Travel hotspots include 5 quirky museums celebrating barbershops, mustards, spuds, Spam and superheroes

Everything has a history, no matter how niche, quirky or mundane the topic may seem. 

Which means almost everything has a museum to preserve its history. 

The main streets and back roads of the United States offer plenty of evidence, including one heartland museum devoted to superhero worship. 

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“Comic books date back 80 years, and we have 80 years of comic-book history packed in here along with decades of movie memorabilia,” said John Osborne of the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum in Indiana.

Here’s a look at five of the quirkiest museums in America, preserving the past of everything and anything.

This mecca of Marvel Comics, marvelous pop culture and Hollywood hits is highlighted by memorabilia that starred in some of the most popular movies and programs of the superhero genre.

Among them: the shield wielded by Chris Evans in “Captain America: The First Avenger”; the custom-built chopper that Nicolas Cage rode as Johnny Blaze in “Ghost Rider”; and the “Batman” suit worn by Adam West, star of the 1960s TV series about the DC Comics caped crusader, during publicity appearances.

The Superhero Museum (hallofheroesmuseum.com) includes a kid-friendly arcade, free with admission, and about 75,000 comic books. 

Treasures in the collection include “Wonder Woman” No. 1 from 1942. 

Slather your 2024 travel buffet with “the world’s largest collection of mustard” in the land of Cheeseheads.

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The National Museum of Mustard (mustardmuseum.com) offers “an ever-growing display of mustard and memorabilia, over 6,000 jars, bottles, and tins from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.”

The Middleton monastery of mustard also hosts the World-Wide Mustard Competition and the National Mustard Day Festival. (National Mustard Day this year is Saturday, Aug. 3, 2024. “We paint the town yellow” that day, says the museum on its website.)

Also, admission to the museum is always “absolutely free.”

This quirky chronicle of coiffure culture offers extensive exhibits on the art and craft of barbering on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

It’s also a working barbershop where guests can experience the classic tricks of the truss trade in real-time today.

“The history of the barber is a very rich but forgotten one,” founder Arthur Rubinoff, a fourth-generation master barber, says on the museum website.

“My goal was to give respect to all barbers and our history, as well as educate. Barbering is true art with a fascinating legacy.” 

America’s passion for the potato is displayed, naturally, in Idaho — easily the nation’s largest source of spuds.

Located in an early 20th-century railroad station, the palace of tuber trivia is deeply rooted in the lore and allure of America’s most widely grown vegetable.

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The Idaho Potato Museum also serves as a delicious diversion while exploring Idaho’s natural beauty, including the nearby Craters of the Moon National Monument.

The museum, among other highlights, has the world’s largest potato chip. Produced by Pringles in 1990, it measures 23 inches in length and 14.5 inches in width. 

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Here’s a little-known legend: Anyone who eats the world’s largest potato chip will still want another.

“Spample” the history of the world’s most beloved tinned meat in the city where it’s been made since 1937. 

“Exhibit topics range from the ways Spam packaging has changed over the years, to its role in winning World War II, a colorful ‘Spam Around the World’ exhibit showcasing the far-reaching culinary and cultural influence Spam has throughout the globe,” says ExploreMinnesota.com, published by the state’s official tourism office. 

Helpful “Spambassadors” guide guests through the museum, which includes interactive exhibits, especially for children.

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