8 Innovative Museums That Offer Unique Experiences

People often think of museums as quiet, prestigious places full of intricate paintings and dusty artifacts from the past. But if that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, it doesn't mean that there isn't a museum out there for you. The unique institutions on this list cover fun topics like spies and play and use innovative, hands-on exhibits to engage their visitors. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Unique Museums In The United States

Organization Location
Museum of Man San Diego, CA
Please Touch Museum Philadelphia, PA
The Beat Museum San Francisco, CA
Museum of Food and Drink Brooklyn, NY
Museum of Death Hollywood, CA & New Orleans, LA
International Spy Museum Washington, DC
Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm Tamworth Village, NH
Strong Museum of Play Rochester, NY

8 Great Movies That Feature Museums

  1. Night at the Museum (2006)
  2. Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (2001)
  3. Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)
  4. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  5. The Museum (2017)
  6. Tourist Trap (1979)
  7. Ocean's Eight (2018)
  8. Museum Hours (2012)

Ways To Engage In Lifelong Learning

  • Visit a museum
  • Read both fiction and non-fiction as often as you can
  • Teach others what you know
  • Explore new places
  • Start a creative project, like a vlog or podcast
  • Get a good desk for your home
  • Join a study group
  • Take a hike through nature
  • Listen to different types of music
  • Look up words you don't know in the dictionary

Why Museums Should Activate Multiple Senses

In Depth

If you are looking for a unique and innovative museum experience, consider visiting one of the eight museums on this list. Some of them feature subjects that you might never expect to find in a museum, or niche topics you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Others push the boundaries of what museums can be, with fun and fascinating interactive experiences. Now, in no particular order, here are eight unique and innovative museum experiences that you should check out for yourself.

#1 on the list is the Museum of Man in San Diego, California. The setting of the Museum of Man in the California Building in San Diego's Balboa Park is in itself remarkable. Balboa Park is a 1200 acre green space which is home to 17 museums, including the Museum of Man. Built as part of the Panama Exhibition of 1915, the California Building eventually became a permanent museum of anthropology. The San Diego landmark was also briefly featured in Orson Well's classic Hollywood film, "Citizen Kane."

The Museum of Man features an eclectic mix of exhibits on topics such as Cannibals, Beer, and the bond between humans and animals. Learn about the Maya people, Ancient Egypt, and Native Californians. Children will enjoy interactive play in the Monsters exhibit, and archeological tasks in the Adventure Kids in Egypt. In the PostSecret exhibit, visitors can view a curation of Frank Warren's famous collection of anonymous secrets written on postcards. Please visit museumofman.org for more information about this fascinating museum.

Children will enjoy interactive play in the Monsters exhibit, and archeological tasks in the Adventure Kids in Egypt.

#2 on the list is Please Touch Museum. Located in Philadelphia, PA, Please Touch Museum is dedicated to teaching children to learn through play. At many museums, children are told, "Don't Touch." Please Touch on the other hand, encourages children to interact with exhibits which are designed to engage their curiosity and sense of play. The museum is best suited for children from six months to eight years old.

Please Touch Museum features two floors of exhibits that target different areas of learning, such as fine motor skills, communication, STEAM literacy, and critical and creative thinking. There are various play settings, including a grocery store, a campsite, and an Alice in Wonderland themed challenge. If children need a break from activity, there is a quiet story time area where they can relax. Please Touch also features a classic carousel ride. Visit pleasetouchmuseum.org to learn more about this fun children's museum.

#3 on the list, The Beat Museum is located in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, which was once the vibrant center of activity for an influential group of writers known as The Beat Generation. The Beat museum celebrates the lives of Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady. The museum strives to educate the world about the Beat Generation, and to keep alive their philosophy of tolerance and following one's truth.

The museum strives to educate the world about the Beat Generation, and to keep alive their philosophy of tolerance and following one's truth.

The Beat Museum showcases beat related memorabilia, including personal belongings, letters, and rare books. The museum wants visitors to understand the cultural impact that the Beat Generation had. Many creative people claim the beats as an influence, as evidenced by famous visitors to the museum, such as Patti Smith, Jimmy Page, and Van Morrison. The Beat Museum invites the public to get involved, become a member, and donate Beat related materials. Visit kerouac.com for information about visiting this important literary and cultural museum.

