Strange Museums in Brooklyn

In a town where a couple of locals once launched a kickstarter to open a Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding Museum in their hallway, it’s no surprise that Brooklyn is home to an assortment of odd museums. Yet these aren't museums usually featured in NYC tourist guides, and I bet some locals aren't familiar with spots on this list. Hopefully the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding Museum will makes its Brooklyn debut, but until then, enjoy your long strange trip around Brooklyn's strange museums.

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Coney Island Museum

Home to the Coney Island Sideshow and Sideshow school, this museum founded by Dick D. Zigun, the inventor of the Mermaid Parade, pays tribute to Coney Island’s past with exhibits showcasing videos and memorabilia from this colorful area with a storied past. The museum is open in the spring on Saturdays and Sundays 12pm - 5pm. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, it’s open Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm - 7pm. 

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The House of Wax

House of Wax at Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse, photo credit Victoria Stevens

When the Morbid Anatomy Museum closed its doors in December 2016, Brooklyn was left with a gaping hole. The beloved museum and library located in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn offered classes on how to taxidermy a mammal head. We all hope the museum will reopen in some form. However, if you're a fan of macabre, be sure to visit the House of Wax at the Alamo Drafthouse. This bar doubles as a wax museum. In fact, "most of the objects displayed in "House Of Wax" are the remnants of a largely forgotten popular exhibition known as Castan's Panopticum. Founded in Berlin in 1869 and lasting until 1922, Castan's was a museum its German contemporaries described as an "Allesschau," a "show of everything." Warning, if it's too much for your stomach to take (there are incredibly graphic images),  you don't have to look, just sit at the bar and enjoy a creepy cocktail like the Napolean Death Mask (Cognac, Cardamaro, Cynar, Rhubarb bitters, Bacon, Salt) or a Butcher of Hanover (Fernet Branca, Carpano Antica Formula, Lemon, IPA, Angostura). You'll definitely feel as if you're on a set for a film at this funky new addition to downtown Brookly

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Enrico Caruso Museum

This two-story house in Brooklyn is a museum dedicated to the late opera singer Enrico Caruso. The museum, founded and curated by Aldo Mancusi, houses an extensive collection of Enrico Caruso memorabilia. The museum is open on most Sundays by appointment. The museum hosts a lecture series, on April 12th they will present The Life and Times of Pavarotti, check their schedule for other upcoming lectures. 

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Waterfront Museum

Step aboard the historic restored seaworthy barge docked in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The Lehigh Valley No. 9 is open to the public on Saturdays from 1-5pm year round and also on Thursdays from 4pm-8pm in warmer months. Explore the vessel, see the Captain’s original living quarters, and a collection of tools used by longshoremen and stevedores. They also have a whirling ball machine, which is a fantastic permanent art installation that mesmerizes both kids and adults. 

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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City Reliquary

City Reliquary

This quirky Williamsburg storefront museum pays tribute to New York with a collection of New York City artifacts. Currently on display ay The City Reliquary is Mazel Tough: Jewish Gangsters of New York: 1900 – 1945,  Illustrated Portraits by Pat Hamou. And yes, there is a portrait of Meyer Lansky. The museum is open on Thursdays through Sundays from 12-6pm. 

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