When most people think of Chicago museums, the “Big 4” on the Museum Campus first come to mind: The Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum and The Museum of Science and Industry. While all are incredible in their own right, there’s a whole different side of Chicago museums that you may not be aware of. For those of you who have already hit up those popular ones, here the seven weirdest museums in Chicago, ones certain to give you an entertaining afternoon.

Money Museum

230 S LaSalle Street

The Money Museum in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is a small museum that won’t keep you all day, but is worth a tour if you’re a fan of cold, hard cash. They lead daily tours at 1 pm, or you can check out the various exhibits on your own. One of the best features is an exhibit showing you how to tell a real bill from a counterfeit. The best part? You’ll leave with a free bag of shredded cash to do with as you please.

money museumMaria via Yelp


108 N State Street

This isn’t a museum in the traditional sense in that it’s not housed in a dedicated building (in fact, it actually started as a project on Kickstarter). Conveniently located in the Block 37 shopping center, the Foodseum is a full-sensory experience where you not only learn about food, but experience it while interacting with exhibits. Their first exhibit features the famous Chicago hot dog, complete with historic notes.

o (3)Cindy via Yelp

International Museum of Surgical Science

1524 N Lake Shore Drive

In a category all its own is the International Museum of Surgical Science (a division of the International College of Surgeons). Although it might sound like the setting of a horror film, it is packed with a lot of cool exhibits that change frequently. Not to give away any spoilers, but expect quite a few, uh, unique examinations of the human body.

surgical scienceMychal via Yelp

American Toby Jug Museum

910 Chicago Avenue

Chicago is known for its love of spirits and beer drinking, but did you know there’s a museum dedicated to vintage jugs to hold your drinks? This weird Chicago museum houses over 7,000 Toby and Character jugs from the 18th to the 21st cenury. You can make an appointment to view the display and admission is free.

The National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 W 19th Street

Chicago has over a dozen popular art museums that tend to feature a wide range of art styles and topics. The National Museum of Mexican Art is one that caters to much more niche theme, featuring Dia de los Muertos tributes and other fare specific to the region down south. Here’s where you can get a taste of Mexico…right in Chicago.

yelp mexican imagesLily via Yelp

Museum of Mourning Photography

Near West Side

Come to the Museum of Mourning Photography to feast your eyes on a collection of eerie postmortem photography, lovingly assembled by enthusiast Anthony Vizzari. The museum is a part of Anthony’s vintage photo booth studio. Another weird part about this already kind of creepy Chicago museum? You have to email mail@aastudiosinc.com to just to find out the address (and to set up an appointment).

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.27.54 PMMuseum of Mourning Photography via Instagram

The Leather Archives & Museum

6418 N. Greenview Avenue

Perhaps the most unusual Chicago museum on this list is the Leather Archives & Museum. To put it frankly: it’s a BDSM museum, featuring handcuffs, bondage, and other tributes to Fifty Shades of Grey-like fantasies. So whether you’re into kink or are just a little curious, this will be an interesting stop on your tour of Chicago’s weirdest museums. Oh, and naturally, you have to be 21 or older to enter.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.44.54 PMLeather & Archives Museum via Facebook
Now that you have a full roster of odd Chicago museums to check out, what are you waiting for? Time to start getting weirded out.