The World’s Most Boring Museums

I was working in Lebabon this week, and did some tourism on the break periods. This included a visit to the Museum of Soap. It was a finely constructed building and, as one would expect, a very clean one. I learned how soap is made, shaped and stamped. I even saw some sculptures made of soap bars.

The only question in my mind was whether this was the most boring museum I had ever seen. Upon reflection, it’s not. It’s third place. I am going to put the ones I consider higher ranking here and am asking all museum-going readers to add their own nominations.

Second most boring museum in the world, IMHO: The Pencil Museum in the Lake District. Every wonder why a Number 2 pencil is called a Number 2 pencil? How they make erasers? What this whole lead vs. graphite distinction really means? Me either, but I learned all these answers and more at the Pencil Museum. The British friend who took me says that it is because it is so boring and strange that it is so great, and as a result he goes every year. Once will hold me for this lifetime.

The MOST boring museum, which doesn’t even have the redeeming weirdness of the Pencil Museum, is in my view the Museum of Cork in Palafrugell, Spain. This part of the costa has to compete with warmer stretches down south, and every city on it must compete for tourists with each other. Hence, the city fathers came up with a real corker: A museum devoted to the history and creation of corks of all sorts. Cork boards, bottle stoppers and those little pads that stop the chair legs from scraping the wood floor are all here for you to enjoy. A siesta writ large for the whole family.

Your own nominations please…

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.