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Old 08-02-2019, 06:14 AM
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Strange Museums (as in, way too specialised)


mixdenny (pencil sharpener museum) and WildaBeast (mustard) brought us here (from this thread).

It prompts the obvious question: what weird and/or absurdly specialised museums have you visited, or indeed chosen not to visit, or perhaps are simply aware of?

For my part I give you The Chip Museum (as in french fries) in Bruges, Belgium*. I love Bruges. Frankly, there's plenty to do there without visiting museums. Even sensible ones. We opted not to.

So what have you got? And did you actually visit?

j

* - OK, I accept that, given Belgium's national obsession with frites, from a local perspective this may be hardly specialised at all. But anyway.
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:47 AM
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I've always managed to resist the urge to visit Barometer World, which is not too far from where I live.
Maybe one day...
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:24 AM
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There's the Barbed Wire Museum in LaCrosse, Kansas.

Tucson has the Mini Time Machine Museum which is miniature houses and dioramas. I've visited it a few times.

There is apparently an accordion museum in Superior, Wisconsin.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:42 AM
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It prompts the obvious question: what weird and/or absurdly specialised museums have you visited, or indeed chosen not to visit, or perhaps are simply aware of?
These are all ones I'm aware of:
QI clued me into the existence of the Cabinet of Lost Noses, and now I must visit it.

Also on my list is the the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, the Avanos Hair Museum in Turkey, the Dog Collar Museum in England and possibly top of the list, the Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:01 AM
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Reykyavik has a pretty famous Penis Museum.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:37 AM
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Parasite museum.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:56 AM
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There’s a marzipan museum in Szentendre, Hungary, which even has lifesized figures made out of marzipan (so, like a wax museum.) Madison, Wisconsin, has a mustard museum. And here in Chicago we have a museum of surgical sciences.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:05 AM
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There’s a marzipan museum in Szentendre, Hungary, which even has lifesized figures made out of marzipan (so, like a wax museum.) Madison, Wisconsin, has a mustard museum. And here in Chicago we have a museum of surgical sciences.
Technically The Mustard Museum is in Middleton, not Madison. Separate towns (though they've grown out to each other these days).

Part of La Specola in Florence, Italy, is devoted to was anatomical figures. I looked at a few then sat on the steps of the area and basked in the A.C. while my dad checked them out.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:25 AM
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Stark's Vacuum Museum here in Portland, Oregon.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 08-02-2019 at 09:26 AM.
  #10  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:28 AM
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There had been The Nut Museum in CT, run by a little old lady. I think she’s since died.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...t-lady-returns
  #11  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:04 AM
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Technically The Mustard Museum is in Middleton, not Madison. Separate towns (though they've grown out to each other these days).
Ah, I've never actually been to that location. I only visited the old one which was ... I think in Mt. Horeb.

Here's a marzipan Michael Jackson from the museum in Szentendre, Hungary.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-02-2019 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:17 AM
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A number of my family members are big fans of the British Channel Island of Guernsey. (I'm not in that select band -- I reckon it a perfectly nice place, but "not all that much of a much".) Our family "Guernsey nuts" have long had an ongoing joke to the effect that even on that blessed isle: you're running short of things to do, if you're starting to contemplate a visit to the Guernsey Telephone Museum. (Which I learn, incidentally, has recently closed; though there is some hope of a revival.)

I get the feeling that I personally would -- although not exactly riveted -- probably find a certain amount of interest in this particular establishment. More so, I'd reckon, than with one dedicated to pencil sharpeners or barbed wire.

www.museums.gov.gg/telephones

Last edited by Sangahyando; 08-02-2019 at 10:19 AM. Reason: addressing wording infelicity
  #13  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:28 AM
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We stopped by the Roswell "Alien" museum on our way to a ski trip.

All the displays looked like cheesy high school projects.

Last edited by Grrr!; 08-02-2019 at 10:29 AM.
  #14  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:36 AM
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I have heard of the Icelandic penis museum, but I have gone past the Cromwell Doll Museum. Outside there is a sign. It says "DOLL MUSEUM".
  #15  
Old 08-02-2019, 11:21 AM
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I love going to all of those "strange"/niche/small town museums when I'm on the road. There's a lot of junk, kitsch and cheesy stuff but I find there's always at least one item that makes the visit worthwhile. One example in particular was at the Kern Valley Museum that had a beautiful pristine B-17 training manual filled with amazing multi-layered transparent overlays.

