Usually you go to museums to learn more about nature, human civilization or culture. But there are a few niche exhibits out there that give you a chance to face your fears while traveling this summer. If you're up for some scares, check out one of these creepy museums from around the world.
1. Wisconsin's Clown Mecca
Does the sight of white greasepaint and floppy shoes send shivers up your spine? Then you might want to steer clear of Baraboo, Wisconsin. The city near Devil's Lake State Park is the home of the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center.
The galleries contain tons of vintage outfits, posters, and other clown memorabilia celebrating performers from circuses, rodeos, vaudeville stages and wherever else clowns have appeared. The collection includes artifacts from Joseph Grimaldi, the "father of modern clowning", to TV's Bozo the Clown.
Not all hall-of-fame inductees are of the pie-throwing and seltzer spraying variety. The museum has also honored Max Patkin, the "clown prince of baseball," who entertained sports fans with his antics on the diamond. They've also inducted Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, who made other players the butt of his jokes on the court.
Here's a sneak peak.
2. Sydney's Arachnid Exhibit
If eight-legged bugs make your skin crawl, be sure to avoid the arachnology exhibit at the Australian Museum in Sydney. While learning about the anatomy and cultural history of Australian spiders, you can also take a look at the gallery of living exhibits -- unless you're too squeamish. The specimens are guaranteed to give you nightmares with names like the Tasmanian cave spider and the fringed jumping spider, which looks like the love child of a tarantula and Sesame Street's Snuffleupagus.
If spiders alone aren't enough to scare you, you can also look at the museum's collection of scorpions, centipedes and water bears, which don't look like they belong on earth.
Unfortunately, there's no clip from the exhibit, so here's Jeff Daniels bludgeoning, burning and eventually shooting the spider equivalent of Jason Voorhees from the campy horror flick Arachnophobia (1990).
If getting shots in the arm makes your skin crawl more than spiders, than your own personal hell-on-earth is The Old Operating Theatre in London's old St. Thomas Church, where famous nurse Florence Nightingale set up her teaching hospital in the 19th century. The museum features an extensive arsenal of antique syringes and needles, including ones with brass tubes and cork plungers. It makes today's booster shots seem like a walk in the park.
The museum also contains other horrific medical devices from yesteryear, including bloodletting equipment and medical leeches (yes, more living specimens). And staff perform re-enactments of Victorian surgical procedures every week.
Here's a sneak peak (if you're not too faint of heart).