Oddities, Obscurities, Oh My!

A guide to Los Angeles’ most outlandish museums


A preview inside the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, California (Photo via Flickr under the Creative Commons License)

Los Angeles is a cultural hub known for an array of contemporary art museums such as The Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum (L.A.C.M.A.) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (M.O.C.A), but those with a fascination for the peculiar can visit museums regarding the foundation of punk music, iconic local neon signs, a history of failed relationships, and even death…

The Grammy Museum – Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Punk

Iconic punk band the Ramones originated in Queens, New York in 1974 featuring a revolving door of members Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Joey Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone, and C. J. Ramone. Their hit songs “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” laid the foundations for U.S. punk music and bands such as Green Day, Nirvana, Arcade Fire, Metallica, The Clash, Screeching Weasel, The Hives, and Beastie Boys. The occasion for this exhibit is the anniversary of the Self-Titled album forty-years after release, with a focus on how everything from their iconic haircuts, ratty Converses, and worn-in leather jackets to fast and hard melodies are still seen in popular culture. The exhibit also traces the Ramones’ origins back to their days in a “Rock’n’Roll Highschool” showing report cards and first official band equipment. The fifty private and public curators responsible for the exhibit include individuals such as artist Shepard Fairey, known for his brand Obey Propaganda. Fairey’s four panels depicting Ramones members compliment a wall filled with show posters ranging from native Los Angeles to punk hub London. The exhibit may be found in the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live until the 28th of February 2017.

Museum of Neon Art (M.O.N.A.)

Recent social media phenomenon the Museum of Neon Art, commonly referred to as M.O.N.A., illuminates an individual’s mind to the creation of community through neon signs. Since 1981, this Glendale museum has integrated signs of past SoCal locations, such as coffee shops, parking garages, construction, miniature golf windmills, and butcheries. Showcasing beauty created by neon signs in the most ordinary of places.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Formed out of two artists’ heartbreak, the Museum of Broken Relationships commemorates items from their relationship, which previously held much significance. The museum has since expanded with anonymous donations of items that once held remembrance of both joyful and melancholy emotions, with possible items from the end of an abusive relationship to items from a runaway bride. This gallery of mixed emotions may be found in the heart of Los Angeles or in Zagreb, Croatia. Just remember a box of tissues.

Museum of Death

Charles Manson once questioned, “Did I kill anyone?” The Museum of Death can attest that he is guilty of murder by association, with a collection of photographs from his cult’s various crime scenes. This haunting museum, along with a plethora of Manson artifacts, features images from the local Black Dahlia murder and the head of Henri Landru. It then transitions to the foundations of death through mortician tools and a coffin collection. For the faint of heart, I would recommend exiting through the gift shop.

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