Some museums require more than a week to discover, while others…ten minutes. Musement takes a look at seven of the world’s smallest museums.
When you think about visiting a museum, the first thing to come to mind is most likely the experience of spending many hours wandering the corridors of venerable institutions such as the Louvre, the Vatican Museums or the Uffizi Gallery—at first with genuine interest, then with an increasingly blank expression and aching feet. No doubt, it takes around half a day to visit one of these enormous museums, which house a vast array of immeasurably valuable art. But there are some museums that you can visit in a few minutes, where, at times, you don’t even have enough space to turn around—but that doesn’t make them any less fascinating.
Here’s a look at some of the smallest museums in the world.
1. The Ethnographic Museum of Dzepciste
Ethnographic museums are incredibly valuable resources for discovering the history, culture and folklore of a particular place. In the village of Dzepciste in Macedonia, you can visit the smallest ethnographic museum in the world, which is also one of the most original. Simeon Zatlev has spent his whole life collecting objects, tools, pieces from local artisans, and various memorabilia such as jewelry, watches, and even his mother’s wedding dress, which is almost a century old—a real piece of history all by itself. Mr. Simeon Zatlev is not only the creator, curator, and owner of this museum in his house, but will also accompany you along the way and share the story of each piece in the museum’s collection.
2. Mmuseumm, New York
This former Broadway costume workshop is located between Tribeca and Chinatown in an abandoned elevator shaft—what could be more “New Yorkish” than that? The Mmuseumm in Cortlandt Alley has hosted exhibitions of modern artifacts, everyday objects and more. Its religion exhibits are of particular note: Modern Religion, Venezuela Counterfeits and Nothing Is Perfect. After a period of closure, the museum is about to reopen for its seventh season, showcasing conceptual art that is particular to its genre.
3. Edgar’s Closet, Alabama
Lovers of literature and mystery cannot miss this museum dedicated to the great writer Edgar Allan Poe in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Located inside a high school closet, the museum takes up just two square meters (22 square feet) of space—and yet houses a large number of objects (over 2000!), including works of art, designs and memorabilia, all dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe.
4. The World’s Smallest Museum, Arizona
A stop you shouldn’t miss if you’re road tripping through the United States. In Superior, Arizona along Route 60, you can find the self-described “smallest museum in the world”, which, while no longer the world record holder, is indeed quite tiny: only 12.5 square meters (135 square feet), where you can find ancient household items, original Beatles songbooks, and, most importantly, the largest Apache Tear in the world. Apache Tears are round volcanic stones that come from the mountain known as Apache Leap, the storied site of a tragic massacre of Apache warriors; according to Native American legend, these stones are said to possess healing properties.
5. Phone Box Art Gallery, the United Kingdom
The telephone booths in the UK have become instantly recognizable icons, thanks to their unmistakable red color, which makes them perfect subjects for photos, postcards, and Instagram. However, in Barningham, North Yorkshire, you will find a particularly distinct green phone booth–one of just five across the UK–that dates back to 1920 and is a protected landmark due to its historical and cultural value. Local artist John Hay has decorated it with World War I memorabilia such as a tin hat, battle maps, newspapers and other collectibles.
6. Tiny E’s Museum, North Carolina
This isn’t just your average small traveling museum—it’s a museum about “the King” himself, Elvis Presley. The vintage trailer converted into a museum is chock-full of photos, collectibles—such as blue suede shoes—and other important items connected to Elvis’s career. The museum travels on a route which starts from Penrose, North Carolina and goes through Tupelo, Memphis, Las Vegas, and Hawaii.
7. Mimumo, Monza
The Casa della Luna Rossa (“House of the Red Moon”), one of the oldest houses in Monza features a museum of just 2.29 square meters (24.6 square feet), open round the clock, 365 days a year. It was conceived as a showcase of ideas and an exhibition space for both well-known and emerging young artists—a lovely idea from architect Luca Acquati.