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Offbeat Museums In Massachusetts

Friday, May 18 is International Museum Day. But you've been to the Museum of Science, the MFA and the Gardner Museum. Are you up for a completely different museum experience? Check out some of the most offbeat museums in Massachusetts.

Museum of Bad Art

Museum of Bad Art

580 High St
Dedham, MA 02026
(781) 444-6757

A giant orange cat with a man in its mouth and a sculpture of a little red man in a straight jacket are among hundreds of works that rotate their way through display at the Museum of Bad Art. Perhaps Massachusetts' best known offbeat museum, MOBA aims to bring "the worst of art to the widest of audiences."

Lizzie Borden House

Lizzie Borden House & Museum

92 2nd Street
Fall River, MA 02721
(508) 675-7333

She was acquitted of the crimes, but local lore says Lizzie Borden slayed her father and step-mother with an axe inside this Fall River home. It has since been turned into a Bed & Breakfast and museum. You can stay overnight in the infamous rooms, drop in for a tour, or visit the gift shop to buy a Lizzie bobblehead or some hatchet earrings.

(credit: AP)

Porter Thermometer Museum

49 Zarahemla Road
Onset, MA
(508) 295-5504

Where can you find the largest private collection of thermometers in the world? In Onset, of course. Both Guiness and Ripley's have recognized retired school teacher Richard Porter's collection. There are thousands of thermometers in his basement museum, which is always open if he's home. If you're going out of your way for a visit, be sure to call ahead.

The Plumbing Museum

The Plumbing Museum

80 Rosedale Road
Watertown, MA 02471

Bathtubs, sinks, toilets, chamber pots and piping through the ages. Open by appointment only, this Watertown museum chronicles the evolution of plumbing. Why not?

Museum of Useful Things

Museum of Useful Things

5 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Rubber bands that are 7 ½ feet long, 50 year calendars and the 'thumb thing' are among the finds at this Harvard Square spot. It actuality, the MUT is more store than museum. It features all sorts of random, useful stuff.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

125 West Bay Road
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 658-1100

Founded by the beloved children's author and artist, this museum examines picture book art from all over the world. Explore the artistic works, read your favorites in the library, and have the whole family create their own masterpieces in the art studio. The museum shop offers art supplies and picture books galore.

New England Pirate Museum

New England Pirate Museum

274 Derby Street
Salem, MA

Explore a pirate ship, discover hidden treasures, and come face to face with swashbucklers as you wind your way through a dark cave. This Salem museum offers interactive exploration of 17th and 18th century New England pirates like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.

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