Museums are competing over who has the creepiest object, from ancient human fingers to bizarre taxidermy

The Yorkshire Museum has launched its latest curator battle on Twitter

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 21 April 2020 10:05 BST
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Many Twitter users were repulsed by this strange 'mermaid' with rotting teeth
Many Twitter users were repulsed by this strange 'mermaid' with rotting teeth

Museums around the world have been challenged to share the creepiest objects they can find in their collections.

The competition is the latest in a series of weekly curator battles launched on Twitter by the Yorkshire Museum, which has been forced to close during the coronavirus lockdown.

The museum kicked off the new battle with a picture of a hair bun from the burial of a Roman woman in the third or fourth century.

Other establishments in America, Canada, France and Germany have responded with exhibits such as bizarre taxidermy and jewellery made from human fingers.

Many Twitter users were repulsed by a strange “mermaid” with rotting teeth shared by The National Museums of Scotland.

The German History Museum, meanwhile, revealed a scary beaked plague mask from between 1650 and 1750.

In Oxford, the Pitt Rivers museum posted a picture of a “sheep’s heart stuck with pins and nails, to be worn like a necklace for breaking evil spells”.

And the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds presented an iron mask it believes was designed for public humiliation.

Millicent Carroll at York Museums Trust said: “It is great for us and other museums to be able to still share our collections with the public when our doors are closed. We just hope we haven’t given anyone any nightmares!”

Many museums have been forced to close their doors amid the pandemic, and arts bodies recently warned that many would “not survive” lockdown.

For the best virtual museum tours to enjoy from your own home, check out our guide.

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