By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: When we were kids we used to enjoy visiting strange museums like Louis Tussaud’s in Niagara Falls. For those of us with an interest in the off-beat could you offer up some places that might be worthwhile?

A: Once on a trip to Florence Italy we roamed the halls of La Specola, Europe’s oldest museum devoted to the scientific ( I saw weird maquettes dating back hundreds of years and what were these strange forms depicting? The Black Plague of course. With rat miniatures darting across dead bodies it was certainly not for the faint of heart. Want to see pickled embryos and taxidermy of hippo proportions, head here.

First opened to the public in 1775, it holds the largest collection of anatomical wax figures in the world manufactured between 1770 and 1850 and it has over 3.5 million animals, of which only 5,000 are on public display.

Over in Philadelphia, the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians ( has thousands of specimens of human organ abnormalities on display from human throats to President Grover Cleveland’s cancerous jaw growth.

In St. Augustine Florida head to the original Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum ( This is where you’ll find the collection of Robert Ripley whose illustrations of the strange and weird ran in his Believe It Or Not syndicated cartoon strip for many years.

Should you find yourself in New Delhi, head to the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets ( The museum’s founder is a doctor and if you scour these walls you’ll find many a tale about the pulpit.

Lastly, Paris the City of Light has a “Musee de l’ Erotisme (” Located in an area popular for its sex shops, this erotic museum boasts quite a collection of erotic objects. See if you can spot the Asian and South American fertility objects. There’s also a neat display on the history of Parisian prostitution.


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