From underwater exhibits and a giant chocolate fountain, to displays of items from failed relationships and more, we've rounded up the most unique museums in the world to add to your bucket list

Travel might be on hold for a while due to Covid-19 but that doesn't mean you can't start planning your next getaway. Visiting a museum is a must in every country you visit.

While most people clamour to Lourve for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa while visitors flock to The Museum of Modern Art for Van Gogh's The Starry Night, if you're on the lookout for something that's off-the-beaten-path to include in your bucket list, you'll be pleased to know that there are a lot of other interesting museums out there that guidebooks won't tell you.

Say goodbye to the crowds and get your cameras out for your next trip because we've rounded up the most unique museums in the world for you to visit.

See also: 10 Of The Best Virtual Museum Tours Around The World

1. Cancun Underwater Museum of Art, Mexico

The Cancun Underwater Museum or Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) in Mexico prides itself as being the biggest underwater museum in the world. This underwater paradise draws nearly 750,000 tourists yearly and is nestled between the islands of Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

Home to 500 sculptures, most of which are by British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor and the rest by local Mexican sculptors, the museum serves as a destination for divers to go to which helps to preserve the nearby coral reefs––a vision that the founders wanted.

The exhibits on display portray varying themes from capital greed to the lives of fishermen with notable ones include Inertia, The Banker and Understanding. The tours are divided into Punta Nizuc for snorkelling and Manchones for scuba diving.

Find out more here

See also: Hong Kong Water Sports: Your Guide To Surfing, Paddle Boarding, Wake Boarding And More

2. Micropia, Amsterdam

A visit to Micropia might be worthwhile given the times we're in to learn more about microbes. Micropia in Amsterdam, the only museum of its kind, aims to provide a positive view of microbes which is normally associated with diseases but actually have an essential function in daily human lives.

Similarly, the museum also wants to generate the interest of the general public in microbes from an early age. The exhibits are divided into categories mainly fermentation, viruses, and vaccines.

One of the notable exhibits is called "Mouth to Mouth" and tells you how much microbes get passed on when people kiss. Another feature of the museum is its location––Ledenlokalen which is a major historical monument that has been transformed into modern use for the museum.

Find out more here

See also: Hong Kong Social Distancing Rules For Covid-19: What You Can And Can’t Do

3. International Spy Museum, USA

The International Spy Museum gives visitors a glimpse of the world of espionage and intelligence in an engaging way. Often a topic filled with secrecy, the museum aims to allow understanding of the important role that intelligence has played in history and its use today.

Hosting the largest collection of espionage artefacts, the exhibits are divided into different categories including an interactive exhibition called Operation Spy where you can take on the roles of secret agents and participate in an hour spy stimulation.

Noteworthy artefacts on display include the lipstick pistol, also known as "kiss of death," which was used by KGB femme fatales during the Cold War, the Minox spy camera, and the Aston Martin DB5 which appeared in the 1964 James Bond thriller, Goldfinger.

Find out more here

See also: The Best Watches Worn By James Bond

4. The Mummy Museum, Mexico

Also called Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, this museum in Mexico is home to mummies. Because the mummies on displayed mummified naturally, they look a little grimmer than the mummies excavated in Egpyt. The mummification process is likely a combination of the altitude and the area's arid climate which made the wooden coffins absorb moisture. The crypts are also sealed with cement which protected the bodies from decaying.

Because a large number of mummies found at the site started to gain popularity, the museum was set up to show them to the general public. Over a hundred mummies are on display at the museum, most of whom were Guanajuato residents from 1850–1950. The museum is also has the smallest mummy in the world on display.

Find out more here

See also: Visit an Ancient Egyptian Tomb Without Leaving Home

5. The Dog Collar Museum, United Kingdom

The Dog Collar Museum is a must for dog lovers. Tucked inside Leeds Castle, the museum is the first of its kind in the world. The collection is located in the castle's former stable and has been on display since 1976. Of the 130 rare and valuable collars on display, the earliest piece dates back to the late 15th century, a Spanish iron herd mastiff's collar.

