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Museums with niche collections

Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History
235 Wellesley St., Weston


This is one of only two public museums in the United States devoted to stamps and postal history. The Spellman has more than 2 million items, including the world’s first adhesive postage stamp (Great Britain’s 1840 Penny Black), and the first American stamp, from 1847. There’s even a dress made out of stamps.

The Plumbing Museum
80 Rosedale Road,

Where else could you find antique chamber pots, a urinal designed for women, and an ornamental wash-down toilet from 1891? You can also see the type of commode used by James J. “Whitey” Bulger in prison, and a circa-1830 cast iron pan closet, one of the earliest mechanical toilets. Free; open by appointment.

Museum of Bad Art

MOBA’s slogan — “art too bad to be ignored” — says it all. Formerly a fixture in the Dedham Community Theatre’s basement, the museum now has two brick-and-mortar locations: the lobby of Brookline Access Television, on the top floor at 46 Tappan St., and the basement of the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square.

Burnt Food Museum

The creation of harpist Deborah Henson-Conant and friends, the virtual museum offers an updated compendium of culinary disasters photographed for posterity, and accompanied by saucy descriptions.

International Paper Museum8 Evans Road, Brookline

This free museum, located in a carriage house and open by appointment, features papermaking equipment, and a collection of handmade toilet paper.

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