They don’t call it Holly-weird for nothing. Los Angeles has a reputation for always being a touch odd under the surface. Whether it’s a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time face peeking under a Botox®ed veneer, an underground band making noise on its rise to the top, or a strange museum hiding in the shadows of the bright lights, L.A. is a kingdom of the delightfully strange.
When it comes to the city’s eccentric collection of artifacts and exhibits, you can expect a peculiar time. Here are only some of the weirdest museums to explore in town. And you may just find yourself running into Michael Jackson impersonators, wannabe socialites, and little dogs in baby carriages on the way there. This is L.A., after all.
Heartbeat Optional, Nerves Required
There’s a saying in Hollywood that the best die young. It’s hard to walk more than a few steps in Los Angeles without running into images of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Humphrey Bogart plastered around town. L.A. certainly isn’t crypt-ic when it comes to their love of all things glittery and morose. If tragedy and infamy liven up your senses, head over to the Museum of the Death. Check out artifacts from famous crime scenes, a body bag and coffin collection, replicas of execution devices, and artwork from notorious serial killers. A full tour should take about 45 minutes—or as long as your living stomach can stand it.
Where Peter Rabbit Can Afford Rent in L.A.
If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a couple living in Los Angeles with the largest collection of bunny memorabilia in the world (include their own embalmed rabbits), you’re in luck! There is such a wacky couple who call Los Angeles county home. Partners Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski opened The Bunny Museum after their small collection of bunny accessories began to populate more and more space in their home. The museum is still their actual abode, and is now filled with stuffed toy bunnies, bunny ceramics, live bunnies, and embalmed former pets. Self-dubbed the “Hoppiest Place on Earth,” it won a certificate for the largest collection of bunnies in the world in 1999 and continues to reign without any hare-apparent. Let that be a lesson: it’s not hoarding if the Guinness Book of Records gives you an award year after year.
The Smell of Strange
Remember that cheap perfume from Aunt Sue you never wore? Maybe she was on to something. The FIDM Museum and Galleries houses a wide range of rotating collections, ranging from movie costumes, to avant-garde fashions, to perfume bottles. No matter what you prefer to whiff and sniff, the scent collection spotlights the history of perfume and how the creation and marketing process has changed throughout the decades. Check out a line-up of funky perfume bottles, which include moose-shapes, fur coats, and gold plates. From threads of the Mad Hatter, to Dior’s fall collection, to animal-inspired perfume, it’s all here.
Night of the Not-So-Living Clown
If you feel like your vacation isn’t complete without a few sideshow clowns, the CIA is ready to help. The California Institute of Abnormalarts (CIA) is a bizarre museum slash music venue. Rhyme and reason matter far less here than chaotic displays of antique figurines, odd stuffed clowns, circus signage, and screens showing clips of old sci-fi and horror movies. The building transforms into an off-the-wall music scene on select days, where artists like Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber are the last sounds you’ll hear in the echo chamber.
La La Land is a city of wonders both grotesque and beautiful. Whether you’re into collections of handbags or body bags, this is the town for you.
Which odd Los Angeles museum strikes your fancy the most?
Featured Image: Flickr/Creative Commons/Matthew FaltzVia/https://flic.kr/p/bTPTE6