We don’t always have to go far to search for what can make something that is seemingly ordinary extraordinary. In fact that is what makes the objects of these local museums remarkable. 

American International Rattlesnake Museum 

The American International Rattlesnake Museum is home to the world’s largest collections of rattlesnakes, which are housed in various terrariums. The museum intends to dispel theories and conspiracies surrounding rattlesnake behaviors and fears that people have about reptiles. The museum emphasizes the necessary steps that are needed to preserve rattlesnake populations. At the museum you will find not only rattlesnakes but other Southwestern creatures including turtles, scorpions and tarantulas. They have preserved snake oil, which according to Chinese healing medicine can be used to relieve pain and inflammation—particularly for patients who suffer from arthritis and bursitis. As a bonus the owner will give you a certificate of bravery for coming to visit. Buy your tickets online at https://www.rattlesnakes.com/

Tinkertown Museum

Driving to the Tinkertown Museum you may want to ride through Tijeras along the Route 66 Musical Road where the road plays a part of “America the Beautiful” if you travel at a speed limit of 45 mph. The Tinkertown Museum is home to a collection of carved, collected and constructed “tinkers” created by Ross Ward. Their website reads, “Ever a work in progress, Tinkertown is ready to inspire your imagination and awaken your creative spirit.” Ward took over 40 years to manifest this project, originally part of a traveling exhibition in the 1960s and ’70s. Many of the tinkers come to life inside the museum, including one particularly funny Western-themed exhibit. A fortune teller named Esmerelda will tell you your fortune or play a tune for a quarter. The museum allows you to move at your own pace and enjoy the magic surrounding the many whimsical elements and stories. Tickets can be purchased online at https://tinkertown.com/

Telephone Pioneer Museum 

You’ve probably walked right past the Telephone Pioneer Museum in Downtown Albuquerque and never noticed the tiny museum front. It features several phones that showcase the history and the evolution of phones. The narrative starts with the first invention of phones by Alexander Graham Bell and traces them all the way to today’s cell phones. The museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 1pm. Numerous switchboards are accompanied by audio conveying information about their functionality. The audio presentations available can be appreciated by both adults and children. A great plus is that many of the people who work and volunteer at the museum have experience working for phone companies and can provide a lot of relevant information such as how detrimental switchboards and phones were to women being a relevant part of the workforce. Walk up for tickets or call the museum at (505) 842-2937 for more information.

The history and exhibits in these museums can instantly become of great fascination as it tickles our minds and exposes how something that may be seemingly prosaic or peculiar can actually be extremely tantalizing.