NYC's weirdest museums: Mmuseumm, Troll Museum and more
There's more to NYC museums than the Met and MoMa.
Check out a museum about elevators. Or a museum IN an elevator (no relation). We even have a museum dedicated to a favorite fad of the '80s: the troll doll.
If you want to see tributes, collections and more of the offbeat NYC has to offer, here are the museums for you.
The Lower East Side may be changing from its weird days, but there is still the Troll Museum. Home to about 400 troll dolls in a walk-up apartment, the Troll Museum was founded by the self-proclaimed elf Reverend Jen (Jen Miller) and her cat, Rev. Jen Jr. The museum is really nothing but the troll dolls, those freaky dolls first manufactured in the late 1950s but really became huge in the 1980s and '90s.
Visits are by appointment only and are free, call Rev. Jen at (212-560-7235) beforehand. And you may consider the suggested donation: Due to rising rents in the neighborhood and some of Rev. Jen's personal problems, the museum is facing closure. Jen has started a Go Fund Me page to raise the $5,000 she says she needs to pay the three months' back rent she owes on the rent-stablibized apartment. As she writes on her website "Think about it: If NYC were full of normal people, would anyone want to visit?"(Credit: iStock)
Williambsurg's City Reliquary looks like a regular Metropolitian Avenue storefront, but inside are relics of New York City's past. The museum started as a collection in Dave Herman's house at the corner of Havenmayer and Grand Streets. He collected subway tokens, baseball cards, seltzer bottles, Statue of Liberty figurines, a set of dentures found in Dead Horse Bay and more everyday objects that capture life in New York. By January 2006, the collection got too big and he expanded to the current location. In addition to these relics, there are also rotating exhibits from the community.
The City Reliquary is open Thursday-Sunday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. and other days by appointment. For more information, visit cityreliquary.org.(Credit: Flickr / bowena)
TriBeCa's Mmuseumm could be the city's tiniest museum. Located in an elevator shaft between Franklin Street and White Street, the Mmuseumm is dedicated to artifacts of the modern age -- with perhaps its most well-known being the shoe that was thrown at George W. Bush in 2008. The permanent collection also includes a Saudi potato chip bag, Van Neistat's Air Conditioner Vent and a bag of Cable Car gummy worms. In the Mmuseumm Season 3 collection running until January 1, 2015, there are Down's Syndrome dolls, peep show coins, a collection of mosses, plastic spoons, censored Saudi Arabian pool toys and more. The Mmuseumm hopes that "by examining the small things, the vernacular, we are able to look at the big one, life itself, or at least start to see its edges."
The Mmuseumm is open noon-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit mmuseumm.com.(Credit: Flickr / panda07)
Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn's Morbid Anatomy Museum is dedicated to "artifacts, histories and ideas which fall between the cracks of high and low culture, death and beauty, and disciplinary divides." Housed in one room in a nondescript building in Brooklyn, it's a museum dedicated to death that wants to "get people to rethink what they think is creepy and dark and macabre and horrible," founder and director Joanna Ebenstein told The Daily Beast. In addition to the exhibitions, the museum also has a lecture series and workshops on topics such as anthropomorphic mouse taxidermy.
The Morbid Anatomy Museum is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit morbidanatomymuseum.org(Credit: Facebook / Morbid Anatomy Museum )
The Elevator Historical Society
The Elevator Historical Society is located in the yellow taxi building in Long Island City, but don't be confused about its mission: It is dedicated to elevators. Not exactly a museum, the Elevator Historical Society was founded by Patrick Carrajat from his own private collectables from spending 59 years working with elevators.
The Elevator Historical Society has literature on elevators, car ceilings, button plates, industry tools and brass nameplates from the cast-iron era. Carrajat's favorite item is the cover of an elevator door interlock that he took home with him one day while going with father on a job at an elevator.
"Basically, we just want to examine some of the history -- most people don't realize if we didn't have elevators, we'd have a series of four-to-five story buildings from Boston to Washington, D.C.," Carrajat said.
The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9:30-4:30 and weekends by appointment. Visit elevatorhistory.org for more information.(Credit: Patrick Carrajat)
Museum of Math
The National Museum of Math, located at 11 East 26th Street, is dedicated to ending the common-held notion that math cannot be fun. Known as MoMath, the museum aims to "enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic and programs will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics," according to its website. The 19,000 square foot museum is heavy on interactive exhibits, including a square-wheeled trike, a logo generator, a human tree that moves and sways in response to your motion and a water frieze where you can roll patterns on the wall (for different symmetries).
The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Visit momath.org for more information.(Credit: Museum of Math)
BONUS! Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto
Not quite a museum, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto is a tribute filled with stones, shells, plastic flowers, small decorative figurines and candles. According to Forgotten NY, the shrine was constructed using aluminum foil, cardboard and decorative items, and the stones were pressed by hand into the wet cement. Built in 1938, the shrine was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Finding it is another matter -- it's buried in the Rosebank neighborhood on a dead-end street and behind a chain-link fence.(Credit: Caroline Linton)