Keep Austin Freaky: Museum of Weird offers oddities, random things


The museum is one of the key stops on the tour of Austin proper.

Among the multitudinous bars on Sixth Street, there are several gems Austin offers to those sober visitors walking the strip. The mantra “Keep Austin Weird,” laying the groundwork for basically everything in Austin, managed to produce something completely fitting the surrounding culture. And as to not disguise their promise they obliterated the ambiguity with the name: The Museum of the Weird.

On entering, you are immediately welcomed with a variety of trinkets and souvenirs that promote the museum and a cashier ready to charge you the $12 it costs to walk through the attraction. Moving on towards the door that leads you to the mysterious entertainment, you pass more knick knacks and articles that read several witty messages on mugs and oven mittens like, “sometimes there is not enough coffee or middle fingers to get through the day,” and “my favorite salad is wine.” Needless to say, it’s an entertaining precursor to the rest of the experience.

Moving on to the exhibit, you pass displays of several articles and newspaper stories about amazing and unbelievable events and facts of history. Alongside these clippings are props including trepanned skulls and a wax replication of The Elephant Man. Of course, I don’t want to spoil all the fun by exposing some of the more interesting displays, so you can visit at your own risk to see some jaw dropping “freaks of nature.”

Some of the less pleasurable parts of the experience include the severely narrow hall ,which holds about two people side by side, and the overwhelming amount of reading they apparently expect you to read. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading just as much as the next person, but when you have an eager group behind you ready to see the next scene, it’s more of a “glance and read the headline” type of experience. At the end, they have the group watch a video on the history of the museum which serves to occupy everyone while they wait for the tour guide.

After you get through the documentary, a man comes down the stairs to welcome you up to the supposed “main event.” He leads you to a room holding one of the most wanted fossils in America – the Iceman – all the while spitting out corny jokes in an effort to humor the crowd as he prepares to perform his sideshow. It’s really just a quick look at the “half-man half-ape” on your way to take a seat for the gruesome performance. He basically tortures himself in front of a crowd at the mercy of their tips– a true epitome of America’s slavery to capitalism. From there, the group is pointed towards the wax museum for a short viewing of infamous characters from various classics: Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.

For the most part, it’s family friendly–a little disturbing– but overall it’s quite the adventure and all for only $12.  If you find yourself wandering through Sixth Street with a thirst for oddities, stop by the Museum of the Weird; you might find something just as peculiar as the city itself.