• Angad Chowdhry

A Virtual Visit To Offbeat Museums in the USA

The USA has over 35,000 museums. As we wait for them to reopen, our team probed the internet for interesting and underrated museums worth visiting.

Old World Charm

With many of us feeling nostalgic about the past and latching onto historical books, TV series, and experiences, The Met Cloisters in Manhattan promises a journey through the Middle Ages.

Cloisters were places to reflect and recharge back in the day. Complete with original medieval European architecture, exquisite artwork, and a gorgeous view of the Hudson river and the Palisades, the Met Cloisters are a great place to spend the weekend, away from the rush of big cities.

The complex consists of a castle, church, monastery, and portal, each giving a glimpse of medieval life. It also has beautiful gardens with a variety of plants and herbs, including aromatherapeutics.

The Tenement Museum is another interesting place to visit in New York City’s Lower East Side. As a nation shaped by immigrants, the museum displays personal belongings and other material history of immigrants and refugees who came to America between 1860 and 1930.

The museum’s guided tours offer a peek into immigrant life, while the museum’s podcast highlights personal stories that are usually left out of history textbooks.

Food Brands and Memorabilia

If food is a reflection of culture and tradition, then why not have museums for food items too, right?

Over the last decade, numerous food museums have emerged in many parts of the USA, UK, and Europe. They seek to set everyday food products against the broader landscape of history and culture of the time. Be it SPAM’s canned products, JELL-O, Tabasco sauce, or even New England Maple, there are museums dedicated to each of these common food items (and popular brands) in the USA.

Our favorite, though, is the National Mustard Museum that has over 6000 kinds of mustard from all 50 states of the USA and 70 other countries! The museum was set up by Barry Levenson and is located in Middleton.

The Salt And Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg is another fascinating place, containing over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world!

If you have a sweet tooth, the Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum & Candy Store and Museum of Ice Cream are not to be missed.

Literary Inspiration

They say every second person is writing a book these days. It’s never a bad time to seek inspiration from eminent writers like Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Mitchell, among others.

The Ernest Hemingway House and Museum in Key West offers 20-30 minute guided tours of the estate. Visitors have access to the beautiful garden and grounds as well, and can also meet the 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats that reside here! Fun fact: each cat is named after a famous person, in true Hemingway style.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis is an extraordinary resource that contains Vonnegut’s books and typewriters. They hold regular readings and (now virtual) events, so if you’re a Vonnegut fan, head here.

Pop Culture, Games, and Spies

Pop culture fans might enjoy the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. Known for their immersive experiences, they now offer online events, view-your-own movie screenings, and live stream workshops.

The National Videogame Museum in Frisco is a fun museum for gamers. It showcases the American video game industry’s history, and visitors can experience an 80s arcade, see the evolution of consoles, and learn more about historic games.

The International Spy Museum is another fascinating place. While Washington DC is laden with the most amazing museums, this one is underrated. From testing your spy skills to learning more about past spymasters and code-cracking techniques, there’s a lot to experience here.

Virtual Tours

There’s no better time to take a virtual tour of the world’s best museums and galleries than right now. Here’s a list of the 75 best virtual museum tours that you can experience from the comfort and safety of your home — we hope you’ll sit back and enjoy some of them this week.

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