Weird museums are 2017's oddest travel trend: From the world’s oldest pencil to Dr Seuss

Next year sees the launch of a number of important cultural institutions – and some downright strange ones

Georgina Wilson-Powell
Wednesday 28 December 2016 19:42 GMT
Legendary German electro duo Kraftwerk belong to a tradition of EDM in the country, which is opening two museums dedicated to the subject
Legendary German electro duo Kraftwerk belong to a tradition of EDM in the country, which is opening two museums dedicated to the subject

Museums don't tend to be too serious and stuffy these days – Icelandic penis museum, we’re looking at you. And while there are some big mainstream openings in 2017, like Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, or Abu Dhabi’s long-awaited Louvre, we’re more interested in the offbeat collections flinging open their doors next year. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to.

The Postal Museum, London, UK

One hundred years ago London’s post was delivered by mail rail deep underneath the city, carrying up to four million bits of post a day (and it was all delivered at breakfast, imagine!). The new Postal Museum that opens mid-2017 has restored the underground railway as an interactive experience and created an institution dedicated to the very first social network. We say you better visit post-haste. (

You can delve down into the Mail Rail tunnels at London's new Postal Museum

The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult, anywhere you choose

A paranormal museum that turns up on your doorstep? Spooky. The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult is taking bookings for 2017, so you can summon the only mobile collection of haunted objects to your town. We're told that among its exhibits are a crying mirror that shows terrifying visions and a creepy-looking doll called Ruby who can make people feel ill. Unlike most museums, you’re actually allowed to handle the stranger things… if that seems like a good idea to you. (

Would you invite these two to bring the paranormal to your town?

The Amazing World of Dr Seuss Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts, US

“You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself/In any direction you choose.” As long as it’s to the Dr Seuss museum in Springfield, Massachusetts. Visit the good doctor’s studio, unleash your inner child in the interactive exhibits and see the collection of zany ties and hats the surreal poet favoured. The museum is due to open in June. (

A museum dedicated to Dr Seuss opens this summer

Cumberland Pencil Museum, Cumberland, UK

Look sharp, the Cumberland Pencil Museum is reopening in the spring. This thrilling spot claims to be the home of the world’s first pencil – the humble writing instrument has been made in the area for hundreds of years thanks to local graphite mines, which are recreated inside. (

The Living Archive of Elektronika and Museum of Modern Electronic Music, Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany

Ah Germany, a country so hip that not one but two EDM museums will open in 2017. The Living Archive of Elektronika has been founded by legendary club Tresor’s owner Dimitri Hegemann, and will open in the former Berlin industrial plant that hosts his club early this year. It promises to “recreate the feeling of listening to techno in a dark basement just after the fall of the Berlin Wall”. Which, er, sounds good to us. Over in Frankfurt, the creation of the Museum of Modern Electronic Music is pulsing along nicely, and will feature exhibits on DJs, instruments, the history of techno and “sensory experiences”. Knowing the German club scene, that could prove interesting. It's slated to open by the end of the year. (

The legendary Tresor club is being turned into a museum dedicated to EDM

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