It’s officially autumn, which means Halloween is right around the corner. In order to get you into the spirit of Halloween, we found this year’s candidates for the creepiest, oddest, and most interesting museums and exhibits you can visit around the country.
In the previously unutilized, but newly renovated first floor gallery of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, over twenty ancient mummies are on display for the first time. This was developed by the Field Museum in Chicago, and the traveling exhibit houses the largest collections of mummies in North America—including one of the oldest mummies in the world. Divided into two sections focusing on Peru and Egypt, you can learn about the daily lives, beliefs, and rituals of each society, as well as how these ancient peoples prepared their loved ones for the afterlife. The exhibit also includes sarcophagi, mummification tools, and mummies of birds, cats, and crocodiles.
In addition to the artifacts and mummies themselves, you will be able to see how scientists are using CT scanning and 3D printing to non-invasively study the mummies without unwrapping them, ensuring that they will remain preserved for years to come. With the use of interactive touch tables throughout the exhibit, you can digitally unwrap mummies and see this new method of
One of the most unique aspects of this exhibit is the Gilded Lady. A mummy from ancient Egypt, she is on display for the first time in over a hundred years, having been stored in the Field Museum’s vault since 1893.
Using CT scanning, scientists were able to discover she was 40 years old, had an overbite, and Cleopatra-like curly hair. They were also able to piece together how she might have looked back when she was live. Next to her display is a hyper-realistic, 3D forensic bust, complete with hair and a pair of gazing eyes, which allows you to come face to face with her as she would have looked
when she was alive thousands of years ago.
Mummies: New Secrets From the Tombs opened September 18 and runs through January 18, 2016. Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 12 and younger.
In the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Southwest England sits Dismaland, a bizarre pop-up art exhibition and theme park from the mind of Banksy, one of the world’s most famous and thought provoking graffiti artists.
The “Bemusement Park” resembles an apocalyptic Disneyland, complete with a decrepit castle, a merry-go-round, and an eerie Ferris wheel, all on a neglected brown pool filled with trash.
The park features the work of 58 artists from around the world. Some of the more striking pieces include: remote controlled boats filled with figurine migrants (pointing to the current refugee crisis), an overturned pumpkin carriage with Cinderella’s dead body slumped over the side while paparazzi snap photographs (alluding to princess Diana), and of course, the dark and dilapidated Disney castle from hell, which is the most identifiable piece (obviously taking a shot at the Disney corporation).
There are also functioning carnival rides and games that are shamelessly rigged to make winning impossible. The staff is made up of locals who act gloomy and inhospitable to really emphasize the anti-corporate theme park theme. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of a day at Disneyland—which is, well, the point they’re trying to make.
Dismaland opened August 21, and will close on September 27. Tickets are only $5 a person, but only 4,000 tickets are allocated each day, so they may be difficult to come by.
Spiders are creepy. I think it might have something to do with having eight eyes, or eight legs, or hair, or how fast their angular legs move when they scurry across the floor or up a wall. Whatever the reason(s), spiders creep us out—and that’s why they are synonymous with Halloween. But just because they’re ugly and creepy doesn’t mean they aren’t a vital part of our natural
At the American Natural History Museum in New York, New York (which happens to house the largest collection of spiders in the world—over one million!) there’s a temporary exhibit called Spiders Alive! This exhibit gives you the chance to learn all about spiders: their anatomy, their venom, their silk, eating habits, and the important roles they have in the ecosystem.
It focuses on seeing different spiders up close, as museum staff will be handling 16 species of live spiders, including the World’s biggest spider—the Goliath Bird Eater—and the famous Black Widow.
In addition, the exhibit also has informative videos, fossils, and larger-than-life models to educate the public on all things arachnid.
The Spiders Alive! exhibit runs through November 29. Tickets are $22 per person.
Watching scary movies is one of the best ways to get into the Halloween spirit, and the Dungeon of Doom exhibit in the basement of The Hollywood Museum in Hollywood, California houses some of the most famous sets, props, and costumes from popular thrillers.
You can walk through the actual prison corridor used in Silence of the Lambs and stare into the cell where Anthony Hopkins gave us the willies in his portrayal of one of the creepiest serial killers known to grace the silver screen—Hannibal Lecter.
You can also come face to face with some of the scariest cult classic horror villains, including Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Michael Myers from Halloween, Chucky from Child’s Play, and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th.
The extensive movie prop collection houses props from Psycho, The Exorcist, The Walking Dead, and more. For those who scare easy, perhaps it’s best to stay on the upper floors of the museum, which houses some of Hollywood’s most famous (and less scary) props, costumes, and sets. We’re talking about things from Rocky, Men in Black, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, just to name a few.
This exhibit is open year-round, and tickets cost $15.
If you’re in the Cincinnati area this month, consider paying a visit to one of the most specific and unique museums in the country: The Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, just six miles south of Cincinnati.
Housing the world’s largest collection of ventriloquist dummies (over 800) and a vast assemblage of ventriloquist memorabilia (some of which dates back to the 1700s), the Vent Haven museum declares itself “the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism.”
You can take a guided tour of the museum and even try your hand (literally) at ventriloquism with one of the dummies. Non-flash photography and video recording is permitted—just in case you wanted to prove to your friends and family that such a place actually exists (or that you’re not creeped out by ventriloquism dummies). The tours are available by appointment only, unless
there is an ongoing special event.
The Vent Haven museum also hosts the “largest and oldest” Ventriloquists Convention in the world. Last year, 543 attendees from 12 countries made their way to the ConVENTion to show their appreciation for one of mankind’s most outlandish art forms.
The Vent Haven Museum is open seasonally from May until the end of September. Tickets are $10.
Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. The Abominable Snow Man. Do they exist? The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine seems to believe so—they have the distinct honor of being the “World’s only Cryptozoology Museum.”
Cryptozoology is defined as “the study of hidden animals.” Although it may be pseudoscience to most people, the fact that a TV show called Finding Bigfoot is currently in its eighth season on Animal Planet suggests there are plenty who believe in the existence of such creatures.
The museum has over 10,000 items on display, including hair samples from Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, Yowie, and Orange Pendek. You’ll also find baby Yeti poop, life size models of various cryptids, and an array of letters, testaments, and other evidence that suggest that there are monsters living among us.
Whether you take cryptozoology seriously or not, the Cryptozoology Museum in Maine is one museum where no one can complain of boredom.
The International Cryptozoology Museum is open year round, and tickets cost $7.
For more information about Halloween events and activities, check out:
- Catacombs & Ghosts: The Dark Side of Paris
- Beyond the Maze: Halloween Events at Historic & Haunted Places
- Tombstone Tourism: Cemeteries to Visit Around the World
- Day of the Dead Celebrations: Mexico’s Hungry Ghosts
By Randall Nye for PeterGreenberg.com