Five Eccentric Museums

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Once you’ve logged your educational hours at the Cincinnati Museum Center and COSI, give some of these kooky regional museums a try.

A Christmas Story House and Museum
It might seem strange to think about Christmas in July, but for cult followers of the movie A Christmas Story, this museum defies seasons. Open year-round, A Christmas Story House and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, lets visitors tour the original house in the movie as well as see original props, costumes, and memorabilia from the film. Check out the rare behind-the-scenes photographs, take a Christmas family photo in front of the infamous leg lamp, or visit the gift store for your very own. 3159 W 11th St. Cleveland, OH 44109, (216) 298-4919, Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm, Sundays: 12pm-5pm, Adults: $10, Children: $6, achristmasstoryhouse.com

Early Television Museum
In these heady iPad days, it’s easy to forget television’s humble beginnings. The Early Television Museum, located twenty minutes north of Columbus, is dedicated to helping visitors remember what TV used to be. The museum features rudimentary sets from the 1930s, as well as early color models, antique production equipment, and a detailed history of both American and European stations. From enormous projectors to tiny Transvision kits—several in working order—the museum is a look into a simpler time. 5396 Franklin Street, Hilliard, OH 43026, (614) 771-0510, Saturday 10-6, Sunday 12-5, suggested donation: Adults: $5, Children: $2, earlytelevision.org

The Doll Museum at the Old Rectory
A slight upgrade from your childhood collection, The Doll Museum at the Old Rectory features a large display of 19th and 20thcentury dolls. See French fashion, China bisque, and American dolls with elaborate costumes, hair wigs (human!), and antique accessories. Perfect for those who love the history of fashion, or just for those who appreciate interesting dolls, this museum, about 15 minutes north of Columbus is worth a visit. While you’re there, check out the other historic buildings and antiques nearby and make sure to take advantage of the museums special exhibits and guided tours. 50 West New England Avenue, Worthington, Ohio, 43085, (614) 885-1247, Tuesday – Friday: 1-4, Saturday: 10-2, Admission: $2, worthingtonhistory.org

Muhammed Ali Center
Even if you’re not into boxing, you have to admire Louisville-born Muhammad Ali for his incredible life and career. Chock full of interesting tidbits, memorabilia, and historical events from Ali’s life, this interactive and multi-media museum allows visitors an inside look into the lives of one of the greatest boxers of all time. 144 N 6th St, Louisville, KY 40202, (502) 584-9254, Sunday 12-5, Tuesday-Saturday 9:30-5, Adults: $9, Children: $4, alicenter.org

International Museum of Surgical Science
For those intrigued by all things science and medicine, this is the place. Boasting four floors dedicated to healing practices from around the world, the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago portrays surgical mysteries, milestones, and failures throughout history. With exhibits showcasing Japanese surgeons and the pioneering of the ultra-sound, primitive x-ray machines, and 21st century medical imaging, there’s a whole lot to explore even for those not so medically inclined. See more than 7,000 artifacts spanning centuries—like an Austrian amputation saw from the 1500s (not for the squeamish…), as well as medical books and journals, some dating back to the 16th century. 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, 60610, (312) 642-6502, Tues–Fri, 10–4, Sat–Sun, 10–5, Adults: $15, Children: $7, imss.org

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  1. LisaC_8735

    June 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I think that the 4-hour drive to Cleveland (8-hours round-trip) is pretty ambitious for a day-trip. I’d rather spend the weekend in Cleveland and visit the Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Fame as well. Or stay in Cincy and visit the American Sign Museum. I could go to both of those museums over and over again and discover something new each time.