Explore Las Vegas

Six Fun Unique Museums in America

If history and science just aren’t for you, there are still so many extraordinary exhibits to see in the United States. 

From the serious to the silly, there seems to be a museum dedicated to just about everything in America these days. We'll focus on the latter category, with the more unusual museums around the United States, where subject material ranges from household items like toilets and spices to cultural concepts and historical movements. Get excited and pay attention; you're bound to come away with unique information to help you at the next trivia night or as an opener for your next social gathering.

Six American Museums That Are Out of the Ordinary

Pittsburgh - Heinz History Center

You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see the giant neon Heinz ketchup bottle. The entire Heinz History Center isn’t dedicated to the gloopy red condiment, but it does make up one of the exhibits. The large facility is made up of several floors with exhibits spanning the local glass industry, African American history and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, along with an entire floor dedicated to the sports museum. Plan on spending at least a couple of hours bouncing around to the areas that catch your attention. 

Heinz Ketchup Bottle | WhereTraveler
Heinz Ketchup Bottle (©Pedro Durigan)

Las Vegas, NV - Neon Museum

Bright lights, big city! The Neon Museum is where Las Vegas's iconic signage retires. The display is best seen at night when the restored signs come to life with a guided tour complete with stories about the origins of the Vegas Strip. The adjacent Neon Boneyard also has additional neon signs and iconic imagery from the city's past. Sign up for their Brilliant! Jackpot tour for exclusive access to their gallery of unrestored signs, illuminated via projector and accompanied with music, for another way to access these unique artifacts. 

The Neon Museum Boneyard Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
The Neon Museum Boneyard (©Lyle Hastie)

New Orleans, LA - Museum of Death

Not for the faint of heart, the Museum of Death is perfectly placed in New Orleans, a city known for its history with voodoo and the occult. Tucked into the French Quarter, you’ll find exhibits on body preservation practices, serial killers and true crime, cannibalism and how death is addressed in different cultures. No photos are allowed inside due to the graphic nature of some of the displays and images, so consider yourself warned. 

Human Skull | WhereTraveler
Human Skull (©Lina White)

Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum

You don’t have to be musically inclined or know how to play an instrument to have a good time at the Musical Instrument Museum. Over 15,000 devices are on display, divided up by geographic region and with sections dedicated to famous musicians, conservation and the science of music. The Experience Gallery is a must, with instruments available for hands-on exploration, particularly for children. Time your visit just right, and you can even take in a concert on site. 

String Instrument on Display | WhereTraveler
String Instrument on Display (©Lucia Macedo)

Las Vegas, NV - Mob Museum

Like most of Vegas, this museum is probably best suited for adults. Located in the former downtown courthouse, The Mob Museum spans four floors and nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibits focusing on the people, events and artifacts from the early days of Las Vegas crime and law enforcement. The museum takes a hands-on approach, even including a speakeasy located in the basement, complete with a distillery. Before you head down, be sure to check out the interactive crime lab and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre wall.  

Fingerprint Reader at The Mob Museum Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
Fingerprint Reader at The Mob Museum (Courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau)

San Jose, CA - Winchester Mystery House

Part haunted house, part historical landmark, the story behind the Winchester Mystery House is as spooky as its owner. Learn all about the multimillion-dollar architectural wonder in San Jose, including the strange stories and mishaps around its decades of construction, and decide for yourself whether the mansion is haunted or just unlucky. In addition to the stories, the architecture and grounds are fun to tour for those interested in the time period and style of the early 1900s.

Winchester Mystery House at Night San Jose California | WhereTraveler
Winchester Mystery House at Night (©Bella Mannaro)