10 of the World’s Creepiest Abandoned Museums

abandoned-shark-museum-japan-3 (Image: Google Street View)

They enthrall young and old alike with their exhibits, oddities and eccentricities. But what happens to museums when people stop coming? Many fall victim to budget cuts, population changes or simply get left behind. Abandoned museums may not be commonplace, but those that do exist are a repository of wonderful and often weird artefacts left to the mercy of time.

Hokkaido House Of Hidden Treasures, Japan



Hokkaido-House-Of-Hidden-Treasures-abandoned-3 (Images: AbandonedKansaiVideo via YouTube)

The term ‘House of Hidden Treasures’ can be taken as a Japanese euphemism for sex museums, which were very popular in the 1960s. Often located in smaller recreational towns in the mountains these museums were eventually supplanted by video pornography, then ultimately the internet. A small number remain open, but many have been forced to close. The Hokkaido House of Hidden treasures was abandoned in 2010 and many of its exhibits are still intact. Among the more bizarre exhibits that can still be found include a series of taxidermy animals, usually in mid coitus and a huge vibrating penis that was available for guests to sit on. The explicit paintings, exhibits and sculptures are what make this abandoned museum one of the most strange in the world.

The Old Grand Rapids Public Museum, USA


grand-rapids-abandoned-public-museum-2 (Images: via YouTube)

When the Public Museum of Grand Rapids relocated in 1994 most of the exhibits could be accommodated in the new, modern building. But unfortunately the natural history dioramas embedded within the walls of the stunning Art Deco building could not be relocated. The building itself is very much of its time with the sweeping Art Deco designs making it appear much more like a theatre or cinema complex than a museum. Still sitting along the walls of one of the main rooms are displayed reconstructions of animal habitats. Formally encased in glass these dioramas and the animals within them now lie exposed, their paint peeling and the structure of the abandoned museum crumbling around them.

Mount Asama Volcano Museum, Japan


mount-asama-volcano-museum-abandoned-2 (Images: Jordy Meow, Haikyo.org)

At the foot of an active volcano sits a dilapidated observation tower attached to an abandoned volcano museum. Ravaged by harsh weather, including the occasional snow flurry, this museum was abandoned sometime in the mid-1990s and has declined rapidly since its closure. As well as an unstable and now almost totally inaccessible observation deck, inside there’s a series of displays that explain the natural phenomena associated with volcanic activity. The entire building is rapidly falling apart but you can still find the time-warped remnants of a once active museum and workplace, such as personal effects and creepy animal sculptures, taxidermy and dioramas.

Abandoned Vintage Car Museum, Japan


vintage-car-museum-abandoned-japan-3 (Images: Ralph Mirebs via YouTube)

Very little information exists in relation to this abandoned auto museum beyond photo documentation. This museum has a great appeal for motor enthusiasts as many of the vintage cars contained within the exhibition space, or showroom, are rare and still valuable despite their advanced state of disrepair. There appear to be approximately 20 cars, some with relatively pristine interiors despite their age. These retro cars are from all over the world, which begs the question; why would someone go to all the trouble to amass such a collection, only for it to be abandoned?

Shark Museum, Japan


abandoned-shark-museum-japan-2 (Images: (believe it or not!) Google Street View)

Here’s a treat for those who want to explore an abandoned museum from the safety of their personal computer, phone or tablet. A shark museum in Japan has been documented on Google Street View allowing you to actually go inside the building. The creepy abandoned museum features a whole range of shark jaws, sculptures and even a rusting shark safety cage. It’s quite a bizarre experience to be able to go into this dark faux underwater world and then reemerge into an eye-wateringly bright lobby with cartoon sharks greeting you, and cardboard boxes stacked at the entrance.

Wakami Lake Logging Museum, Canada

wakami-lake-logging-museum-abandoned (Image: Geocaching)

At the Wakami Lake Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, you can find a strange outdoor museum exposed to the elements. A log cabin, machinery, and other oddities pay homage to the area’s former life blood – the logging industry. The exhibit features panels that take visitors through a brief history of local logging in the 1920s to 1940s. Almost invisible to passers-by, a sign for the park is the only clue to its existence. It once featured a sculpture of an alligator but this has since vanished. Other than that, the abandoned museum seems to be relatively intact.

Museum of Sevastopol, Ukraine


abandoned-museum-sevastopol-2 (Images: Mattimeoo via YouTube)

Never completed, the Museum of Sevastopol in Ukraine was originally planned to commemorate the city’s defence during World War Two and construction started with high hopes for a beautiful architectural monument. The 1941 to 1942 defence was to be memorialised with a historical museum in the centre of Sevastopol itself but changes in government and a shift of public priorities and funding meant the project was never completed and now stands as an unofficial canvas for the city’s more prolific graffiti artists.

Motor Technica Museum, Germany


motor-technica-museum-abandoned-2 (Images: Ub12vow, cc-sa-3.0; Daniel Mennerich, cc-nc-nd-4.0)

Closed since 2007, this large transport museum is privately owned so there is no real information about whether it will reopen or not. The exhibits are starting to be gradually over taken by nature. Vintage train carriages stand in the same complex as corroding aircraft and vintage motorcycles and cars, all slowly decaying. Other indoor exhibits are kept firmly under lock and key. With transport examples ranging from the 1930s to more modern examples exposed to the weather it’s hard to tell how long the exhibits will survive.

ECVB Museum, Belgium



ecvb-museum-belgium-abandoned-3 (Images: Patrik Uytterhoeven (top, middle), cc-nc-nd-4.0; noisytoy.net, cc-sa-3.0)

Established as a power plant in 1911 this huge facility operated until the 1960s and was converted into a museum in 1986. The museum also subsequently closed and it’s now understood that the facility is being carefully demolished due to asbestos concerns. There’s still plenty of abandoned machinery and rusting industrial splendour from the plant’s former years, including huge boilers, control panels and dials. Incredible remnants of engineering and scientific equipment abound across the site which once supplied much of the area’s power. The history of the abandoned plant has been documented by local historians in the wake of its gradual demolition.

Doftana Prison Museum, Romania


Doftana-Prison-Museum-abandoned-2 (Images: Constantin Onu; Daria Raducanu; cc-sa-3.0 RO)

Abandoned museums don’t get much creepier than this. Doftana Prison is a huge stone leviathan of a building which now lies in abject ruins. The former penitentiary once housed some of the most famous political prisoners of its day including two of the country’s presidents, Nicolae Ceaușescu and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. The building was established in 1895 and operated as a prison until just after World War Two, at which time it became a museum dedicated to those turbulent years of Romania’s history. Even today, the abandoned prison and subsequently museum captures the imagination with tales of defiance, such as the political prisoners of 1924 who ran a political newspaper secretly from within the prison walls.

Keep Reading – 10 of the World’s Most Sinister Museums



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