Discover Austin: Museum of the Weird - Episode 94
For a city with the slogan, "Keep Austin Weird," it should be no surprise that you can visit a place on 6th Street called the Museum of the Weird. I'm visiting the museum for the latest episode of Discover Austin. If you'd prefer to read about the museum, you can find the transcript below the video.
There’s a place downtown on 6th Street that offers visitors the opportunity to view oddities, curiosities, and things that are just plain strange. We’re going to visit the Museum of the Weird on this episode of Discover Austin.
This city has long been known for the phrase Keep Austin Weird for decades, so it just makes sense that the Museum of the Weird is located here.
The Museum of the Weird is essentially a dime museum which was popular in the 1800s. The most famous was P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. One of the key things to understand is that some of the exhibits are real and others are what Barnum called ‘Humbugs’ which were made up in an effort to fool the viewer into thinking it was real. Museum of the Weird does the same thing. In the words of owner Steve Busti, “You go in, you're presented with these things, it's up to you to decide what is real? What isn't?”
The Museum features a FeeJee Mermaid which was popularized by P.T. Barnum. One of the prized exhibits is the Minnesota Ice Man. Shown around the country back in the 1960s, Steve, the museum owner, saw it on display as a kid. In 2013, he was able to acquire it for the museum. It has its own room with memorabilia and a video sharing some of the Ice Man’s history. Filming of the Ice Man is not permitted, so you’ll have to come see it for yourself.
In the freak show room you’ll see what was often in a circus side-show like a two-headed calf and a bearded lady exhibit. There’s also a video to enjoy about some of the notable people P.T. Barnum employed, including Tom Thumb, who is considered the most famous of all the side-show entertainers.
The Museum also houses the Sfanthor’s Chamber of Horrors which is a collection of wax figures of some of the greatest movie monsters.
There’s a lot of exhibits packed into the museum. The tours are self guided and can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, depending upon your pace and the number of other visitors. There’s a lot to absorb here, so if you have the time, you can easily be here longer than that.
While 6th Street isn’t a place to think of for family entertainment, the Museum of the Weird is fun for all ages. So come on down and take a look at some pretty weird things. I’m Craig Smyser with 1835 Realty. Thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin. And remember, when you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Central Texas, I’m ready to help.