Looking for Portland museums that are a bit different? Well, there’s no doubt that Portland can be downright quirky at times. And with the famous moniker of “Keep Portland Weird” celebrated as part of the Rose City’s unofficial DNA, is there any doubt that PDX would also offer some pretty unique museums to visit as well?

For Portlanders, there’s no question that many have long time memories of catching a laser light show at the city’s most famous museum, OMSI, or as it is technically known, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. For other inhabitants of Bridge City, it’s a visit to downtown Portland to view the works of such artists like Monet while on display at the Portland Art Museum.


For whatever your interests are, there seems to be a museum for everybody in the state of Oregon’s largest city. And when we say everybody, we mean everybody.

Along with the theme of Portland’s celebrated quirkiness, many locals might be surprised to learn that there are more than just a couple museums located here. And, while it would be easier to write a post showcasing some of the more well-known museums Portland has-to offer, we thought we’d instead, showcase some of the more, shall we say, peculiar ones.

Here Are 9 Peculiar Museums To Visit In Portland, Oregon

Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

In the words of the founder, Portland adventurer Conrad Talmadge Elwood, the Peculiarium is a store dedicated to learning and terror. While at the Peculiarium, visitors can discover interactive displays for all six senses, including retro candies, toys, novelties, gags, books, original artwork, tricks one-of-a-kind oddities, ephemera and more. All while having a light snack, complete with edible insects and the likes.

The Hat Museum

The Hat Museum is America’s largest hat museum boasting more than 1,000 hats. The paid tours through the museum will take visitors on a journey through 4 fabulous collections from hats ranging from antique and vintage hats, to men’s hats, novelty and costume hats, and finally a look at today’s hats.

Movie Madness

Not only does Movie Madness boast the world’s most extensive video, DVD, and Blue-Ray rental selection, it also is host to a unique Museum of Motion Picture History. The museum literally takes you on a journey that spans the entire history of cinema with its over 100 pieces of one of a kind costumes and props.

Ping Pong’s Pint Size Puppet Museum

Portland Puppet Museum is your place to learn about all things puppet and as their website says, to let loose your inner child. Ping Pong’s Pint Size Puppet Museum is Oregon’s first and only puppet museum.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals

This museum can be a little confusing if you don’t read the name correctly. It is not a museum about rice, but rather, showcases not only fine rocks and minerals, but also fossils, meteorites, lapidary art, and gemstones from both the Pacific Northwest and all around the world.

Stark’s Vacuum Museum

The Stark’s Vacuum Museum is uniquely one of a kind! The museum features more than just old vacuums, –it contains three different timelines all integrated into one display. Included is a vacuum history timeline; where you can learn the history of the vacuum cleaner! Recently, they’ve reduced the museum from over 300 vacuums to 25 of the most iconic and loved vacuums in history.


vintageTEK is an educational and scientific museum founded to commemorate the early history of Tektronix. During the course of the company’s history, Tektronix played a major role in spawning approximately 300 high technology companies in the Silicon Forest, the four county, two state metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon.

The Zymoglyphic Museum

The Zymoglyphic Museum is the world’s only institution devoted to the study and display of art, artifacts, and natural history of the Zymoglyphic region.

Ernest Starr Memorial Museum of Dental Anomalies

This museum is quite possibly one of the smallest museums in Portland, and frankly, one of the city’s most unique ones, too. Located on the first floor of the OSHU School of Dentistry’s Skourtes Tower, this collection is composed of a roughly 500 dental anomalies culled from patients seen by Dr. Starr and his colleagues. **unfortunately the museum appears to have closed**

Portland Museums Are Unique

As you can see, whether you are into teeth, puppets, eating live insects, advancements in technology, cinema, rocks, zymoglyphics, or vacuum cleaners and more, Portland is no slouch when it comes to offering a little something for everybody.

Of course, these are just 9 peculiar museums of the many more located right here in Portlandia. Which of these PDX museums have you visited? If you haven’t, hopefully we’ve piqued your interest and that some or all of these museums will find their place on your Portland-area Bucket List for places to see.

For certain, please be sure to check the museum websites to learn more about admission pricing and when they are open to the public. Until then, enjoy!!