#4 On the list is the Museum of Food and Drink. The Museum of Food and Drink takes the museum experience out of the glass case and turns it into a sensory experience. The museum creates exhibits with the belief that food is a participatory experience that must be understood through taste, touch, and smell. For instance, Flavor, the debut exhibit at the MOFAD Lab, allowed visitors to explore the science behind taste through interactive smell, and taste stations.

MOFAD's mission is to examine food from various angles of history, ethics, culture, technology, production, science, and commerce. It is working to grow a permanent collection with these considerations. Visit MOFAD to learn the history and culture of cuisines, while also tasting them. Find out about tickets, events and exhibits at mofad.org.

It is working to grow a permanent collection with these considerations.

Coming in at #5 on the list is the Museum of Death. The Museum of Death's mission is to educate the public on the taboo topic of death. At locations in Los Angeles and New Orleans, visitors can view memorabilia and artifacts related to death, and each location features its own unique collection. There are antique funeral objects, photos from crime scenes, coroner's instruments, and the largest collection of art by serial killers in the world.

Because of the graphic nature of many of the artifacts on display, the museum is recommended for mature audiences. Children are welcome only when accompanied by an adult. Keep in mind that the subject matter may be too upsetting for some people, and visitors have occasionally fainted. Tickets must be purchased in person at each location, but don't worry, the Museum of Death never sells out. Out of respect for the dead, photography of any kind is strictly prohibited. Visit museumofdeath.net for more information on this interesting and unusual museum.

At #6 on the list is The International Spy Museum, in Washington, D.C. The International Spy Museum allows visitors to understand the history and significance of espionage, and view the ingenious spy tools of the past. There are also nods to spies in pop culture, including James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, from the 1964 film, Gold Finger. The Spy Museum allows you to test your spy skills with its Undercover Mission experience. When you enter the briefing theatre, you will be given a cover identity, and an RFID badge so that you can test your spy skills during your mission. Enter your badge number online after midnight on the day of your visit to see how you did.

Enter your badge number online after midnight on the day of your visit to see how you did.

Visit the International Spy Museum to learn about aspects of intelligence work, such as information analysis and codebreaking. Consider problems that modern intelligence agencies face. Learn about the dangerous hidden operations that often secretly shape world events in exhibits such as Propaganda, Lethal Action, Deception, and Sabotage. Visit spymuseum.org to learn more about this intriguing museum.

#7 on the list, the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, offers visitors a chance to learn about life in rural New Hampshire. The Remick Country Doctor Museum is one of three in the U.S., and the only one in New England. The Reddick family owned this historic property for six generations, from 1779 until 1993. Two country doctors in the Remick family practiced there. The Country Doctor Tour of the Captain Enoch Remick House offers visitors a glimpse into 19th and 20th century medical practices in the two hundred year-old family home.

The Remick Museum keeps the past alive by offering visitors various traditional farm activities throughout the year. Visit Remick during the Harvest Festival to take part in apple cider pressing, dyeing fabric from plants, and dried corn grinding. During the Winter Carnival and Ice Harvest, you can take part in the New Hampshire tradition of ice block cutting. The museum also offers year round "History-Based Learning" through fiber arts, such as spinning, sewing, weaving, and quilting. Be sure to check out what's going on seasonally as you plan your visit to this fun historic site and working farm. Go to remickmuseum.org for more information about Remick.

During the Winter Carnival and Ice Harvest, you can take part in the New Hampshire tradition of ice block cutting.

#8 on the list is The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The Strong Museum is dedicated to the study of play and its interpretation. Visitors can view the very first Monopoly set, as well as a marvelous collection of rare antique table top games. Comic book lovers will enjoy early comic books and radio scripts from the 1940's. Kids will have fun with the interactive activities in the Field of Play exhibit, and get to act like super heroes at Super Powers School. If you like video games, check out the eGameRevolution exhibit and play Giant Tetris, or four person Pac Man.

The Strong Museum claims the most complete toy and play related collection in the world. This includes board games, historical materials, documents, electronic games, video games, dolls, and books. This means, that The Strong Museum also functions as an important center for researching toys and play. The Strong collections are open to researchers and students by appointment. Go to museumofplay.org to find out more about this fun and educational museum.