by Bianca Ohannessian
California has its fair share of world-famous museums scattered across the state. But it’s the ones that don’t always make it into the travel guides that can be the most intriguing.
So to celebrate International Museum Day, here are a few weird and wonderful collections to pique your curiosity around the USA’s Sunshine State.
1. International Banana Museum, Mecca
The International Banana Museum is a Mecca for fruit fans across the world. Many make this pilgrimage to the small Coachella Valley town to get their fill of the yellow fruit-bowl favourite. With over 20,000 banana-related items to admire, you can then visit the bar to sip on a shake before you make like a banana and split.
Source: International Banana Museum Facebook Page
2. Museum of Pez, Burlingame
If you’ve ever wanted to see every Pez dispenser that was ever created, then Burlingame is the place for you. From classic Loony Tunes favourites, like Speedy Gonzalez, to superheroes such as Spiderman, the Museum of Pez has got them all. Then stock up on the retro centimetre sized sweets and their colourful plastic dispensers when you exit through the gift shop.
Source: Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia Facebook Page
3. Museum of Neon Art, Glendale
The Museum of Neon Art, or MONA as it’s known to its friends, is an eclectic collection of colourful art installations and bar signs. Neon lights have been having a moment, from interior design trends to fashion catwalks, and MONA is celebrating this with their illuminating exhibitions. And if that wasn’t enough, they also organise night tours of the neon signs around Hollywood. Thanks MONA, maybe next time…
Source: Instagram @neonmona
4. Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum, Joshua Tree
Artist Noah Purifoy’s “Environmental Sculptures” decorate the stark desert backdrop of Joshua Tree, a place shrouded by rock’n’roll legend. The creations are all made of recycled materials. As you drive through this part of the Mojave, you’ll be greeted by different installations that are designed to make you stop and think.
Source: Instagram @noahpurifoyfoundation
5. Echo Park Time Travel Mart, Echo Park
Not exactly a museum, this supermarket-style shop showcases everything you need to make your time travel dreams a reality. Pick up essential products like robot toupees from the not-for-profit Echo Park Time Travel Mart before returning safely to the present day.
Source: Instagram @timetravelmart
6. Musée Mécanique, San Francisco
Did you ever wonder if the supernatural growth spurt of classic 80s film Big could actually happen in real life? If anywhere is going to give you the answers, then it’s probably this place. The Bay Area’s Musée Mécanique is full of vintage penny arcade games and fairground fortune-telling machines.
Source: Twitter @MuseeMecSF
7. Cable Car Museum, San Francisco
Chances are there are more pressing things on your California to-do list than looking at cable cars. But for all (if any) cable car fanatics out there, this one’s for you. Enough said.