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Going to a museum is no longer considered an upper-crust activity — that is, as far as the world's first pizza museum is concerned. Set to open its doors this summer in Philadelphia, Pizza Brain is the life's work of Brian Dwyer, a professional collector of pizza memorabilia. The exhibit is so expansive, in fact, that Dwyer holds the Guinness World Record for having the largest collection of its kind in the world (561 items, when the record was given in July). And believe it or not, Pizza Brain is not the only outrageous food-themed museum out there.
Strangely enough, there are a number of museums around the world dedicated to a host of culinary delights, ranging in focus from currywurst to Jell-O to vinegar.
Some of these shrines are filled with collectibles and merchandise associated with certain foods and brands, like the National Mustard Museum, which houses more than 5,300 different types of mustard. Others serve to educate the public about the darker side of a given brand, such as the Bionic Burger Museum, which displays Big Macs that have been immortalized by nothing other than time (and remain uncannily unchanged). Still, some of the places on this list have been created simply for historical purposes, like the Idaho Potato Museum, which showcases the state’s longstanding history with potato farming.
Here is a look at some of the most over-the-top food museums in this category. Leave a comment below if we missed your favorite.
Museum of Burnt Food — Arlington, Mass.
Remember the old adage: One man's burnt toast is another man's museum exhibition. The Burnt Food Museum has been honoring "culinary disasters" for more than 20 years. The museum includes a private exhibition of burnt items featuring everything from the classics (toast, blackened bagels) to the funny (charred lemons, shriveled tangerines, ashes of Hot Pockets), and artists have donated renderings of items like appliances and burnt waffles. A few times a year the exhibit opens to public viewing.
Bionic Burger Museum — Online
Len Foley’s unique collection started when he learned of a chance occurrence in 1989 — a young man bought two Big Mac burgers from McDonald’s, ate the first, and then placed the other in his jacket pocket to save for later. A year passed before he realized that the burger was still his pocket, and when he retrieved it he discovered it in the exact same condition it was when he bought it (though a bit colder, naturally). Struck with such awe and inspiration, Foley decided to dedicate his life to immortalizing Big Macs and displaying them.
International Vinegar Museum — Roslyn, S.D.
Lawrence Driggs, the self-proclaimed "Vinegar Man," has dedicated his life to collecting and curating the first and only museum celebrating vinegar. Not only can visitors look through the vast selection of vinegars from around the world, but they’ll also be educated about the cooking uses, heritage and origins, and historical trends associated with the acidic condiment.
The Currywurst Museum — Berlin, Germany
Immerse yourself in the culture and history of this popular German snack food. At The Currywurst Museum, visitors can enjoy the Spice Chamber, where they can taste and sniff distinct currywurst flavoring blends, or explore what it’s like to own their own currywurst snack bar.
The Jell-O Gallery — LeRoy, N.Y.
Did you know that Jell-O was one of the first products sold door-to-door? Increase your trivia knowledge about this iconic treat with a trip to The Jell-O Gallery. The museum currently features an exhibit on how Bill Cosby has influenced the Jell-O industry.
Click here to see more bizarre food museums.
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