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Latest Best of LA

Weirdest Museums In Los Angeles

July 22, 2013 6:00 AM

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Credit: Museum of Death

Credit: Museum of Death

(credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes we need something a little more offbeat to get our attention. These weird choices top the list of Los Angeles museums and every one has a theme that instructs and entertains. These nontraditional museums stray from what one might expect, but each adds to the museum-going life. From death to police hats, these year-round venues deserve a visit.

Credit: Museum of Death

Credit: Museum of Death

Museum Of Death

6031 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 466-8011
www.museumofdeath.net

The inevitable end comes to life at the Museum of Death. Founded in 1995, the eerie reality of how society deals with death is this venue’s educational theme. From serial murderer artwork and Manson crime scene photos, then to body bag and coffin collections, visitors are confronted with the reality of the ultimate end. Artifacts from executions, autopsies and murder investigations examine the technologies of death. The extensive exhibits deal with every aspect of this little-discussed subject. If good taste can deal with death, it is here at Hollywood’s weirdest museum where it is done.

Related: Most Morbid Hollywood Tours

(credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

(credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Hollywood Wax Museum

6767 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 462-5991
www.hollywoodwaxmuseum.com

From morning to midnight, the life-size wax figures of silver screen celebrities stand motionless as visitors hearken back or live in the here-and-now. Founded in 1965, this iconic Hollywood stop lures tourists from around the world. For Southlanders, it’s a too often overlooked attraction that represents a great part of California culture. Situated on the Walk of Fame, every visitor is impressed with the surreal and faithful attention to detail of every rendering – it’s like being on the set. With hundreds of displays, goers meet every great star from the past to the present.

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium

6780 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 466-6335
www.ripleys.com

Robert Ripley defined the meaning of “odd” in the 20th century. A reporter turned self-made adventurer, Ripley founded an institution intent on finding the most unbelievable objects and facts that could be found. Today, Ripley Entertainment continues the tradition through museums across the country. Here in Los Angeles, we have almost 300 exhibits on two floors that prove fact can be stranger than fiction. No area of the world, history, technology or the human condition remains unexamined. If a new word should be added to describe a Ripley museum, it surely is “odditorium.”

International Police Museum of Southern California

6538 Miles Ave.
Huntington Park, CA 90255
(323) 826-6627
www.huntingtonparkpd.org

Police work is serious business, and this museum, to those in law enforcement, is not odd at all. Those outside of public safety will enter a new world of symbolic meaning. The law enforcement profession has its beginnings in ancient times, then in the 19th century the ancient traditions became symbolized in badges, hats and insignia. A commitment to honor and serve the public are seen in every exhibit. A world-wide fraternity of service is evidenced in the symbolism. Visitors will gain personal insights about what it is like to be a cop – a cop anywhere in the world.

Related: Los Angeles Police Museum

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

9341 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 836-6131
www.mjt.org

This museum contains an eclectic collection of odd yet valuable educational displays. While “Jurassic Technology” invokes visions of dinosaurs, the exhibits are a far cry from prehistoric times. The museum remains as inexplicable and indefinable as its name, or perhaps the name is an allusion to deeper meanings. Technological curiosity drives the curators’ choices of areas explored. From hyper-symbolic cognition to Soviet space dogs and from bees to belief and knowledge, it’s an intellectual exercise through a series of wholly unique exhibits that challenge the basic assumptions around us. This is a museum that will deserve repeat visits.

Robert Cuthbert is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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