Illinois September 30, 2015
Here Are 7 Museums In Illinois That Are Just Too Weird For Words
A lot of people travel to Illinois for the world-class museums. And boy do we have them. But for all those world-class establishments, we have some real head-scratchers. So check out these seven Illinois museums that are a little off-the-wall.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. International Museum of Surgical Science
I'm not a big fan of surgery, so I am not sure I'd want to go to a museum about surgical science. Nevertheless, this museum, located in Chicago, is fairly popular. They have some really educational exhibits, like their most recent one "Surgicogenomics: Genes and Stem Cells in Surgery." It's definitely ground-breaking, cutting-edge stuff. But along with the cutting-edge, it also details the history of surgery. Let's just say that some of the former surgical practices might make you wince. Definitely entertaining.
2. McDonalds Museum
Over in Des Plaines, you can check out a replica of the #1 McDonalds store. It was opened by Ray Kroc in April, 1955. For some McDonalds enthusiasts, this is a mecca of sorts, even though this location doesn't serve any food. (Think of how much money they'd make if it did--just saying.) This is not a museum you can go inside. In fact, it is only visible from the windows. But you'll see mannequins "in action" as they would have been in the 1950s, ready to take your order or working on the fries. It's cool to see how things once were, but a little creepy at the same time, because nothing moves. It's like time has frozen, but not necessarily in a super nostalgic way. You should still see it.
3. Historic Auto Attractions
Unless you're a car buff, you might not be interested in heading down to Roscoe to check out Historic Auto Attractions. But as they say, they are so much more than cars. Take a pic next to the family truckster from National Lampoon's vacation. Check out memorabilia related to shows like the Andy Griffith Show and Sandford and Son. If you're into history, there are TONS of Presidential artifacts and furniture that was once in the White House. There is even an exhibit dedicated to President Kennedy's assassination, great for those conspiracy theorists.
4. Super Museum
It's not very shocking that Metropolis would indeed have a museum dedicated to Superman. But you might be thinking that this place won't be any different than some superfan's bedroom. Wrong. This place has thousands upon thousands of Superman related stuff. Well, 20,000+ items to be exact. This museum opened in 1993 and has continued to grow since then. Superman's 75+ year life is chronicled here. And the museum has won the "#1 Small Town Attraction in America."
5. The American Toby Jug Museum
If you're like me, you might be wondering "What is a toby jug?" And, furthermore, why would there be a museum dedicated to this? Well, I can't answer the second question, but I can tell you that a toby jug is a ceramic pitcher that is modeled in the form of some popular character. This isn't a new concept, either. These things have apparently been around since the 1760s. There is also a distinction between a jug and a mug--a jug requires an opening at the spout. Tobies were named after Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." So if you are a Toby Jug enthusiast, head down to Chicago and check out this museum.
6. Illinois State Military Museum
A military museum in itself is not off-the-wall. But some of the items that this Springfield has are strange. Perhaps the strangest (and most controversial) item this museum houses is the artificial leg of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Just a quick refresher, this is the bro that sent troops to kill Davy Crockett and everyone else in the Alamo. So America took his leg. (If you're a King of the Hill fan, the leg showed up in one of the funnier episodes.) Beyond the leg, there are all sorts of other wacky things. But it's also a great museum to show you what these soldiers dealt with in times of war over the centuries. You will definitely want to check it out.
7. The Money Museum
I love cash just as much as anyone else. But an entire museum dedicated to money? Well, yes. Head over to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to explore their Money Museum. In fact, 40,000 people go annually. You will learn about how the Federal Reserve system works, learn specifically about how the Chicago Federal Reserve operates, and see some sweet currency. So get ready to feast your eyes on some cash money!
Have any other favorite Illinois museums that are a little off-the-wall? Let us know in the comments.