Other collars range from 16th-century German iron collars with spikes and ornate gilt collars of the Baroque period. A large part of the collection was from Gertrude Hunt and was put in display in honour of her husband, historian John Hunt. Both an avid collector, the couple have various items they collected but dog collars were perhaps the most special among them.

Find out more here

See also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Dog in Hong Kong

6. The Museum of Bread Culture, Germany

A visit to this museum might make you hungry. Founded in 1955, the museum is dedicated to bread and aims to showcase the 6,000-year-old history of bread as an indispensable part of human culture and civilization. Its first permanent exhibition dates back to 1960 and is the first museum of its kind in the world. The museum later moved to Salzstadel, a historic storehouse in Ulm, Germany.

The museum houses over 18,000 objects, out of which, 700 are on permanent display. The exhibits provide a way to highlight the importance of bread in society. It also shows various methods of bread-making and how it has evolved throughout the ages. Despite this, actual bread is not part of the exhibition because the founders believe that bread is not an artefact but food which should be freshly baked each day. 

Find out more here

See also: Where To Find The Best Bakeries In Hong Kong For Your Bread And Pastry Fix

7. The Museum of Gold, Colombia

The Museum of Gold, also known locally as El Museo del Oro is possibly the most famous tourist site in Colombia, attracting half a million visitors per year. The museum is also one of the most fascinating sites to visit in South America. Boasting more than 55,000 pieces of gold and other materials from Colombia's pre-Hispanic culture, the items are displayed in thematic rooms spanning over three floors.

Gold, of course, makes up most of the exhibits but pottery, stone, shell, wood, and textile objects are also part of the collection. The most famous exhibit in the museum is the Musica Raft due to its connection with the legend of El Dorado, which people believe was referring to the mythical city of gold but actually refers to a mythical tribal chief of the Muisca people, informally called The Golden Man. The renowned relic is a miniature model of this Golden Man.

Find out more here

See also: Tatler Asia's Guide To Rose Gold Jewellery

8. Lindt Home of Chocolate, Switzerland

At Lindt Home of Chocolate in Switzerland, you'll discover the delicious world of chocolate. The museum is home to the largest Lindt chocolate shop and features a spectacular nine-metre-tall Lindt chocolate foundation that has 1,500 kilograms of chocolate flowing through it. There are also interactive chocolate tours which introduces you to the Swiss cultural heritage of chocolate.

If you're a chocolate lover––this is most certainly haven as you can also try and create your own chocolate together with Lindt master chocolatiers. At the cafe, you can try some savoury meals and snacks which is a perfect excuse to get dessert afterwards. A visit to this museum is a must if you have a sweet tooth.

Find out more here

See also: Artisanal Chocolate Handcrafted in Hong Kong

9. Cup Noodles Museum, Japan

There are two cup noodles museum in Japan but we recommend the one in Osaka because it's the birthplace of instant noodles. After an entire year of research in his backyard in Osaka, Momofuku Ando invented the first instant noodles (chicken ramen) in 1958. Since then, the invention of cup noodles followed and instant noodles were popularised worldwide. Because of his creativity, the museum wants visitors to see the importance of inventiveness through the discovery and history of instant noodles.

In the museum, you can create your own cup noodles––which is the only place in the world that you can. Following Ando's invention, a recreation of his work shed is on display at the museum. The colourful exhibition of instant noodles are also on display, which shows the worldwide popularisation of the product. A line up of instant noodles at the Instant Noodles Tunnel flaunts 800 product packages growing into a global dietary culture.

Find out more here

See also: A Food Lover's Guide To Osaka

10. The Museum of Broken Relationships, Croatia

If you need comfort after getting your heart broken or are simply lovesick––The Museum of Broken Relationships is the perfect companion to your heartache. Originally, the museum began as a travelling collection of donated items but has since found a permanent home in Zagreb, Croatia. The museum is just as the name suggests––dedicated to failed love relationships.

The exhibits are mostly personal items from former lovers with a little short description, sometimes telling the story of the item. The idea behind the museum was from a Zagreb-based couple, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, who initially joked about setting up a museum to house their leftover personal items after their break up as a way to remember and honour their memories together. The joke turned into reality and the museum was born.

Find out more here

See more: Stories Of Finding Love During The Coronavirus

Tatler Asia
© 2023 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.