In the Bay Area there's the Pez Museum in Burlingame, the Bigfoot Museum in Felton and the Crockett Historical Museum with its stuffed record-setting sturgeon.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:57 AM
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During our recent trip to Italy, we stopped by the Joe Petrosino Museum, dedicated to the fearless anti-Mafia shoeshine boy who became the first Italian-American police officer.

The story is actually quite dramatic -- Petrosino pioneered undercover policing techniques still used today, befriended New York City Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, and was murdered in Italy while researching the Sicilian Mafia. The Mafia held a celebration of the killing, at which 20,000 people showed up, either paid or coerced, to demonstrate their power.

Petrosino's body was returned to the US, where Roosevelt (now President), held a funeral parade that drew 200,000 people. The city gave everyone the day off to attend.

Leonardo DiCaprio will play him in an upcoming movie (The Black Hand, predicted for 2020 release).
  #17  
Old 08-02-2019, 12:05 PM
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I've been to the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston. It was a pretty good museum and worth visiting if you're in the area.

The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, on the other hand, can be skipped. It's a glorified gift shop.
  #18  
Old 08-02-2019, 12:06 PM
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I've always managed to resist the urge to visit Barometer World, which is not too far from where I live.
Maybe one day...
Can you resist the PRESSURE to visit it?

The mustard museum was indeed in Mt Horeb

Brian
  #19  
Old 08-02-2019, 12:07 PM
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Technically The Mustard Museum is in Middleton, not Madison.
Hey, tomorrow is National Mustard Day! Is anyone planning on attending the big mustard festival in Middleton?
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Old 08-02-2019, 01:28 PM
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The Salt Palace Museum, in Grand Saline(where else would it be?), TX is pretty interesting. The building is made of salt.
  #21  
Old 08-02-2019, 02:55 PM
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The Salt Palace Museum, in Grand Saline(where else would it be?), TX is pretty interesting. The building is made of salt.
I love how they have a picture of a girl licking the salt wall on their homepage.

That reminds me of when a chemistry prof passed around a big huge crystal of halite, prefaced by warning us how many students of his had licked that crystal over the years.
  #22  
Old 08-02-2019, 03:05 PM
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I really wanted to check out the Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth WA when I was in the area, but there was some kind of cycling event going on and there was absolutely nowhere to park in town. Oh well, maybe next time.
  #23  
Old 08-02-2019, 03:36 PM
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There's the famous Mutter Museum of 19th/early 20th century medical oddities.

And Edward Gorey's actual house is now a museum of his works.
  #24  
Old 08-02-2019, 04:05 PM
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There was a telephone museum in Springfield IL (now closed, it seems) which I found interesting as a former Western Electric person. There appear to be lots of others.

Not small but specialized is the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta, which has the benefit of at least a hundred varieties of soda (all free) from around the world.
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:17 PM
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There is the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
  #26  
Old 08-02-2019, 04:20 PM
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I've sadly missed the Chimney Sweep Museum when I was in Vienna.
  #27  
Old 08-02-2019, 05:43 PM
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Been there, really cool.

The Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans was interesting too.
  #28  
Old 08-02-2019, 06:14 PM
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Just a few miles west of Toledo there is a Popcorn Museum. Mostly popcorn machines, like in theaters, but also a section of history of popcorn, varities, etc. Worth half an hour.
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  #29  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:09 PM
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The Museum for Cultural and Military History Grafenwoehr. It's a museum for the community that's only got a couple thousand resident and a large military training area. That's small but not as highly specialized as the collection that is it's big draw. It's got a pretty decent Elvis collection. Specifically, that chunk of the collection is dedicated to Elvis' time in the US Army.

R. E. Olds Transportation Museum. It's a museum mostly dedicated to the history of one of the pioneers in auto manufacturing and assembly line production techniques. There's some bits added to flesh out the collection with other ties to transportation tech and manufacturing in the Lansing, MI area. Mostly it's a museum about Oldsmobile.
  #30  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:19 PM
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www.jellogallery.org/

I found out this was a thing due to a mid-century recipe blogger www.midcenturymenu.com


some of the stuff she posted from her trip there was interesting in a historical sort of way
  #31  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:37 PM
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I once visited the Cockroach Museum in Plano, Texas. Was really just a pest control shop where the owner took cockroach corpses and put them in dioramas that were based on movie scenes and stuff like that. But it got him on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Last I heard he had retired and moved away, not sure if he still made the "museum" available anywhere.
  #32  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:33 PM
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There is the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.
That's an excellent museum, I've been there a couple of times and there's a lot to learn about history and culture.


