Museums aren’t all collections of cavernous chambers full of dusty, old relic after dusty, old relic (not that dusty, old relics can’t be interesting!). There are some Regent Holidays has encountered on its travels that have caused us to re-evaluate our perceptions of what exactly a museum can be; from fertilizer factories to tiny Macedonian sheds, there is certainly no shortage of weird and wonderful museums across the world. Here are five of our favourites…
Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori, Georgia
Providing a somewhat biased view of the notorious dictator’s life, this museum is more of a propaganda-filled shrine to Georgia’s most famous son than a museum, but is nevertheless endlessly fascinating. Built around the quaint shack where Stalin was born and lived in until he was four years old, the museum complex itself is an intriguing Greco-Italiante style building. Inside you will find nothing about gulags or purges or the millions who perished under the brutal leader’s reign, but instead an assortment of items bearing Stalin’s face, his personal effects and furniture, bronze carvings and grossly exaggerated reports of the “good” he did for Russia. Also at the museum is Stalin’s armour-plated personal railway carriage.
Photo by Martijn Munneke.
Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, Hamhung, North Korea
Ok, an outing to a fertilizer factory may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a rare thing indeed for outsiders to be given permission to see normal North Koreans go about their daily lives in a fully functioning place of work and this is one of the very few places that opens its doors to visitors. A visit to the complex, located in North Korea’s second largest city, Hamhung, is made the more intriguing as it was recently subject to a visit from Kim Jong Il, during which he tasked the workers with helping solve the country’s food scarcity problem – a rare admission by the aloof leader of the continuing struggles that face the country.
Photo from Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
Alfred Mirek Museum, Moscow, Russia
Enjoy a traditional Russian musical experience at the Alfred Mirek Museum in Moscow. With a large collection of Russian harmonicas, bayans and accordions, this is an authentic and unique glimpse into a side of Russian culture that often gets overlooked by tourists. The museum is located at 18 Ul. 2nd Tverskaya-Yamskaya and the nearest metro station is Mayakovskaya.
The China Bee Museum, Beijing, China
Gain a new and comprehensive understanding into the life of the humble bee at the Bee Museum of China, located in the capital within the picturesque Beijing Botanical Gardens near Fragrant Hills Park. With three exhibition halls respectively encompassing the origin and fossils of bees, the history of bee culture and the cultural origins between bees and people, your head will be buzzing with fascinating bee knowledge such as how they create honey, the art of bee keeping and the meanings of various bee dances.
Photo by storyvillegirl.
Dzepcishte Ethnographical Museum, Macedonia
Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest ethnographical museum, this mini marvel is one of the undoubted highlights of a trip to Macedonia. Located in the pretty village of Dzepcishte in the shadow of the St. Bogorodica monastery, the museum covers an area of just 7.2m2 (roughly the size of a toilet cubicle in the Louvre) and can only admit one visitor at a time. Despite its size, over 1,000 items are on display here, each giving a unique glimpse into the local culture and history.