15 Food Museums You Didn’t Know Exist

From road trips to cruise ships, vacations provide an ideal excuse to indulge. If you’ve ever returned from a holiday weighing 10 pounds more than before, you know this is true. But, have you ever planned a trip based solely on food and drink? You might — after we tell you about the following food museums you never knew existed.

1. Maine Coast Sardine History Museum

A sardine factory
Sardines | Xurxo Lobato/Getty Images
  • Location: Jonesport, Maine

Perched on a peninsula on the Gulf of Maine, Jonesport is inhabited by fewer than 2,000 people. Two citizens, Ronnie and Mary Peabody, grew up during a time when at least a dozen sardine canneries existed in the quaint New England town. As the industry dwindled, the pair collected cannery memorabilia, including original cans and labels, old-school machinery, photographs, and original documents. In 2005, the pair opened the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum.

Next: Hawaii’s favorite food

2. SPAM Museum

SPAM at the Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival
Cans of SPAM at the Waikiki SPAM JAM Festival | Phil Mislinski/Getty Images
  • Location: Austin, Minnesota

Some define the acronym SPAM as ‘Spiced Ham,’ ‘Shoulder of Pork and Ham,’ or ‘Spare Parts Animal Meat.’ No matter the name, SPAM remains on menus worldwide. First created in 1937, SPAM was served in military mess halls and used to lubricate weaponry and make boots waterproof. Today, SPAM is still served at some of the nicest eateries in Hawaii. Far north, in Austin, Minnesota, a 14,000-square-foot museum is dedicated to the canned meat. Stop by for a free 30-minute tour.

Next: The well-dressed frankfurter

3. National Mustard Museum

Chef making honey-mustard dressing
Making a mustard mixture | VukLozo/Getty Images
  • Location: Middleton, Wisconsin

Did you know there’s a competition that judges 16 types of prepared mustards? It happens annually at the National Mustard Museum. Featured on Oprah and NPR, the museum boasts more than 6,000 examples of the flavorful condiment as well as exhibits dedicated to its long, fascinating history. You can visit the NMM in downtown Middleton and take a free tour.

Next: The wiggliest food in in the world

4. Jell-O Gallery Museum

Jello in Glasses
Strawberry and orange jello | humonia/Getty Images
  • Location:LeRoy, New York

Who doesn’t love a jiggly serving of connective tissue, pig skin, calves hooves, and fruit flavoring? That’s what you get when you eat Jell-O. Although the cafeteria dessert is the official snack food of Utah, the Jell-O Gallery Museum resides in LeRoy, New York. (These days, Jello-O is manufactured in Dover, Delaware.) You can visit and take a $5 tour.

Next: Emulsifiers, stabilizers, and flavorings, oh my

5. Museum of Food Additives

Various Nutrition Information
Nutrition Information | Stefan Malloch/Getty Images
  • Location: Hamburg, Germany

Does anyone really pay attention to those long additive lists on ingredient labels? A museum in Hamburg does. The German Food Additives Museum offers explanations of flavor enhancers, fillers, preservatives, and more. Founded in 2008, the museum is overseen by food engineers Georg Schwedt and Udo Pollmer with the goal to educate the public about food additives and how to avoid them.

To access this hidden gem, Atlas Obscura says to ring a doorbell marked “Deutsches Zusatzstoffmuseum” at the wholesale market at Grossmarkt at Brandshofer and ask to be let in.

Next: So-so candy, great dispensers

6. Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia

Easton Museum of PEZ Dispensers
A Garfield PEZ dispenser | William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
  • Location: Burlingame, California

Prior to founding the museum in 1995, Nancy and Gary Doss displayed their collection of PEZ dispensers at a computer repair shop in Burlingame. Eventually, they saw that customers were more interested in the collection than hard-drive repairs. Now they run the largest display of PEZ dispensers in the world. With at least one example of every dispenser ever made, the museum was named one of Time magazine’s Top 50 Roadside Attractions.

Next: Culinary excellence

7. CIA Culinary Museum

antique kitchen scale
An antique kitchen scale | Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
  • Location: Napa, California

Managed by the Culinary Institute of America, the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum offers visitors a look at thousands of unusual appliances and historical tableware along with things like duck presses, animal-shaped soup tureens, butter molds, and other culinary curiosities.

