8 Offbeat Museums in L.A. That Celebrate the Weird and Unique
A relic from the Museum of Broken Relationships
As the local art scene continues to flourish, many of L.A.’s major museums are finally getting the attention — and praise — they deserve. But there’s plenty more to this scene than the Getty, the Broad and LACMA.
In fact, L.A. is home to a rich landscape of offbeat museums for more niche interests. From a museum that houses a collection of meteorites to a monument to the mundane relics of failed relationships, there’s no better place in L.A. to celebrate the odd than one of the following local institutions.
Courtesy Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships
The concept behind this Croatia-born museum is one that most everyone can relate to: honoring the items that remain when lovers part ways. The museum's second permanent location, which opened in Hollywood in June, offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in other people's heartbreak, as well as to donate the things they've been hanging onto. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as you admire the collection, which includes everything from a box of old mixtapes to a vial of someone's pubic hair, along with the funny, melancholy stories behind them, detailed on printed cards next to each item. As cathartic and healing as it is painful and heartbreaking, the museum is, at its core, an ode to the human experience. 6751 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 892-1200, brokenships.com.
International Printing Museum
Located in Carson, the International Printing Museum is dedicated to illuminating the history of books and printing through its extensive collection of machinery and tools. The gallery was opened in 1988 and has since operated as a nonprofit, helping to collect and present an impressive collection of printing presses, including a replica Gutenberg press and the newspaper machines that took off during the Industrial Revolution. The museum also helps to educate the community through school tours, the annual Printers Fair and a packed calendar of themed events. 315 W. Torrance Blvd, Carson. (310) 515-7166, printmuseum.org.
Photo by Ryan Orange
Museum of Death
As may be obvious by the name, this museum isn’t exactly for the faint of heart — or stomach — as it features a collection of artifacts related to people's (sometimes violent) deaths. This includes crime-scene photos and artifacts from the Charles Manson crime scenes, the beheading of the Blue Beard of Paris, the Black Dahlia murder and many more. The museum also features videos of autopsies, serial killers and deadly cults, as well as a body bag and coffin collection — what more could you ask for from a museum dedicated to the deceased? Understandably, the gallery is geared toward more mature audiences — you’re going to want to leave the kids home this time. 6031 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-8011, museumofdeath.net .
Museum of Jurassic Technology
In all its wonder, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the Museum of Jurassic Technology is — but it’s certainly not a typical museum, that’s for sure. In its best description, the museum focuses on artifacts from the early Jurassic period (referred to as the Lower Jurassic by the museum) that demonstrate evidence of very early technology, but one of the museum’s defining characteristics is its inability to fully commit to a single theme or discipline. So there’s a good chance you’ll ask yourself, “Where the hell am I?” multiple times while wandering through the permanent and special collections. The actual items within the galleries don’t help much, as they include fruit-stone carvings, evidence of a stink ant of the Cameroon and an early botanical clock. Your guess is as good as ours, but it’s certainly an experience you’ll never forget — and one that offers an interesting commentary on the function of museums themselves. 9341 Venice Blvd., Culver City. (310) 836-6131, mjt.org.
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