The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History
Even though London is home to nearly all sorts of weird museums, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History in E8, London takes the prize for the most bizarre. Also known as the Last Tuesday Society Shop, this weirdly fascinating museum is housed in a former call center on Mare Street.
It features all sorts of oddities from Napoleon’s death mask, a mermaid from Fiji, insect sculptures to full-size taxidermied polar bear to lion specimens and can be best described as the 21st-century wunderkabinett. Check out more about the museum below.
The Story behind the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities began as a small basement gallery known as the Viktor Wynd little shop of horrors. Viktor Wynd, the man behind this fascinating but bizarre museum, is an avid collector of oddities, artist, impresario, and a proponent of pataphysics, an equally bizarre philosophy defined as the science of imagination. Wynd began his collection with seashells and slowly expanded it with curiosities, Fine Art to interestingly bizarre stuff like a two-headed lamb, dodo bones, to parts of pickled prostitutes.
The gallery officially opened its doors as a public museum in 2014 after a successful kick-starter campaign. Today it is among Hackney’s most visited museums and is guaranteed to blow away your mind whether or not you’re into oddities.
Unlike regular museums that attempt to tell the story behind each exhibit, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities doesn’t try to explain or educate. Instead, it features a collection of Curiosities, naturalia, and artificial exhibits designed to create a sense of wonder and pleasure among its visitors. Simply put, it’s a gallery of weirdly wonderful oddities collected on a whim based on their historical or visual appeal to evoke wonder and fascination.
What to Do at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
For a memorable experience at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, and Natural History, consider:
Taking a Guided Tour
Sure, a self-guided tour is great but for an immersive experience, sign up for guided tours of the museum. Viktor Wynd himself guides visitors through the basement, telling stories of how he came across the various bizarre exhibits found here. He’ll show you things you would have otherwise missed keeping it interesting from when the tour begins to the end. Even better, the tour includes a complimentary glass of gin & tonic, which accentuates the thrill of being surrounded by oddities like shrunken heads and dead babies in bottles.
Visiting the Cocktail Bar
The Viktor Wynd’s shop of horrors has a fully-functioning cocktail bar upstairs. Like the museum it’s housed in, the cocktail bar serves all sorts of unusual spirits and is the only place in East London you can find absinthe.
Before You Head Out
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art, and Natural History is located on 11 Mare Street in Hackney. Opening hours and prices vary, so you might want to book or call in advance for more information.