Museums for people who don't like museums
On your next vacation, why not visit a museum of bad art, or take in a history of lunch boxes through the ages.
By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Remember when you were a kid on vacation and your mom dragged you from the beach to take you to some dry-as-dust museum for a "wonderful educational experience?"

You poked along past exhibit after exhibit wondering when it would ever end as your mom extolled the virtues of the patina on some pewter candlesticks. Dad didn't look too happy either.

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It doesn't have to be that way.

Wouldn't the art critic in you rather go to MOBA (the Museum of Bad Art) than MOMA.

Photo Gallery: 6 museums for museumhaters

It calls to mind the son of a friend named Lucas. He was about 16 at the time and, after a couple of weeks spent with his family enduring the cultural treasures of Tuscany, with their Fra Filippo Lippis, Michelangelo's, da Vincis and church art of every age, the family finally wound up in a very special place in San Gimignano: the Museum of Torture.

The museum's extensive collection includes more than 100 devices ranging from thumbscrews to iron maidens."You have every form of torture known to man here," Lucas wrote in the museum comment book, "except for the family vacation."

He would have had a lot more fun if the family had visited some of the museums of oddities that America seems amply blessed with. These range from ones focused on pop culture to more serious studies of the esoteric and anomolies.

It seems like there's a museum for nearly every interest. And if there isn't one for something you cared about, start one yourself.

Louise Sacco, a curator with MOBA, recommends that. She says her involvement with pushing bad art before has been "great fun."

And many of the founders of these unusual institutions have become minor celebrities, appearing on such television shows as "I've Got a Secret" to "The Tonight Show."

But more than anything else, visiting one of these museums may be the perfect way to spice up a family vacation. It may be the only part of the trip your teenager even remembers.

Photo Gallery: 6 museums for museumhaters

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