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BY LYNN O'ROURKE HAYES
The Dallas Morning News
If you are looking for a change of pace, add one of these off-the-beaten-path museums to your itinerary. Here are five quirky and fun places to consider:
1. The Washboard Factory and Museum, Logan, Ohio. The Columbus Washboard Co. launched in the backyard of the original owner's home in 1895. He took great pride in the handmade washboards, just as the proprietors do today. Take a tour of this unique museum and learn the difference between washboards used to clean clothes and those used to make music. Each June, the free Washboard Music Festival, held in the state's scenic southeastern hill country, celebrates the history of this American-made product, including the world's largest washboard on the side of the factory.
Contact: 740/380-3828; colum buswashboard.com
2. UFO Museum, Roswell, N.M. In July 1947, a major thunderstorm struck this New Mexico community, but did something else happen that night? Your family can investigate what has come to be known as the Roswell Incident. Will you determine that a flying saucer landed in nearby ranch land? Or was it a weather balloon? Are there really alien creatures? Review firsthand accounts and exhibits before coming to your own conclusions. Don't miss the gift shop, where you'll find alien bobble heads, stickers, playing cards and jewelry.
Contact: 800/822-3545; roswell
3. Motown Museum, Detroit. The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson 5 all got their start in Hitsville, USA, and went on to create the Motown Sound. Mixing gospel, jazz and street music, producers created unique sounds using state-of-the-art techniques in Studio A. Music-loving family members can still see much of that equipment today and learn about all the performers who were ushered into stardom by the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy Jr.
Contact: 313/875-2264; motown
4. Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wis. Visit the site of the original winter headquarters for the famed circus, known as Ringlingville. You'll learn how the five Ringling brothers crafted performances that would become a colorful part of our American culture. See an extraordinary collection of artifacts, including circus wagons, expansive posters, costumes, photographs and the personal belongings of some performers.
Contact: 866/693-1500; circus world.wisconsinhistory.org
5. Devil's Rope Museum, McLean, Texas. This is the place to learn the role that sharp and twisted wire played in the development of Texas and beyond. Separating cattle and crops, more than 2,000 variations of barbed wire and other farm and ranch tools take center stage at this collector's haven on the old Route 66. Closed January and February.
Contact: 806/779-2225; barb