We all know that Utah is full of some fascinating, unique, and simply stunning sights. But some places have a little extra weirdness to them, and we don’t mean that in a negative way. Some places are “weird” just because there’s nothing else like them in the world. These four Utah museums are totally unique and totally amazing.
1. John Hutchings Museum of Natural History, Lehi
This odd little place got its start when local amateur naturalist John Hutchings donated his considerable collection of artifacts to the city. Ranging from fossils to minerals to taxidermy and local artifacts, the Hutchings Museum collection is beloved by all who visit this out-of-the-way gem.
What's weird about it? Besides the big display of taxidermy animals? The sheer size and variety of the collections is stunning, and the fact that it all started with one dedicated amateur makes this a very unique place.
2. The Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, Lehi
Two weird museums in one city? Yes, the Museum of Ancient Life is in Lehi, just like the Hutchings Museum. This quirky place is part of the large Thanksgiving Point complex, and its goal is to let you experience pre-history in a completely new way. It has the largest collection of mounted dinosaur fossils in the world, many of which are arranged in fun and slightly goofy dioramas. Kids of all ages (even you, grandpa and grandma) love this place for its unique exhibits and hands-on experiences.
What's weird about it? This is one museum that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's educational, but it's also lots of fun. Plus, there are displays of little plastic dinosaurs, which is beyond awesome.
3. The Pioneer Memorial Museum, Salt Lake City
First off, this place is truly amazing and you should absolutely visit. Secondly, there are some very weird collections there. Among the fascinating displays of pioneer artifacts are odd specimens like a chair made of antlers, a jar of teeth, and a case full of nothing but walking canes.
What's weird about it? In addition to the jar of teeth and accompanying antique dental tools, there are just some very, very specific collections here. But they're all beautifully displayed and labeled, making the quirky collections simply endearing.
4. Uinta County Heritage Museum, Vernal
There's absolutely nothing weird about most of the museum, but behind three glass cases are some funky little faces. This is where the First Lady dolls live. From Betsy Ross (who wasn't actually a First Lady, but we assume they know that) all the way up through Nancy Reagan, all of the presidents' wives are represented. Their likenesses were crafted from porcelain by a Salt Lake City sculptor and then attached to sawdust bodies and dressed in outfits based on clothing actually worn by each lady. The sculptor retired after Reagan, but 40 First Ladies plus one mother of the American flag is pretty impressive.
What's weird about it? We love some good presidential nostalgia as much as anyone else, but...sawdust bodies? Dolls that look like real people? The creepy factor is WAY up there.
Everyone has their own threshold between ‘not weird’ and ‘weird,’ but these museums all have something about them that makes them just a little odd…and we LOVE it. Did we miss any weird museums in Utah? Let us know in the comments.