Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Museum collections with weird art and artifacts that will shock you

Museum collections with weird art and artifacts that will shock you

These museum collections have truly odd pieces on view, including Anthony Weiner’s sexts and pronghorn poop.

By Jenna Scherer |
Advertising
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image)
1/5
Photograph: Courtesy of Museum of the Moving ImageC-3PO tape dispenser at the Museum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Alvina Lai)
2/5
Photograph: Alvina LaiWooden brick from The City Reliquary
 (Photograph: AMNH/Denis Finnin)
3/5
Photograph: AMNH/Denis FinninElkhorn Ranch diorama at the American Museum of Natural History
 (Photograph: Courtesy of Radar.com)
4/5
Photograph: Courtesy of Radar.comAnthony Weiner's sext transcripts
 (Photograph: Courtesy Rubin Museum of Art)
5/5
Photograph: Courtesy Rubin Museum of ArtPrayer beads made from snake spine at the Rubin Museum of Art

Museum collections aren’t just full of old paintings and historic artifacts—you’ll also often find bizarre items that you won’t see anywhere else. Check out six of the weirdest artifacts found in New York museum collections, including one of Anthony Weiner’s sexting transcripts at the Museum of Sex. (You’ll never look at the mayoral hopeful the same way again.)

RECOMMENDED: Museums in New York

Advertising
Wooden brick from The City Reliquary
Photograph: Alvina Lai
Museums, History

Wooden brick at City Reliquary Museum

Williamsburg

This tiny Williamsburg collection devoted to NYC ephemera probably has more bizarre items than any other institution in the city. But we’re drawn to this artifact from a long-forgotten Gotham: a weather-beaten block from the last-known wooden sidewalk in Brooklyn, which ran along Greenpoint’s West Street in the 19th century.

Elkhorn Ranch diorama at the American Museum of Natural History
Photograph: AMNH/Denis Finnin
Museums, Science and technology

Pronghorn droppings in the Roosevelt Elkhorn Ranch diorama at American Museum of Natural History

Upper West Side

You can’t accuse the AMNH of skimping on the details. Last year, in order to lend realism to this diorama in the Hall of North American Mammals, curators added a little something extra: actual pronghorn doo-doo, collected by park rangers at the real-life Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. The poo was freeze-dried, then placed with a coffee scoop.

Advertising
Wiener panel 2
Photograph: Courtesy of Radar.com
Museums, Special interest

Anthony Weiner’s sexting transcript at Museum of Sex (MoSex)

Flatiron

“i hear liberal girls are very, uh, accommodating of others.” Thus begins the creepy foreplay section of then-Representative—and, improbably, current mayoral hopeful—Anthony Weiner and blackjack dealer Lisa Weiss’s series of 2010–11 Facebook messages. The full three-page transcript is on display in MoSex’s “Universe of Desire” exhibition.

Prayer beads made from snake spine at the Rubin Museum of Art
Photograph: Courtesy Rubin Museum of Art
Museums, Art and design

Snake-spine and human-cranium prayer beads at Rubin Museum of Art

Chelsea

Prayer beads come in a wide variety of sizes and materials, but these two particular strands, both Tibetan, are some of the strangest. One set, made from the vertebrae of a snake, was likely used in Himalayan shamanic rituals. Another set is made from a human skull and was probably used for wrathful tantric practice. “Count Your Blessings” exhibit (opens Aug 2).

Advertising