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Unconventional museums


Highlighting all things kitty at the Cat Museum in Kuching, Sarawak


TripAdvisor editors have given a meow to Kuching’s Cat Museum in its list of the most bizzare museums in the world.

TRIPADVISOR, the world’s largest travel site, has drawn up a list of 10 unusual museums around the world, including the Cat Museum in Kuching, which is known as Cat City.

A comment from a TripAdvisor traveller about the Cat Museum: “This is an interesting museum, with an amazing collection of cat ornaments and statues and paintings – you name it.”

The museums in the list are as follows:

1 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada ? The Bata Shoe Museum houses a collection of more than 10,000 items of footwear with over 4,500 years of history. See 15th century Peruvian ceremonial aladeros and 19th century French chestnut-crushing clogs. From ancient Egyptian sandals to 20th-century celebrity shoes, this vast shoe collection will excite both fashion devotees and history buffs alike.

2 Paris Sewer Museum, Paris, France ? Sure, travellers flock to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, but there is also the less conventional attraction that is the Paris Sewer Museum. First opened to the public in 1867, the sewer tunnels running underneath Paris are where visitors can gain first-hand knowledge of the history and inner workings of the city’s sewer system.

3 Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall, England ? Anyone even mildly curious about witches must visit the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall. Opened in 1951 by Cecil Williamson, the museum exhibits the largest witchcraft collection in the world.

Visitors can learn about the practice and history of witchcraft and magic, and view artifacts such as a witch’s altar and a magician’s sword. The museum also houses a library of more than 3,000 books.

4 British Lawnmower Museum, Merseyside, England ? The fastest lawnmowers, lawnmowers of the rich and famous, and some of the most expensive lawnmowers in the world: these can all be seen at the British Lawnmower Museum in Merseyside, England. With over 250 lawnmowers, this museum is a tribute to the garden machine invented in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding.

5 Toilet Seat Museum, Alamo Heights, Texas, the United States ? Barney Smith, a retired plumber, has been creating toilet seat art for over 30 years. More than 1,000 of his decorated commode covers are on display in the Toilet Seat Museum (Barney’s garage) in Alamo Heights, Texas. Since Barney is the only person who operates the museum, travellers should call first, so he knows to open his doors.

6 Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka, Japan ? Dedicated to ramen noodle cups and creator Momofuko Ando, the museum showcases the many ramen flavours made through the years, and there’s also a reproduction of the hut where the first noodles were first produced. The museum has a kitchen facility where visitors can make fresh noodles, as well as a factory where visitors can assemble their own cup noodles.

7 Salt Pepper Shakers Museum, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the United States ? Explore the Salt Pepper Shakers Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee housing a collection of over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world, some dating back to the 1500s.

Andrea, an archaeologist, was fascinated by the history behind salt and pepper shakers, so she launched the museum.

The museum also displays the largest collection of pepper mills in the world!

8 Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota, the United States ? Here sits a museum that covers an area of more than 1,486sqm and dedicated to Spam, the mystery meat. It features a wall of Spam, interactive displays, a video, and historical exhibits of the Spam brand and Hormel Foods Company.

Visitors can even learn how the “mystery meat” is produced. After touring the museum, you can browse Spam novelties in the gift shop and nosh on Spam cuisine in the dining area.

9 Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick, England ? According to legend, a huge storm in the 1500s uprooted trees in Cumberland, and graphite was discovered. Shepherds used the graphite to mark their sheep, and thus began the area’s pencil industry.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum takes visitors through the history of the pencil and pencil-making. The museum also houses the biggest pencil in the world measuring 26 feet and weighing 446kg (984 pounds)!

10 Cat Museum, Kuching, Malaysia ? In Malaysia, the cat is considered lucky, and since Kuching is also known as “Cat City”, it is only fitting that the Cat Museum is a popular attraction here. Feline enthusiasts can enjoy 2,000 exhibits, artifacts, and statues from around the world, from an Egyptian mummified cat to Hello Kitty items. The museum is also a research and information centre that concentrates on the history and cultural beliefs surrounding cats.

The list of 10 unusual museums is based on feedback from TripAdvisor travellers and as chosen by TripAdvisor editors.

Map: Bizarre Museums

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