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Weirdest Museums In Baltimore

July 22, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Credit: www.ripleys.com)
Do you have a curiosity for the unusual, offbeat or strange? There are a number of wonderfully weird exhibits that can be found in many Baltimore-area museums.

American Visionary Art Museum

American Visionary Art Museum

800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(410) 244-1900
www.avam.org

Leave traditional art to other museums. The American Visionary Art Museum delves into the imaginative world of the artists. Starting with the museum itself, the very buildings and surroundings are a work of art. The outdoor “Bling Universe” includes mirrored objects, such as the Cosmic Galaxy Egg, Gallery Bus and Mosaic Wall. More than 4,000 pieces from all over the world are housed within the permanent collection. A special exhibition, “The Art of Storytelling: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth,” runs through Sept. 1. It utilizes both the traditional medium of sculpture and film, as well as more unusual graffiti and embroidery to show the material impact on stories. The AVAM hosts a yearly kinetic sculpture race which encourages creativity alongside friendly competition. Participants create a large piece of art, much like a parade float with the exception that it must travel on land, through mud and in harbor waters, not aiming to come in first but the very middle of the pack. The museum is also the location for Flicks from the Hill, showing movies in the naturally created amphitheater between Federal Hill and the museum. Stop by this year to see Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” (1954), Johnny Depp in “Cry Baby” (1990), “The Never Ending Story” (1984) and more.

Related: Best Bizarre Statues Or Public Art In Baltimore

Baltimore Tattoo Museum

1534 Eastern Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21231
(410) 522-5800
www.baltimoretattoomuseum.net

Tattoos have become more mainstream and socially acceptable, though they’re not typically thought of as traditional art. The Baltimore Tattoo Museum in Fells Point is also a tattoo and piercing parlor. The history of this body art is put on display to educate the public of electric tattooing in America from the late 1800s to modern day. From the simplest designs to more intricate creations, the collection includes black and grey work, cartoons, flash designs, portraits, animals, custom work and even popular tattoos featuring hearts, skulls and butterflies.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Light Street Pavilion
301 Light St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(443) 615-7878
www.ripleys.com/baltimore

Touting the saying that truth is stranger than fiction, the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, or “Odditorium,” at the Inner Harbor contains more than 500 exhibits in a collection of the strange, unusual and odd. The museum was founded by Robert L. Ripley who explored 201 countries within 35 years searching for the unexplained, acquiring exotic artifacts along the way. Within the museum, there is a 4-D moving theater and a mirror maze. You can also discover amazing exhibits featuring pop culture including a Hogwarts School made completely of matchsticks and a Jimmy Hendrix portrait made of guitar picks.

Star Wars Toy Museum

Meerkat Meade House
811 Camp Meade Road
Linthicum, Md. 21090
www.meerkatmeade.com

A staple in American film for the last 30 years, there are few, if any, who are unaware of the Star Wars franchise. Thomas G. Atkinson’s nonprofit museum boasts an impressive collection of more than 13,000 pieces of Star Wars memorabilia, from Millenium Falcon models to replica light sabers and even a Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head. You’ll find trading cards, action figures, toys, posters, clothing and traditional household objects. What began with the purchase of a T-shirt and poster after seeing Episode IV: A New Hope continues thanks to generous donations. All that is Star Wars themed is preserved and exhibited from floor to ceiling. As this museum is located in Atkinson’s private home, visitors must make an appointment before stopping by.

Madame Tussauds

1001 F St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
(866) 823-9565
www.madametussauds.com/Washington

If meeting your favorite celebrity or politician makes your jaw drop, wait until you see their wax look-alike. Figures of Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and more all pose for photos, even the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Girls will flock to the most recent addition, Justin Bieber, though you should catch the Sept. 11 exhibit, on display through August, depicting firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero. This weird medium has won numerous awards and is rated highly among museums to see in D.C.

Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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