You might think “weird” is negative, but for the purposes of this post, let’s assume it’s not. Let’s assume weird just means “unique,” or “extraordinary.” These are not your typical stare at the wall museums, but are all one-of-a-kind tributes to a variety of things from toys to a sinking ship. Open your mind to new experiences and visit these amazing museums. You won’t be disappointed!
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. Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph
Psychiatry has a bit of a creepy past. Some of the methods that were most widely used would now be considered barbaric. Glare Psychiatric Museum is a bizarre world where mannequins tell stories. In 1967, George Glore created the museum, originally located in St. Joseph State Hospital. Four floors of dioramas spanning the history of mental illness treatments are shown in use on donated female department store mannequins.
This museum is located at 3408 Frekerick Avenue in St. Joseph. Admission is $6.00 for adults. Visit their website at
2. Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation Museum, Jefferson City
While veterinary medicine is not in itself strange, this museum is indeed special. It is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to veterinary medicine. Its mission is to preserve the history of veterinary medicine by providing a museum, library and educational center. It holds more than 3,500 interesting and unusual artifacts dating from the 1st century to present day. It includes a hands-on learning center for kids.
This museum is located at 2500 Country Club Drive in Jefferson City. You can visit
for hours and information.
3. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium, Branson
When you put “Odditorium” in the name, you’d better expect some odd. Eight ever-changing galleries hold over 450 unique artifacts, unbelievable art, crazy illusions and wacky interactives. Be prepared to get a little grossed out. Spend time perusing with a sensational self-guided tour. Ask yourself if you “Believe It or Not” when you experience the amazing world of Robert Ripley!
This wacky museum is located at 3326 W. 76 Country Blvd. in Branson. For more information, visit
4. Leila’s Hair Museum
You think you know about hair? Come to Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence and former hairdresser Leila Cohoon will tell you how much you DON’T know. An avid hair collector, Leila is enthusiastic about hair art. She created the museum and now has an impressive collection of all manners of braided wreathes made of hair, a popular decoration in the Victorian Era. Hundreds of framed pieces cover the walls, most at least a hundred years old, and are accompanied by odd and historical stories. Other objects made of hair like jewelry, bookmarks, and buttons are also on display.
Leila and her museum are located at 1333 S. Noland Road in Independence. Visit
for more information.
5. American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, St. Louis
You have to appreciate The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog. It is home of the world's finest collection of art devoted to all things dog. The facility in Queeny Park in West St. Louis houses over 700 original paintings, drawings, watercolors, prints, sculptures, bronzes, and porcelain figurines, and other unique art objects depicting man's best friend throughout the ages. For added interest, part of the museum is in the historic 1853 Jarville House.
This museum is located at 1721 S. Mason Road in St. Louis. Visit their website at
or you can watch this video:
6. Titanic Museum Attraction, Branson
It may seem strange to want to enjoy and interact in a place dedicated to a huge tragedy, but this museum attraction manages to do just that. Interactive galleries tell the stories of the passengers and crew who sailed the Titanic. You enter Titanic through a stucco iceberg wedged into the side of the ship. You become a former passenger by being issued a "boarding pass" with the name of a Titanic passenger or crew member. You won't find out if you live or die until you're almost to the gift shop.
Costumed historical interpreters really bring the Titanic to life with men in officer uniforms, women dressed as chambermaids, and various other “roles.” It sounds like the Titanic, too, with foghorns, clanking bells, muffled voices, and barking from behind a door labeled "Dog Kennel." A sign tells you “Try To Shovel Coal Into The Furnace,” and when you do, placing the shovel with the glued-on coal into the boiler elicits a whoosh of pleasing combustion. Near the end of the tour you finally discover your fate in The Memorial Room, scanning for your name on a glass wall.
This museum attraction is located at 3235 W. 76 Country Blvd in Branson. For more information, visit their website at
7. Laclede's Landing Wax Museum of St. Louis
Madame Tussaud's this is not; this museum is like nothing you have seen before. Life-size wax replicas of famous figures, real & fictional, are housed in a circa-1885 3-story former warehouse plus the basement. The basement is where you’ll find the truly weird, with replicas of horror scenes and scary monsters and all that chills.
This truly unique museum is located at 720 North Second Street in St. Louis, in what is known as Laclede’s Landing. Visit
for more information.
8. The Space Museum, Bonne Terre
Visit Earl Mullins, Space Museum curator and founder, at The Space Museum in Bonne Terre. He is very interactive with visitors and encourages people to touch things. The collection includes artifacts from space from Earl’s personal collection of rockets, ray guns, spring-loaded moon shoes, and more, together with some objects on loan from NASA. The museum opened in 2005 in a building that once belonged to the Bonne Terre Lead Mine. Earl rotates exhibits frequently to keep things interesting and offers a one-hour audio tour when he’s not available to be your personal guide.
Find Earl and his museum at 116 E. School Street in Bonne Terre, or visit his website at
9. City Museum, St. Louis
Once the International Shoe Company building, a 600,000 square foot structure now houses a majestic world. The City Museum has an amazing outdoor jungle gym, an enchanted system of caves to wander, the amazing World Aquarium and MonstroCity. You can also slide down spiral slides that travel either 5 or 10 stories. On the roof there’s a destination of its own with a 1940s Ferris wheel, more giant slides, skipping fountains and an unbelievable panoramic view of St. Louis from on top of a giant dome.
