Art Works Blog

Strange Sightings at Blue Star Museums

Some of our participating Blue Star Museums offer more conventional collections than others. There are incredible works of art, important artifacts from our past, and wonders from the natural world. Then there are other museums that showcase a whole lot of mustard. The quirky, colorful items featured here are by turns wacky and mind-boggling, and prove that there truly is a museum for every taste. 

 

House covered with beer cans

The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas. Photo by flickr user Clem

Beer Can House (Houston, Texas): In this case, the object at hand isn't in a museum collection: it's the museum itself. In a project that took 18 years, John Milkovisch "re-sided" his home with flattened aluminum beer cans, and continued the theme with beer can garlands and boozy latticework. It's estimated that more than 50,000 cans were eventually used to

adorn the house.

 

Group of nails and buttons

Items surgically removed from the stomach of a patient, on display at the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. Photo by flickr user Kelly Garbato

Glore Psychiatric Museum (St. Joseph, Missouri): The 1,446 objects shown above were all surgically removed from a patient suffering from pica, a disease characterized by compulsive eating of non-nutritive, largely non-food items. Although ice and dirt are common cravings for individuals with pica, this particular patient, who did not survive surgery, had an unfortunate appetite for nails, buttons, thimbles, and safety pins.

 

Dog figurines dressed as royalty

Detail from a miniature version of a French chateau. Image courtesy of the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures (Tucson, Arizona): Sprung from the collection of Patricia and Walter Arnell, the Mini Time Machine has entire worlds recreated in the smallest of scales. There's a tiny fairy castle, witch's lair, violin shop, historic homes, artist studios, Santa's workshop—the list of "tiny delights" goes on and on. There are even two miniature dogs dressed as loyalty living in a replica of a French chateau. Which alone makes the museum worth a visit. Tiny royal dogs!

 

Collection of beetles

A partial view of the beetle collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of flickr user Don Rogers

Harvard Museum of Natural History (Cambridge, Massachusetts): The Harvard Museum of Natural History has all sorts of fascinating things on display: preserved sea creatures, skulls of early human ancestors, rare minerals, and fossils of now-extinct species. But this eye-catching display features something we rarely think of as beautiful: beetles. Although the museum represents only a sliver of the more than 350,000(!) known species of beetle, it's still a gorgeous, eye-opening display.

 

National Museum of American History (Washington, DC): How do fast food restaurants ensure their sandwich buns are consistently the perfect shape and height? The bun gauge, of course. Although not currently on display, the gauge features height and diamater measurements for McDonald's Big Macs, regular burgers, and quarter-pounders.

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