One place to avoid is the Salem Witch Museum. There are good museums in Salem, like the Peabody Essex, but the Salem Witch Museum is a tourist trap and not a real museum at all.
  #33  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:45 PM
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I'm not sure this really counts, since it's impossible to classify what this place actually is, but it's interesting and worth a visit:
THE MUSEUM of JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY
  #34  
Old 08-03-2019, 03:21 AM
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When I was a young teen in the early '70's, my friend insisted an obscure museum (that he didn't know the name of) had the mummified penis of Napoleon. I kept telling him how ridiculous that until one day he told me found out the name. Arnie's, located in Waikiki, Hawaii.

We went and it was a torture museum featuring the history of torture devices, including wax statues. The only one I remember being a guy flayed alive with strips of flesh hanging form his back. It was bizarre and interesting, but I kept asking "Where was the penis?". Then, almost near the end, there it was, Napoleon's penis, clearly marked as such! It was dried up and shriveled, in a cloth lined wooden box, recognizable as a penis! We continued through the museum and my friend proudly proclaimed we really saw Napleon's penis. I, on the other had kept insisting how ridiculous it was that 1) it was really a penis and not just a 'something' that resembled a penis and 2) if it was real, why would it have to be Napoleon's and 3) how did it end up in an obscure museum in Hawaii? How silly!

I just did a Google search and just found out that 1) Napoelon's penis WAS supposedly cut off and preserved, 2) was in a wooden box similar to what I remember seeing, 3) was confirmed to be a real penis, though not confirmed to be Napoleon's and 4) was bought by a private collector in 1977 with no history of how it got to the auction. Maybe I DID see Napeolen's penis!

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.5cd4bfaf81a6

Last edited by lingyi; 08-03-2019 at 03:22 AM.
  #35  
Old 08-03-2019, 12:08 PM
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I've always managed to resist the urge to visit Barometer World, which is not too far from where I live.
Maybe one day...
I came in to mention this, which I briefly consider every time I drive past it on the way up to Bideford. The road also goes past Gnome World, but that appears to be a camp ground with some gnomes, rather than a Gnome museum, so I know not to go there.
  #36  
Old 08-03-2019, 02:46 PM
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That's an excellent museum, I've been there a couple of times and there's a lot to learn about history and culture.
My favourite pair of shoes in the Bata Shoe Museum is a giant pair of straw snow boots used by some Japanese islanders to stomp paths through snow drifts.

On a road trip to upstate New York, I somehow convinced my friends into making a side trip to the Kazoo Museum in Eden, New York. It was small, but kind of interesting.
  #37  
Old 08-03-2019, 04:55 PM
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If you're in Gatlinburg, TN, you can visit the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.
  #38  
Old 08-03-2019, 05:03 PM
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Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
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Located in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum opened its doors in June 1986 as the first surfing museum in the world.[5] The lighthouse was built in 1967 as a memorial to surfer Mark Abott, who died while surfing at the nearby Pleasure Point surf break.[6]

Overlooking the Steamer Lane surfing hotspot, this little museum features photographs, surfboards, and videos tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz
  #39  
Old 08-03-2019, 08:01 PM
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Many years ago there was a rare stone collection/museum in Singapore. As soon as I heard of it I was keen to go, my S’porean friends went with, but kept implying it wasn’t likely to be what I was expecting. And they were right! I was expecting rare gems and minerals, lots of carved jade maybe. But it wasn’t that at all.

It was a vast collection of stones and rocks with inclusions that looked like something. All of the numbers, Chinese characters, the entire Roman alphabet! Then numerous animals and combinations of animals, sea creatures, you name it, they had it! Even landscapes and pictorials. It was freaking amazing. These were numerous combined large collections from various sources, but it must have taken ages upon ages to collect them. It’s gone now. I can’t help wondering where?

