A visit to a museum is always a culturally enriching experience, whether you’re peering into the past at a natural history museum or discovering classic paintings and sculptures at an art museum. But sometimes, it’s a little more fun to go for something off the beaten path. We’ve gathered four of the world’s most unique museums, all of which can be visited while staying at a nearby Inspirato accommodation.
Prague Museum of Alchemy — Prague, Czech Republic
A curious piece of Prague’s medieval history has been preserved at Speculum Alchemiae. The alchemical laboratory of Emperor Rudolf II survived the demolition of the city’s Jewish quarter in the late 19th century and was discovered—fully intact—during the reconstruction of the building it was housed under. The building is estimated to be over 1,000 years old, which could potentially make it the second oldest in all of Prague. In addition to providing tours of the alchemist’s workshop, laboratory, and mysterious catacombs, the museum offers various elixirs for sale which have been recreated from their ancient recipes.
International Spy Museum — Washington, D.C.
Brazenly located just a few blocks away from the White House in Washington, D.C., the International Spy Museum offers both a history of espionage and a number of interactive experiences to test your very own spy abilities. The museum features the stories of real spies from various countries and historical periods, exposes their techniques, and displays a wide range of their tools and gadgets. As spying and sabotaging continue to evolve, the museum also delves into the modern methods and cyber operations of today.
Cancun Underwater Museum of Art — Riviera Maya, Mexico
In Riviera Maya, Mexico, the submerged exhibits of Cancun’s Underwater Museum of Art are as haunting as they are beautiful. Sculptures by various artists lie on the ocean floor, where coral and anemone have reclaimed and morphed them into something entirely new. Colorful fish and other marine life swim through and around the art and further serve to animate the lifelike pieces. For those who would prefer to forego diving or snorkeling, the museum also offers glass bottom boat tours to enjoy the exhibits from the comfort of the surface.
Bata Shoe Museum — Toronto, Canada
The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada houses over one thousand different shoes and related artifacts, celebrating the styles and functionality of footwear from around the globe and across time. The museum’s collection stems from Sonja Bata’s own private collection, which eventually outgrew its home and was finally housed in 1995 inside an award-winning building designed by architect Raymond Moriyama. From custom-made celebrity shoes to archeological footwear discoveries from ancient civilizations, the current collections contains unique pieces from nearly every culture in the world.