When I found this website 3 years ago, I made a copy of its contents and vowed to visit a couple of the recommendations since its source was Time magazine. The subject of this website was “The 10 Weirdest Museums in the World”. Time, I figured, should know what’s weird. Now there are several websites on this subject, but I have stuck with Time‘s and have made it to 2 of the 10. Neither deserved to be called weird. One of the 2 I made it to was not Time‘s #1, the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which is “dedicated to all things penile”. It still exists and promotes itself as “probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens….”
The 2 Ruth and I have been in are not about hair and toilets, which seem to be on most of the weird lists. They’re #5, the Museum of Broken Relationships. and #10, The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum. The one about broken relationships, which I have written about, is in LA. The 1st one is in Croatia, and I haven’t been to it. However, the woman who runs the one in LA told me that her museum was similar to and based on the one in Zagreb. The one in LA was more sad than weird. Those who became the subjects in this museum were apparently asked to provide a memento of a broken relationship for display purposes. Next to it was the story of the relationship in far too many written words. It was wearying and a bit depressing reading about so many failed human bonds.
I think I know why a barbed wire museum made this list when it wasn’t weird at all. You just had to be interested in the subject to appreciate it. Lots of folks are. There are barbed wire museums and collectors in several states. I have been to and written about the one in Texas where I learned about the people who collect examples of barbed wire and attend meetings where they share information about their passion. I understand this fever. Ruth had an uncle who collected 19th century glassware. All of his treasured pieces are still somewhere, collecting dust.
The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum is in La Crosse. This small town is 22 miles south of Hays, which is just off I-70. Ruth and I went to La Crosse this summer and found this barbed wire museum very similar to the one in Texas. Time’s list judged it weird because its compiler found it hard to believe that “there’s really an entire museum dedicated to barbed wire”. Not only was it dedicated, it contained more than 2,400 varieties of it. The La Crosse man who gave us a personal tour of and insisted on pointing out his favorite displays gave me a paper called “THE WIRE THAT WON THE WEST”. It claims that this invention thought up by a Texan named William H. Meriwether in 1853 has received about 450 patents. Meriwether’s was patent #1. However, there are more than 2,000 different barbed wire designs sought by collectors because many were created in, say, blacksmith shops and were never patented.
I think the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum was on Time’s list because of the other museum on its premises, the Post Rock Museum. The citizens of LaCrosse thought post rocks would attract today’s travelers, who would love to hear the story of industrious pioneers who were far from trees but found layers of rock nearby to make buildings and, in this case, artifacts composed of and related to post rocks. Now that’s weird.