25+ yrs ago we were staying in Jogjakarta, in Indonesia, and finding it a really lovely city to visit. We’d become fast friends with a bejak driver, (think rickshaw, pedaled from behind!), who’d shown us all the charms of his city. We’d done the water palaces, temples, museums, markets but were still hanging about enjoying our stay. And we wanted to keep paying the driver so when he said there was a museum not in any of the books, we were all over it! He took us a long way to a monstrosity of a decaying colonial building. Inside was an enormous jumble of collected, and preserved samples of wildlife from the jungles and oceans nearby. Most preserved in glass jars. Giant bugs by the hundreds, unimaginable sea creatures. And then there was the bad taxidermy, everywhere you looked, primates, giant snakes and spiders, etc, etc. A truly shocking representation of how packed the place was with all manner of living critters. Some walls were covered in old newspaper clippings of giant creatures pulled from the sea, etc! All of it was packed into two huge halls, every surface was covered, both rooms jammed with ancient cabinets crammed with the stuff. Also, it was absolutely overrun with schoolchildren, mostly under 10 yrs. old. And they were milling and running and loud. It was awesome in every possible way!
  #40  
Old 08-04-2019, 12:37 AM
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There's a sign on a road I sometimes cycle on that says "Rice Museum, next left" or something like that. I've long wondered why there'd be a museum about rice in Hillsboro Oregon, and this thread made me look it up. Of course, it's not about rice, but rather rocks. Kind of humdrum for this thread, though.
  #41  
Old 08-04-2019, 03:15 AM
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Madison, Wisconsin, has a mustard museum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitap View Post
Technically The Mustard Museum is in Middleton, not Madison. Separate towns (though they've grown out to each other these days).
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Hey, tomorrow is National Mustard Day! Is anyone planning on attending the big mustard festival in Middleton?
Norwich, England had its own mustard museum, run by Colman's, the biggest British mustard company. Closed 2017. I went there a couple of times when I was at University locally.
  #42  
Old 08-04-2019, 03:32 AM
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The British Lawnmower Museum:

http://lawnmowerworld.com/

And in Belgium there is a Carrot Museum:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/museum-of-carrots
  #43  
Old 08-04-2019, 07:44 AM
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In the basement of the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA you can find the Museum of Bad Art.

http://museumofbadart.org/collections/

I hear it's looking for a new home, though, so if you're interested...
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:42 PM
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www.jellogallery.org/

I found out this was a thing due to a mid-century recipe blogger www.midcenturymenu.com


some of the stuff she posted from her trip there was interesting in a historical sort of way
I recently went to a wedding in the Rochester area. There were pamphlets about the Jello Gallery in the motels and billboards on the highway. If it hadn't been so long since I saw all of the other relatives attending, I might have made a side trip.

There's the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. I've never been, so I can't give a review.

I've heard that there's a Roto Rooter Museum, where they keep the yearly winners of the longest root removed from a sewer pipe. At one time I could find it by googling, but can't now. Maybe it is defunct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
I'm not sure this really counts, since it's impossible to classify what this place actually is, but it's interesting and worth a visit:
THE MUSEUM of JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY
This is on my bucket list! I once saw a documentary on it and am entranced with it.
  #45  
Old 08-04-2019, 01:38 PM
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The penis museum in Reykjavik is small but it will grow on you. They supposedly have a penis of every mammal native to Iceland - including humans.
  #46  
Old 08-04-2019, 02:08 PM
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There used to be a Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis. It has now gone to a strictly on-line venue.

In Rome, on the Via Veneto, there is the very macabre Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars (scroll down), which features several rooms completely decorated with the bones of thousands of ex-Friars. They don't allow photography, but are happy to sell you postcards.
  #47  
Old 08-04-2019, 03:15 PM
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Ava Gardner has a museum close to me but I have not been there. It's close to where she grew up.

https://www.avagardner.org/
  #48  
Old 08-05-2019, 06:21 PM
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There is a group of engineers and scientists at the University of Minnesota whose specialty is the behavior of tiny particles floating in air -- dust, smoke, fog, mist, and so forth. They have several of the earliest versions of instruments that measure airborne particles, such as differential mobility analyzers, aerodynamic analyzers, laser particle counters, diffusion batteries, condensation nuclei counters, and so forth. They keep these locked away someplace safe but will sometimes show the collection off to guests, and I've been treated to such a show. I think this amounts to an extremely specialized (and unnamed) museum. Or at least, this was the case about 20 or 25 years ago.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:21 PM
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Maybe I should check this out - California Foundry History Museum, Lodi, CA.

Bakersfield has a museum dedicated to Buck Owens. That's pretty specialized. It's part of a music venue.
  #50  
Old 08-05-2019, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
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There is a group of engineers and scientists at the University of Minnesota whose specialty is the behavior of tiny particles floating in air -- dust, smoke, fog, mist, and so forth. They have several of the earliest versions of instruments that measure airborne particles, such as differential mobility analyzers, aerodynamic analyzers, laser particle counters, diffusion batteries, condensation nuclei counters, and so forth. They keep these locked away someplace safe but will sometimes show the collection off to guests, and I've been treated to such a show. I think this amounts to an extremely specialized (and unnamed) museum. Or at least, this was the case about 20 or 25 years ago.
Too bad it's not in Kansas.
d&r
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