A trip to Washington DC is something almost every vacationer does at some point as it is home to numerous famous, notable attractions, including many of our nation’s most prominent museums and historical sites. The city is a dream for anyone with an interest in history. For the visitor or local looking for a museum that is not just distinguished paintings and old statues, Washington DC is also home to quite a few museums that stray from the traditional and offer a unique and sometimes weird experience. Here are five of the weirdest museums in the Washington DC area.

International Spy Museum

800 F St. N.W. 
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-7798

Home of politicians and the cradle of democracy, Washington DC is also supposedly the stomping ground for over 10,000 spies and the setting for some of the most notorious cases in the history of covertness. Located mere steps from the Verizon Center, the International Spy Museum chronicles the history of espionage, tales and equipment in the nation’s capital. Visitors will have the chance to see if they have what it takes to be a spy as they go inside the Cold War, World War II and the Civil War in one of the only museums of its kind across the pond.


555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. 
Washington, DC 20001
(888) 639-7386 

With 14 major galleries and 15 theaters, the Newseum offers an interactive and educational experience that presents a unique approach to documenting the country’s biggest news events throughout history. As one of the only museums in the world dedicated purely to investigative journalism, anyone looking to immerse themselves in some of the greatest news stories of our time will be in for a real treat. In addition to interactive installations and exhibits, the Newseum also hosts weekly presentations hosted by some of the biggest names in modern news today.

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

700 Independence Ave. S.W. 
Washington, DC 20560
(202) 633-4674

In Washington DC, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities to immerse oneself in fine art – the Phillips Collection and the Corcoran are just two of the galleries that offer world class art in the city. But if you are looking for an art experience that is truly unique, then the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden are your best bets for seeing some offbeat and weird pieces. Like the art, even the building is unique with a dramatic spiral staircase and circular structure, and visitors of all levels of art history foundation will be able to enjoy the interesting and strange pieces on display.

Heurich House Museum: The Brewmaster’s Castle

1307 New Hampshire Ave. N.W. 
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 429-1894

Christian Heurich was considered to be one of the world’s oldest brewers, having run his brewery until his death at 102 years of age. Housed in a small museum in a late Victorian-era home just off DuPont Circle, while not offering much in terms of large-scale exhibits and interesting artifacts, the cool factor for this museum comes from being one of DC’s oldest homes and connections to the brewing tradition. The museum offers tours by reservation, and while it may be small, there is still a lot of unique history packed into this small hidden treasure.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment

575 7th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 621-5550

This interesting museum explores the history of law enforcement, forensic science and crime and is a must see for any CSI fans. The museum includes a crime lab and the filming studios for “America’s Most Wanted.” Visitors can also enjoy a simulated shooting range, high-speed police chase and numerous interactive exhibits and artifacts, such as J. Edgar Hoover’s revolver and Pancho Villa’s death mask. Missing out on a visit to the Crime Museum would be a real, dare we say it, crime.

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Matthew Scott is a freelance writer covering all things Washington DC. His work can be found on Examiner.com.