Next: No extra charge for burps

8. Dr. Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute

Front of the Dr. Pepper Museum
The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas | Melissa Mahoney/Getty Images
  • Location: Waco, Texas

Housed in a defunct Artesian Bottling Company building, the Dr. Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute has been open since 1991 and offers three floors filled with soda-pop history. Because only three living people are allowed to know the formula for Dr. Pepper, you won’t learn the recipe, but you will learn a lot about soft drinks and how they changed America.

Next: Spud City USA

9. Idaho Potato Expo and Museum

Russet Potatoes
A basket of Idaho potatoes | BytheC/Getty Images
  • Location: Blackfoot, Idaho

Inside a circa-1914 railroad depot, the Idaho Potato Expo and Museum educated visitors on fascinating potato facts. For instance, the starchy root was the first vegetable grown in space. And Marie Antoinette was often seen sporting potato blossoms in her hair before she lost her head in the French revolution. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop where you can buy spud-related items like potato playing cards and postcards featuring Marilyn Monroe in a potato field.

Next: Stinky cabbage extraordinaire

10. Museum Kimchikan

South Korea Kimchi Museum
Kimchi dishes at the Kimchi Museum | Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
  • Location: Seoul, South Korea

If you’re a fan of fermented cabbage and happen to visit South Korea, visit the world’s first museum devoted to all things kimchi. Established in 1986, the pungent museum offers delightful dioramas and food displays that delve into the history, making, and tasting of Korea’s favorite side dish. Find Museum Kimchikan in Seoul’s vibrant Insa-Dong shopping district.

Next: Plantation cuisine and beyond

11. Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Southern Food and Beverage Museum
Entrance to Southern Food and Beverage Museum | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana.

At $10.50 for admission, The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is worth every penny. An ever-changing roster of exhibits explain the origins of Creole cuisine, Soul Food, and other iconic Southern dishes you know and love. Sugar cane, hot peppers, red beans, bourbon, and coffee are also featured at this enchanting food gallery.

Next: For those who believe in green fairies

12. Musée de l’Absinthe

Glasses of absinthe
Absinthe | IngaIvanova/Getty Images
  • Location: Auvers-sur-Oise, France

Founded in 1994 by cellular biologist Marie-Claude Delahaye, this charming musée is devoted to the inspirational qualities proffered by the dreamily intoxicating, wormword-flavored drink that Vincent Van Gogh called “the green fairy.” In fact, the tiny museum resides in the same town where the painter is buried.

Next: The hottest tour in town

13. Tabasco Museum

Tabasco sauce moves down the line
Bottles of Tabasco sauce move down the line at the McIlhenny facility in Avery Island, Louisiana | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Location: Avery Island, Louisiana

Perched on an island made entirely of salt, the Tabasco Museum and Visitor Center offers the hottest tour in New Iberia Parish. Here one can learn all about the McIlhenny family and the tangy red pepper sauce they invented more than 150 years ago. The property still boasts a working Tabasco factory, so visitors can take a look inside the seedling greenhouse, a warehouse where sauce ages in wooden, salt-sealed barrels, and the official Tabasco bottling facility.

Next: Something fishy’s going on

14. Teng Feng Fish Ball Museum

Hong Kong Fish Ball
Frying fish balls | YiuCheung/Getty Images
  • Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan

Should you find yourself in Taiwan with a hankering to learn everything there is to know about fried fish balls, add the Teng Feng Fish Ball Museum to your itinerary. Discover which fish is just right for making the crispy and ubiquitous street treats. After that, you may be invited to try your hand at forming and frying your very own fishballs.

Next: Not just for rabbits

15. World Carrot Museum

Rainbow Carrots
Heirloom carrots | Photohaiku/Getty Images
  • Location: online

Never mind the fact that the World Carrot Museum doesn’t boast a brick-and-mortar building. This is the place to fill your head with every speck of information regarding the subterranean treat. Because the museum is located online, you don’t have to travel, drive or find a place to park.

If you’re a foodie whose tastebuds aren’t tingling after reading about the above museums, don’t worry. There are hundreds of other food-oriented museums, including a pasta museum in Parma, a coffee museum in Columbia, and a gingerbread museum in Poland.