Posted by: Megan | July 18, 2007

Hidden Gem Museums …


Are you a museum buff? If so then Lisa Dempster has started to compile a worldy list of her favourite museums that might take your fancy …

So we all know that Bilbao’s Guggenheim is amazing, ditto New York’s Natural History Museum and London’s British Museum. Sometimes, however, it’s those quirky little places that you stumble across that you end up remembering for years to come. So here’s my list of great hidden gem museums – probably not worth taking a trip to see specifically, but definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. (In no particular order…)

1. Doll Museum, Yokohama Japan

Packed with over 13,000 dolls from around the world, this colourful – and sometimes a little creepy – museum is a one-stop shop for learning everything you never really wanted to know about dolls, like how dolls relate to everyday life and why dolls were historically important (to ward off evil spirits – cool!).

2. City Gallery, Melbourne Australia

Located in a tiny space, the City Museum hosts quirky exhibits about Melbourne, and is usually free. You never know what to expect here – an illuminating past exhibit was on the history of public loos in Melbourne.

3. Forensic Medicine Museum, Bangkok Thailand

Severed limbs, picked body parts, brains, and unidentifiable things floating in jars await in this strange museum. It’s bizarre, gross, stomach-turning… and yet strangely compelling.

4. The Belgian Centre for Comic Strips, Brussels Belgium

There are several permanent galleries in this centre, and roving events, so there is always something interesting to see here – the highlight being, of course, original comic stills and drawings from Tintin and the Smurfs!

5. The Clink Prison Museum, London England

So bad it’s good. If droopy mannequins dressed in old clothes and heavy torture devices are your thing, you’ll love this museum. Situated in an old prison, it does have a creepy atmosphere, and I reckon it’s better value for money than the nearby multimedia spectacular that is the London Dungeon tour.

takenbylisa.jpg ‘The Clink Dummy’ – taken by Lisa Dempster

What are your picks…?

By Lisa Dempster

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  1. At the base of Mt Sinai in Egypt is the St Katherine’s Monastery – well known for the horticultural care of the descendant of the Burning Bush – but on an upstairs level, not at all advertised, is a museum. We nearly balked at the $3 entry fee (stingy backpackers!!), but fortunately for us, the price was waived once we indicated we were staying in the Monastery’s guest house. And once inside, we almost missed an absolute gem. It has awesome religious artefacts and books, second in value only to the Vatican. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the Sinai…

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