MapMuseum pieces

Tapeworms, chamber pots, barbed wire - if anyone ever wishes to open a museum dedicated to odd museums, these would be the prime contenders

"Not only parasite-lovers, but `lovers' come and watch charming and pretty parasites," claim the promoters. From his humble beginnings in a single room in 1953, founder and financier Dr Kamegai has seen his project expand to fill a six-storey building, boasting 20 previously undiscovered species and, the piece de resistance, a 27ft tapeworm. Preserved in their natural environment - many still embedded in their original host - are over 45,000 specimens, including those that you would find in your own abdomen. "I'm sure you realise how wonderful the parasite's world is," they remind us.

In 1978 a benevolent local, Mrs Jessie Brierly, donated her entire collection of 120 completed jigsaws to create this unique gallery. Inaugurated in 1979 and still the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, the collection has grown through donations from generous visitors. The museum now boasts what the curators claim is the world's smallest wooden jigsaw - the 7x6cm 99-piece "Swedish Ferry".

Dubbed "The Quackery Hall of Fame", this museum houses crackpot cures charting over 100 years of medical inanity. Many of the inventions still work (allegedly), so why not try the foot-operated breast-enlarger pump, "Crazy Crystals" (horse salts which eliminate the need for crutches), soap which washes off excess pounds and a pair of weight-reduction glasses. The "Timely Warning", patented by Dr Foote in 1905, is an aluminium device used to prevent "amorous dreams" (which "destroy the memory and weaken the mind") by waking the wearer in the nick of time.

Flying the flag for British engineering history, curator Brian Radam has put on display over 200 lawnmowers of "rare historic value", including Rolls-Royces, Hawker Siddleys, Royal Enfields and Suffolk Iron Foundries (which also built the Bouncing Bomb). Tracing the history of the machine as far back as 1799, the exhibition features racing lawnmowers, toy lawnmowers and a section entitled "Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous" boasting items once owned by celebrities such as Margaret Thatcher, Hilda Ogden and Charles and Diana.

Founded in 1991 in La Crosse ("The Barbed Wire Capital of the World", apparently), the Barbed Wire Museum houses over 700 different varieties of barbed wire - from the original handmade variety to wire from the Berlin Wall before its demolition - as well as one of the world's largest collections of fencing tools. Enthusiasts can also attend the city's annual barbed wire "Swap and Sell" where collectors' pieces change hands for sums in advance of $300, or they can test their fence-mending skills by entering the World Champion Splicer competition.

Formerly located within the Hanky Panky tattoo shop, the Tattoo Museum was forced to relocate to larger premises as "the collection was rapidly growing out of its jacket". Re-opened in 1996 in the centre of Amsterdam's red-light district, the new museum displays examples of body art from ancient times to the present day. Notable exhibits include a 2,000-year-old mummified arm (thought to be female) from pre-Inca Peru and the skin of a late-19th-century whaler's forearm bought at auction in England, now preserved in a jar of formaldehyde. There's an even earlier maritime specimen that was apparently removed from a corpse in Indonesia.

Last year, Jan Bucquoy, film-maker, anarchist and friend of the revolutionary pie-thrower Noel Godin, turned his large, suburban house into what he described as an anti-establishment statement designed to provoke a coup d'etat. Exhibiting underpants formerly worn by Belgian television presenters and other native celebrities may not be the most tried and tested way of inciting revolution but, according to Bucquoy, just 10 visitors would be enough. The museum is only open on Sunday mornings, which may help to explain why the Belgian royal family still occupy their throne.

This male "members-only" institution came into being when Sigurdur Hjartarson turned his private collection into a museum with the help of a grant from Reykjavik council. Human exhibits include the "Latin American Chocolate Man", examples of Egyptian circumcision and "The Camden Clothes Hanger" as well as specimens from some of Iceland's native mammals such as walruses and whales. The museum also houses the Icelandic Institute of Phallilogy and a particularly interesting gift shop.

Believing the chamber pot to be an important and unfairly neglected part of history, curator Manfred Klauda has amassed a collection of nearly 9,500 in his small house museum, earning himself a place in The Guinness Book of Records. As well as commodes once owned by luminaries like "Iron" Chancellor Bismarck, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and Queen Marie Antoinette, the exhibition includes more prosaic examples such as a British musical pot from the Second World War with Hitler's face painted inside.

Apparently the Viennese in particular, and Austrians in general. have a special place in their hearts for the subject of death and feel it entirely appropriate to have a museum dedicated to the history of funerals and the art of the undertaker. The exhibition is not particularly large and should you wish to view its collection of tombstones, hearses, mourning outfits and coffins (in a variety of materials and made to measure for "any size of wallet"), you will have to make an appointment. As they say in Vienna: "It was a nice funeral".

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor