelchair accessible?

Accessibility features vary from museum to museum, but many unusual museums in New England strive to provide accommodation for visitors with disabilities. 

Before your visit, check each museum’s website or contact them directly to inquire about accessibility features. 

Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?

Ticketing policies vary among the unusual museums in New England. While some museums allow visitors to purchase tickets upon arrival, others may require advance reservations, especially during peak seasons or for special events or exhibitions.


As we conclude our exploration of New England’s most unusual museums, we leave behind a trail of wonder and fascination. 

From the peculiar to the extraordinary, these offbeat institutions have provided glimpses into the eccentricities of human creativity, history, and imagination. 

Each museum visited has offered a unique and memorable experience, challenged our perceptions and expanded our understanding of the world around us.

As you bid farewell to this guide, we encourage you to continue seeking out the unexpected and embracing the unconventional in your travels. 

Whether you’re drawn to oddities, curiosities, or simply the delightfully bizarre, New England’s most unusual museums offer endless opportunities for discovery and delight. 

So, pack your sense of curiosity and venture forth into the strange and extraordinary – for in the realm of the unusual, every exhibit is a story waiting to be told, and every visit is an adventure unlike any other.


Photo of author

Bob Potenza

As a dedicated Museum Curator, Archivist, and Historian, you possess a profound passion for preserving and showcasing the rich tapestry of our collective past. Your expertise in curating exhibitions that breathe life into history, your meticulous archival skills in safeguarding invaluable artifacts and documents, and your deep understanding of historical contexts make you an invaluable guardian of our cultural heritage. Your commitment to unraveling the secrets of the past and sharing them with the world enriches our understanding of history, ensuring that the stories of those who came before us continue to inspire and educate generations to come. LinkedIn

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