Paula Deen, perhaps the deadliest chef in America, will be the subject of a new museum Georgia. The southern comfort-food queen’s first husband, Jimmy Deen, and a local businesswoman want to transform Deen’s childhood home into a museum honoring her rise through the restaurant ranks. The Food Network star’s proclivities for butter will surely be highlighted — and battered, deep-fried, and consumed with abandon. Visitors might not live to tell about it. While Deen is a television favorite, the idea of an all-Deen museum seems rather odd. But it’s not the strangest subject for a cultural institution. Here’s a selection of other bizarre (and a few bizarrely charming) celebrity museums around the world.
Miss Britney Jean was born in rural Kentwood, Louisiana, which is where a small museum was erected in her honor. The Kentwood Museum boasts a permanent Britney Spears exhibition that seems to make up the bulk of their collection. One example of the Britney memorabilia on display is a replica of the stage where the singer performed her HBO concert special, with 600 colored lights and thousands of parts. Here’s a Yelp review that sums everything up: “It’s pretty much just an old, run down house in the middle of nowhere Louisiana with her picture on the outside and what I am imagining to be a bunch of her shit on the inside. And it’s magical.”
The man who fathered a lovechild with his housekeeper and got handsy during his campaign for governor of California has his own museum. The Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum is located in the Austrian village of Thal and was opened by Arnie’s schoolmate Peter Urdl. It’s situated in the actor’s quaint family home, which is preserved as it was in 1947. There, visitors can see the first set of weights the six-time Mr. Olympia used as a teenager, his steel bed, and a replica of his desk from his Sacramento office. Screeching female co-workers not included.
Museum of Celebrity Leftovers
The Museum of Celebrity Leftovers made the news a few years ago when the owners were trying to auction off their collection so they could retire from the business of hoarding the scraps of famous people’s food. Formerly located inside the Old Boatstore Café in Cornwall, England, an unassuming display case featured torn sugar packets, cake crumbs (from the Prince of Wales), and other remnants from celebrity meals, all stored in glass domes. You’ll be happy to hear that the slice of French toast eaten by Justin Timberlake and the tissue Scarlett Johansson blew her nose into were successfully relocated. Priorities.
Swedish popsters ABBA are among the most successful music acts of all time, but how much ABBA does one person really need? Inspired by the Beatles museum in Liverpool, an ABBA museum was founded on an island in central Stockholm. The interactive fan paradise sounds like complete sensory overload — with ABBA holograms, a flashing dance floor, and a piano that is connected to the one in Benny Andersson’s studio. Every time he practices, the museum piano plays his music, which seems like something out of a Scooby-Doo episode and feels a bit stalker-ish.
The Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum is currently trying to raise enough money to move into a new home, and we hope they’ll consider our plea to change the name to Burt Reynolds & Friends of His Mustache (But Not His Back Hair).
Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame
Located inside Frederick’s of Hollywood in Los Angeles, the Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame features the underwear and unmentionables of a number of celebrities. We can do without the boxer shorts Tom Hanks wore in Forrest Gump, but we’re curious about the undies belonging to the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 and Phyllis Diller’s training bra (marked “This Side Up”).
L. Ron Hubbard
Author and Scientology celebrity L. Ron Hubbard is featured at a museum in Los Angeles — right along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, even. Admission is free, but we can’t guarantee someone won’t interrogate you before you enter the gallery, asking questions like: “Have you ever eaten a human body?” and “Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?”
What better way to honor polka prince and “champagne music” maestro Lawrence Welk than with the world’s largest champagne glass? The lit and bubbling glassware rests on a velvet pedestal at the Lawrence Welk Museum in Escondido, California.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Either the smartest or saddest decision in museum planning comes from The Lewis Museum (and Drive-Through Liquor Store). Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister Frankie Jean Lewis Terrell runs the place — the musician’s childhood home — and the adjoining liquor store in Ferriday, Louisiana. Sister Frankie advises that Jerry Lee is gone, but his presence lingers: “Several of my brother’s fans have come here just to meditate, and soak up the Killer’s vibes (they say they can communicate with him!).”
America needs more museums devoted to intellectual, time-traveling, robotic cats that pal around with preteen boys. Or not. Doraemon is one of Japan’s most popular manga characters, but this seems like overkill. Animator Fujiko Fujio is supposed to be the star of the museum, and several of his creations are exhibited at the Kawasaki (near Tokyo) gallery, but the blue cat (with no ears!) is prominently featured.