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Contact: Susanne Thiede-Barnet, 608-242-8895
Curious, Eccentric and Downright Bizarre
Three Wisconsin attractions truly stand alone
(April 27, 2010)—There’s something in the water in Wisconsin that makes people want to follow their dreams, no matter how strange. Some of these dreams involve building museums and other exhibits that become fascinating roadside curiosities. Here’s three of Wisconsin’s most original and refreshing attractions.
World Mustard Mecca
There can be only one National Mustard Museum, and it turns out it’s located at the corner of Hubbard Avenue and Parmenter Street in downtown Middleton.
The man behind this one-of-a-kind mecca to mustard is Barry Levenson, an energetic man who will quickly convince you that mustard really is the condiment of kings. Visitors to the museum will see more than five thousand jars, bottles and tubes from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. If you have even the slightest interest in mustard, this place is going to fascinate you. If you’re a bona fide mustard lover, the National Mustard Museum will blow your mind.
In addition to tasting various mustards, visitors have a chance to see a movie at the “Mustard Piece Theatre,” sing the “Poupon U Fight Song” and shop for more than 400 varieties of mustard.
The first Saturday in August is the annual National Mustard Day, which is of course celebrated with all the gusto you’d expect from a National Mustard Museum. This year’s festivities occur on August 7, 2010. If you’re a fan of the yellow condiment, you won’t want to miss it.
As owner Barry Levenson likes to say, “Be prepared to be entertained!”
The Strange Frontier
In a region known for eclectic museums and roadside curiosities, the Fort Crawford Museum in Prairie du Chien on the Wisconsin Great River Road stands in a class by itself.
Equal parts frontier history and bizarre medical-history exhibits, it would take the most jaded roadside oddity aficionado not to be impressed by this museum. The combination of frontier artifacts and medical exhibits comes from the fact that the old Fort Crawford, which once protected this part of the American frontier, was home to Dr. William Beaumont, a famous medical pinoeer.
Dr. Beaumont served as an army surgeon at Fort Crawford from the summer of 1828 through the summer of 1832 and performed what today seems like very strange experiments on patients, the findings of which helped advance the scientific understanding of the human digestive system.
Other highlights of the museum include the iron bars from a prison cell that once housed the great Chief Blackhawk and important treaties signed by local chiefs and future American President Zachary Taylor. For fans of roadside curiosities, this is a must-see attraction.
The Little House Frozen in Time
Travelers along the Wisconsin Great River Road are used to seeing various museums and historic markers commemorating important moments in American history. This museum in Fountain City is significant because it captures forever a moment that—though quite shocking—is absolutely not history-book fodder.
In 1995, a giant rock came crashing through the roof and into the bedroom of this tiny home owned by Maxine and Dwight Anderson. Not wanting to test fate, they moved out. But today, the home stands just as it was—the television still on and the rock sitting smack dab in the middle of the master bedroom.
Admission to the home and even the souvenirs are all on the honor system—just leave the money you owe. And the cost to see this arguably interesting sight? Only $1. You and your travel companions can spend the rest of your drive on the Wisconsin Great River Road arguing about whether it was worth it.
Get more information on the National Mustard Museum and other Middleton attractions at www.visitmiddleton.com.
For more information about Prairie du Chien, Fountain City and attractions and other interesting things to see along the Wisconsin Great River Road, visit www.wigreatriverroad.org.
For more information on these and other unusual Wisconsin attractions and destinations, contact Susanne Thiede-Barnet at 608-242-8895 or Susanne@pilchbarnet.com.