There are many amazing museums across the world dedicated to the world of cinema. The U.K. alone boasts the Cinema Museum, the London Film Museum (home to the must-visit Bond In Motion exhibition), the National Media Museum in Bradford, and the The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in Exeter.
There are huge movie museums in many major cities around the world, and we can’t wait for George Lucas’s long-awaited Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to finally open in 2021.
Each of these museums is a treasure trove of artefacts from the world of cinema and are an incredible resource of knowledge for any budding cinephile.
However, beyond these huge, academic establishments did you know that there are smaller museums dedicated to single films or franchises that are also open for business?
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Here are seven of the most weirdly specific movie museums that you should immediately put on your bucket list of destinations to visit.
Twister: The Movie Museum
Open from April to August, the museum boasts a number of artefacts from the making of the film that starred Bill Paxton, Holly Hunt and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a gang of tornado-chasers, which filmed in the local vicinity.
Its prize exhibit is Dorothy I, the meteorological device used in the film to measure the strength of a tornado, but you can also see Bill Paxton’s Twister pinball machine which he donated to the museum, and bricks from a building destroyed by the film’s SFX team along with candid photos from the shoot donated by local residents.
The Mad Max 2 museum
Opened in 2010, the Mad Max 2 museum is open seven days a week in Silverton, New South Wales, 25km from where the film was shot. It’s Australia’s first and only museum dedicated to George Miller’s iconic dystopian franchise, starring Mel Gibson, and its primary focus is on the second Mad Max film: 1981’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
It’s the work of Bradford-born Adrian Bennett who says his life was changed forever when he saw the film at a local cinemas with friends in 1982. He moved to Australia in 2006, before settling in Silverton in 2009 when work begun on the museum when he began to amass a collection of original action vehicles, props and relics from the film.
According to the museum’s website, exhibits on display include “a large collection of photographs, life size characters in full costumes, original and replica vehicles including two Interceptor’s one of which was built by Adrian himself.”
The Wizard of Oz museum
The Oz Museum can be found in Wamego, Kansas, where else? It’s open all year round (bar Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day), and it’s dedicated to L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book, the 1939 MGM musical starring Judy Garland, and other adaptations of the story.
It has over 2,000 exhibits on display including flying monkey miniatures used in the 1939 movie, Ray Bolger’s (the original Scarecrow actor) passport, original posters, and even a death certificate signed by the original Munchkin Coroner.
Every October the town plays host to OZtoberFest which brings together Oz-lovers from around the world to celebrate the Wizard of Oz, where a local winery serves Oz-themed wines such as Squished Witch and Drunken Munchkin.
The It’s a Wonderful Life museum
Opened in 2010 The Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum can be found in Seneca Falls, New York, a small town that’s believed to be the inspiration for Bedford Falls, the film’s fictional location.
Frank Capra, the director of the festive classic is said to have visited Seneca Falls while writing the script, and the town boasts a number of strikingly similar architectural landmarks with Bedford Falls. One of those is a steel truss bridge where a local man drowned in 1917 trying to save a woman who jumped from it in a suicide bid, which many believe inspired the plot of the film.
The museum, which is open all year round, displays over 200 items from Karolyn Grimes’ personal collection. Grimes, who plays Zuzu Bailey in the film, was instrumental in founding the museum which plays host to the annual It’s A Wonderful Life Festival.
The Gone With the Wind museum
Inspired by Victor Fleming’s 1939 epic, which remains the most successful film of all time when you adjust for inflation, the Marietta Gone With The Wind Museum can be found in Marietta, Georgia where’s it’s open six days a week.
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It’s home to an extensive memorabilia collection donated by collector Dr. Christopher Sullivan, the self-styled ‘keeper of the Gone With The Wind flame’, including the "bengaline gown" worn by Vivien Leigh in her role as Scarlett O'Hara, and many other artefacts from behind the scenes of the film.
Earlier this year Marietta held a town-wide celebration of the film’s 80th anniversary with a local hotel offering an unfortunately named ‘Weekend of ‘Wind’’ special rate.
The Star Wars museum
Boasting “the world’s largest privately-owned Star Wars collection”, Rancho Obi-Wan is a 9,000-square-foot museum in rural Sonoma county just outside Petaluma, California.
Personally curated by Lucasfilm’s former Director of Content Management and head of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet, its collection of Star Wars memorabilia (300,000 items and counting) is so exhaustive that it was recognised in 2013 by the Guinness Book of Records as being the largest of its kind in the world.
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Star Wars fans who want a tour of Rancho Obi-Wan will want to book in advance and you’ll need to become a member of Rancho Obi-Wan, Inc to visit.
The Harry Potter museum
Where the other museums on this list are not officially affiliated with the Hollywood studios responsible for the films they honour, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is an altogether much more polished experience.
Located next door to Warner Bros. own studio in Leavesden, London, The Making of Harry Potter is the ultimate destination for fans of JK Rowling’s Wizarding World and is packed to the rafters with costumes, props, models, and more all located on life-size sets used in the eight original Harry Potter films, and the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs.
It’s constantly expanding and evolving, adding on new experiences every year, as well as hosting special events around holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas where fans can enjoy experiential dining events in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. Unmissable and indispensable for film fans of all ages, even if you’re not a Potter-head.