The Smallest Museums in the World

By Google Arts & Culture

Monkey with Magnifying Glass 猿に虫眼鏡 (about 1850) by Unknown 作者不詳 (Japanese)Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Massive doesn't always mean mighty. Sometimes the smallest packages contain the most profound things. Scroll on to learn about the world's most minuscule museums.

Keep the Change with dollar billThe Index Project

Mmuseumm, New York

This tiny museum, located between Tribeca and Chinatown, is housed in an abandoned elevator shaft. Once a Broadway costume workshop, it holds a variety of objects ranging from everyday items to ‘modern artefacts’. Although you could spend hours admiring its conceptual displays, you probably won’t need more than 5 or 10 minutes to see the full collection. 

The Warley Museum, UK

Located in the small town of Warley, in the beautiful Calder Valley, the entire Warley Museum is housed inside an old fashioned phone booth. The museum exhibits local historical artefacts and curiosities that are donated by Warley residents. The display is changed every few months to ensure this petite attraction is as interesting and varied as possible. 

The Raven (Le corbeau): Flying Raven (ex libris) (1875) by Édouard ManetDavison Art Center, Wesleyan University

Edgar’s Closet, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

This tiny museum is dedicated to the life and works of Edgar Allen Poe. The museum was founded by sixth grade teacher Tommy Flowers to help boost his pupils’ engagement with this legendary literary figure. 

Poe Edgar Allen 1809-1849LIFE Photo Collection

It’s housed in a closet that measures just 22 square feet, making it one of the most bijou museums in the world. While the museum gets few visitors, Flowers hopes it will inspire more teachers to create museums and ignite their students’ imaginations. 

The World’s Smallest Museum, Superior, Arizona

While the name of this museum maybe something of a misnomer, there’s no denying its place among the world’s tiniest attractions. Located on Route 60, just outside of Phoenix, the museum houses a number of curiosities including a Beatles concert poster, a letter written by JFK and the world’s largest apache tear.

Catching The Eye: Anas superciliosa, Pacific Black Duck by David PaulMuseums Victoria

WLCoWSVoWLT

WLCoWSVoWLT, or  the World's Largest Collection of World's Smallest Versions of World's Largest Things Traveling Roadside Attraction and Museum, is a museum on the move. The attraction displays shrunken-down replicas of the world’s largest items. Created by artist Erika Nelson, the museum’s most famous pieces include The World’s Largest Ball of Video Tape, the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, the World’s Largest Black Duck and the World’s Largest Frying Pan.

British sea shells (circa 1800) by Colonel George MontaguRoyal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery

Cherokee Shell Museum, Bahamas

Opened in 2017, the main collection in this tiny museum is named ‘Gifts from the Sea’. The museum is housed inside a 1950s telegraph office that’s been completely renovated and redecorated with help from the local community. The collection includes around 200 shells as well as a wealth of information on the objects on display and information on life in the seas around the island. 

Law Crim Resurrectionists Burke & HareLIFE Photo Collection

William Burke Museum, Edinburgh, UK

William Burke is best known for being one half of Burke and Hare, two of Britain’s most notorious body snatchers. The gruesome twosome first began selling dead bodies to Edinburgh’s medical schools to make money. They then decided they couldn’t wait for their unfortunate victims to die and started murdering to order instead. The museum has just one exhibit, a calling card case made from human flesh – the flesh from the back of Burke’s left hand to be precise. 

LIFE Photo Collection

Tiny E’s Museum

Dedicated to the ‘King’ himself, this Elvis Presley inspired museum is housed in a beautifully converted vintage trailer. Unlike most of the other museums on our list, Tiny E’s is a traveling display. The museum visits various locations including North Carolina, Tupelo, Hawaii, Las Vegas and, of course, Memphis. 

Elvis Presley (1976/1988) by Ralph Wolfe CowanSmithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Learn more about Elvis Presley here.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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