New York's Tiniest Museum Provides Big Fun

In TriBeCa's Cortlandt Alley, between Franklin and White Streets, on the site of a former freight elevator, you'll find one of New York City's tiniest museums, measuring just 60 square feet. (By comparison, the largest museum in the world, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is 2 million square feet.)

Museum (a small name for a small place) opened in mid-2012, with a Mayor Rudolph Giuliani lookalike cutting the opening ribbon, according to the New York Times. And while some may have been disappointed not to see the real former mayor there (though, as the Times notes, Museum's founder did try to get a real politician to attend), a lookalike more accurately reflects the oddness of this place, as Museum specializes in some of the world's strangest personal collections (many featuring small objects).

Past shows have focused on misspelled food container labels, items belonging to late pornography publisher Al Goldstein, tip jars, and international toothpaste tubes, just to name a few. The permanent collection, meanwhile, includes both a shoe thrown at George Bush and a package of gummy worms that was probably left out in the sun a little too long.

It's clear Museum is out to make visitors laugh while providing a one-of-a-kind experience. If you're thirsty and/or want to remember your visit (though, really, how could you forget?), Museum also tries to be accommodating, with a gift "shelf" standing in for a gift shop and a coffee machine standing in for a cafe.

When Museum is closed, as it is right now, visitors are still encouraged to look at the exhibits through the viewing windows and to call the audio guide. Through February 15, they have over a dozen exhibits (somehow, they managed to squeeze them all in there) showcasing old peep show coins, dolls made to look like they have Down's Syndrome, censored Saudi Arabian pool toys, moss, 200 dead Indian mosquitoes and much more. You can also check out Museum's Annex, located right next door and opening in February.

Seems like passing either up would be a pretty big mistake.

Gena Hymowech is a freelance writer whose articles regularly appear in GO Magazine, Lambda Literary and, of course, MapQuest. Follow her on Twitter @genah.