The World’s Strangest Museum

Velveteria is one of the World's Strangest Museums

Velveteria is one of the World's Strangest Museums

Bunnies, bad art, and Burt Reynolds—the world’s strangest museums showcase some of the world’s quirkiest passions.

From October 2008

Thank You Travel and Leisure for listing us as one of the World’s Strangest Museums!

By Joshua Pramis
Travel + Leisure

But many of the world’s quirky museums are projects driven by a singular vision and agenda, which is often to increase the appreciation of something very specific. At the Velveteria, a museum in the East Burnside district of Portland, Ore., that something is velvet paintings—and its owners have collected more than 1,000 of them.

The Museum: During a 1998 reading at the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans, the concept of a museum dedicated to velvet paintings was discussed, and since then, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, now museum co-owners, began collecting, opening the Velveteria in 2005. The gallery can display up to 350 paintings, but the entire collection exceeds 1,000 items.

The Exhibits: One of the more notoriously unusual paintings in the collection is the Unicorn Combover which depicts the mane of a unicorn wrapped around the head of a young woman. And the black light room may call to mind college days; as it implies, black light illuminates the paintings.

Whatever the topic, and whatever the appeal, these oddball establishments have been drawing in visitors of all ages and backgrounds for years. Times and tastes change and particular museums come and go, but as long as people maintain their affinities for the unusual, strange museums will always be around.

See Travel + Leisure slideshow of the World’s Strangest Museums.

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