A live snail was kept in a museum for years before anyone knew it was alive. In the mid-1800s, scientists found a desert snail and sent it to the British Museum as a specimen. Museum workers thought it was dead, so glued it to a display. The snail was used to starvation and curled up in its shell for hibernation. Four years later, someone noticed the discolored paper, though it shouldn’t have been, if the shell was properly prepared. So, the sleeping snail was discovered. After a warm bath, the snail woke up and lived for another two years, before dying of natural causes.
King Tut’s beard was broken off by museum workers, who glued it back on. The mistake wasn’t discovered until months later.
Some people think that wax models alone are already pretty creepy, but I don’t think even the Chamber of Horrors can touch the pathos of this unintentionally gruesome scene of burnt and melted wax figures after the 1925 fire at Madame Tussauds in London. With missing heads and appendages, charred skin and clothing in disarray, the uncanny wax models truly look like the causalities of some great trauma.
There is a Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia, exhibiting things like a bottle of breakup tears, a divorced bride’s wedding dress, and an axe used to hack an ex’s furniture apart.
There is a museum dedicated to bad art.