For something that pretty much rules most of our lives, we actually know very little about money. You can learn more with a visit to the Money Museum. Run by the American Numismatic Association, the multi-level museum features over 250,000 monetary objects, a permanent exhibit on the history of money, an interactive gallery of American gold coins, experimental pattern coins, and paper money, a minting gallery, and a rotating gallery, currently exploring the money of the Civil War. As you might expect, you'll have to add to their collection with common currency in order to visit.
Think Cleveland is all run-down factories, urban decay, and legendarily-awful pro football? Think again. The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland — better known as MOCA — is a stunning piece of architecture sitting just outside downtown, designed by Farshid Moussavi of London and opened just recently. Inside the angular structure, you'll find multiple levels of installations by both world-renowned and up-and-coming artists, as well as various ongoing exhibition, education, and entertainment programs. Oh, and it's also home to a gift shop that's one of the city's best selections of modern objects and gifts, giving you yet another reason to make a visit.
Theme park fans are well acquainted with the excitement of seeing a favorite ride open after a long renovation — but most of those last for just a few months. The Rijksmuseum will reopen on April 13 after a renovation that lasted nearly ten years. The original building, opened in 1885, was completely restored, and gained a number of new, modern elements that perfectly blend 21st century architecture with the existing structure. Inside, you'll find a wealth of Dutch art, including major works by Rembrandt, van Gogh, Vermeer, and Frans Hals, nearly all of which have found new homes in the reborn museum — on Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" finds itself in the same spot, serving as an anchor for prior guests. With over 8,000 pieces in total, plan on being there a while.
It's probably going to be a little hard to tell from the front, but The Blue Planet — or Den Blå Planet, the new National Aquarium — is actually shaped like a giant whirlpool. That's just one of the many wonders you'll find inside this brand-new building. It's home to over 20,000 fish and ocean animals, holds over 7 million liters of water, and offers over 50 aquariums and displays. Amazingly, it's also home to a mini-rainforest, as well an ocean tunnel where you can walk amongst the sharks. Well worth the trip is you're in Copenhagen with a few hours to kill. [via]
Ready for a break from the insanity of the Strip? The National Atomic Testing Museum should be just the thing. This unique Smithsonian-affiliated museum offers a collection of over 12,000 artifacts related to the development, testing, and deployment of the atom bomb. Located on the campus of the Desert Research Institute — roughly 65 miles southeast from the government's Nevada Test Site — it also explores the effects of the bomb on pop culture and society in general. It's not too heavy-handed, however — one of its current exhibits explores the truth behind the legendary Area 51 base, with help from the very people that worked there. And after a few nights of fantasy-fueled debauchery, a dose of truth may be just what the doctor ordered. That, and a good Bloody Mary. [via]
There's a lot more to the world of instruments than you're going to learn down at your local Guitar Center. Thankfully, that's why there's a place like the Musical Instrument Museum. Founded by a former Target CEO and inspired by the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels, Belgium, MIM is a 200,000 square-foot facility that gives you a taste of music influences from around the world, via a collection of instruments from roughly 200 countries and audio-visual exhibits that let you hear and see the instruments as they would normally be played. Oh, and the building's not too shabby, either.
There are tons of museums dedicated to the creatures that inhabit the Earth — but what about the ones that live only in fables, tall tales, and suspect sightings? As it turns out, they have a museum, too. The International Cryptozoology Museum claims to be the only museum in the world dedicated to animals whose existence has not yet been proven. Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and even jackalopes are represented by exhibits of varying size, featuring everything from historic relics to modern toys. Be sure to keep an eye out for the museum's founder Loren Coleman, a man of science who's personal collection constitutes the bulk of what you'll find within. [via]
Set on the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is a must-see stop for anyone cruising through the Charm City. It plays host to more than 16,000 creatures, and offers unique experiences like a 225,000 gallon ring-shaped shark exhibit, an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin exhibit that lets you look in on training, feeding, and play time, and a jellyfish exhibit with nine different species. Of course, there's also plenty of birds, frogs, turtles, and other animals to check out over the course of your roughly three-hour (average) visit, which should still leave you with enough time for dinner.
There are plenty of museums dedicated to biology and natural history, but only one dedicated to such an easily recognizable piece of anatomy. As you might have gathered from the name, The Icelandic Phallological Museum is most likely the only museum in the world dedicated to the penis. Inside, you'll find over 280 specimens from 93 different species, including 56 examples from whales, one from a polar bear, 36 from different kinds of seal and walrus, and even 15 silver sculptures, above which hangs a photo of Iceland's 2008 Olympic handball team. More interesting than sexy, it's a great way to waste a few hours in the most unusual way possible. [via]
We've seen museums about airplanes, and we've seen places dedicated to war. But we've never seen anything quite like the Military Aviation Museum. Located not too far from the shore, this unique space has tons of examples of prime WWI and WWII military aircraft on display, some in a hangar, and some outside — so be sure to come when it's nice outside to see the outdoor collection. Bonus points if you show up for an airshow.
Given our country's rich brewing history, it's hard to believe that the American Hop Museum is one-of-a-kind. This unique ode to state-side brewing chronicles the history of the hop industry in the U.S. from its beginnings in the New England colonies to its spread to California and eventually up the Pacific coast. Inside, you'll find photos, artifacts, and equipment from breweries past, and be sure to walk out into the courtyard to see the stuff that was too big to fit inside.
Do you love math? We mean really love math? Then it's time to visit The Museum of Mathematics. The country's only museum dedicated to the subject, it encourages both old and youthful visitors alike to engage with the practical side of numbers via interactive exhibits that help illustrate math's many connections to the real world. Open now from 10 to 5, 7 days a week. See, numbers!