You can find this unique treasure at 701 N. 15th Street in St. Louis, or visit their website at
10. World’s Largest Small Electric Appliance Museum, Diamond
Are you into small appliances? A man named Richard Larrison in Diamond has collected over 7,000 percolators, waffle irons, hot plates, blenders, mixers, razors, hair dryers, popcorn poppers, and fans. You can also have a hot-dog cooked with the “hot dog electrocuter!” There is no admission, but Richard appreciates donations, “to help pay the electric bill.”
Richard’s unique collection is located at 51 Hwy 59 in Diamond.
11. Jesse James Wax Museum, Stanton
Did Bob Ford really gun down Jesse James in 1882, or did Jesse live until 1951? This one-of-a-kind museum asks you to be the judge. You see a live film of Jesse James and examine the photographs. Observe wax figures and displays telling the story. Marvel at the $100,000 collection of vintage firearms and personal belongings of Jesse and his gang.
This museum questioning history is located off of I-44 exit 230 on old Route 66. Admission is $8 for adults and $3 for kids (under 5 free).
12. Vacuum Museum and Factory Tour, St. James
Located on the lower floor of the Tacony Manufacturing Plant in St. James, the museum is dedicated to memorializing the rise of the modern vacuum cleaner, traced through the decades since 1900. Experience the start of the vacuum cleaner. The museum was set up in decades featuring different vacuums from each era and "Did you know?" tips on the walls. The Tacony Plant made the Air Force One vacuum for George W. Bush, and provides tours to check out the production in action.
This ode to all things vacuum is located at 3 Industrial Drive in St. James. Admission is free.
13. Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis
A haven for any doll or miniature collector, this museum features permanent and rotating exhibits of miniature dolls, furniture and accessories. Doll houses, vignettes and room boxes depicting all eras in miniature. There is also a gift shop and a library devoted to miniatures.
14. Patee House Museum, St. Joseph
Located next to the house where Jesse James was shot, this museum features quite an unusual collection. A luxury hotel in the 19th century, the red brick building is four stories tall and occupies a full city block. The director of the museum is Gary Chilcote who was one of the first employees of the museum when it first opened in 1963, so he knows his stuff. Inside, you’ll find exhibits like a 1920s gas station, an Olympic torch, the dentist office of Walter Cronkite’s father, spittoons, WWI howitzer, Missouri license plates, a full size steam train on its tracks, and steam whistles.
The eclectic mix of oddities even includes a “murder room,” filled with weapons that have been used by people from St. Joseph to kill people. You'll find an axe a housewife killed her husband with, a hammer used to beat someone to death, and a lynching rope. Besides grimmer topics like this, there are shop replicas like a photographer’s shop, an 1880 general store, and an 1877 railroad station. With so much to see and such a strange mix of topics and items, you could spend hours wandering around.
This museum is located at 1202 Penn Street in St. Joseph.
15. Remember When Toy Museum and Village of Cedar Falls
Go back to your childhood at this toy museum featuring more than 20,000 toys on display. Visit a recreated 1950s car repair shop with car tools and memorabilia, plus 20 antique cars from the 1950s. In addition, there is an authentic malt shop from the 1950s with a jukebox and an old-fashioned soda machine. Finally, explore the circa 1800s village’s pioneer post office, hardware store, general store, and dry goods store. Interestingly, there is also a fully operational, old-fashioned country school from the early 1900s with a current enrollment of 15 students.
This museum is located at 19481 State Highway B in Canton. Admission is $5, but group rates are available. Find out more at
16. Lyle Van Houten’s Automotive Museum, Clarence
Although from a distance Lyle Van Houten’s appears to be a working gas station from the past, upon closer inspection you will find it is instead a unique museum. Vintage cars filled with era styled mannequins sit at the historic pumps. The interior of the station can be viewed from the large plate glass windows and it is filled with trinkets, photos, artifacts, and mannequin attendants. Lyle Van Houten, the former owner who ran the station for 40 years before turning it into this unique tribute to the past, is a vintage car collector. His displays include cars like a vintage police cruiser, a sedan, and a taxi filled with his appropriately dressed mannequins (except for the taxi with marching band monkeys…not sure what that’s all about). Another strange feature is that the station is adjacent to a cemetery.
This interesting and unique site can be found off highway 36 in Clarence. Check out this video:
17. The Money Museum in Kansas City
If you’ve ever wondered about how our financial system works, you might check out The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. They offer a free, up-close look at the nation's financial system in action. Fun and interactive exhibits teach you about the Fed and explore banking, the economy and how monetary policy decisions impact your family. Test your strength and lift a solid gold bar. Have your photo placed in the center of custom designed currency that can be emailed home. Check out a four-story cash vault, then keep exploring to see automated robots move the money. You can also attempt to detect if currency is counterfeit. Bonus: all visitors take home a bag of money! Shredded, unfortunately.
This museum is located next to the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and within a block of Crown Center in the heart of Kansas City. On your way out, stop by the Vault Store for official Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City merchandise and financial education materials. Free admission and parking, but a valid, government-issued photo ID or passport is required for all visitors over the age of 18.
Which of these places would like to visit? Have you already been? What are some other unique museums? Tell us in the comments below.