Perhaps you don’t find the existence of a National Mustard Museum to be all that unexpected. But then you probably enjoy spreading mustard down the length of a thick wiener trapped between two fresh buns. Frankly, I prefer the spicy attraction of Tabasco Sauce’s thin red line to the singularly unappetizing yellow thickness of mustard. As for taste, well, no mustard can possibly compare to hot sauce. If you are not like me, then the National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin must surely be less of an unexpected tourist destination than the Tabasco plantation down on Avery Island.
Middleton, Wisconsin is home to the National Mustard Museum. If you have a love for mustard the way I have for hot sauce, then not only should this Wisconsin attraction not be unexpected, it should be placed in a position of high esteem. Mustard samples? Of course. What would any museum devoted to a favorite condiment be without the opportunity to expand the limits of your taste buds with samples galore. That would be like stopping over in Atlanta to visit the Coca-Cola museum and only getting to try Classic Coke. What’s the point man?
The only thing that could possibly make the National Mustard Museum better for the mustard lover who wants to put his tongue to the test by sampling literally hundreds of different mustards from around the world would be if admission was free. Which it is! A free museum (donations welcome, thank you very much) with free samples of mustard to choose from that includes flavors ranging hot like wasabi to cool like a cranberry. I tell you, if I loved mustard, I’d so find a way to find myself in Middleton, Wisconsin.
But then again, if all you have to offer is a gift store that sells full size portions of the free samples of mustard you just tasted for free, you could hardly refer to the place as a National Mustard Museum. No matter how unexpected the focus of a museum might be, it is still required to be more than just a dolled-up store in order to qualify as a museum. Exhibits is what I’m talking about. And don’t you dare say that you would be happy if the National Mustard Museum limited itself to exhibiting the more 5600 varieties of mustard from around the world it has managed to track down. True, the chance to set your eyes on the packaging of more than 5600 varieties of mustard is nothing to sneeze at, but a museum needs to be more than just examples of its topic. You need to include some history. A little context.
Exhibits like, say, a Great Wall of Mustard. Or a collection of antique mustard pots. (What even are mustard pots?) Or some of the most artistic mustard advertising through the decades. I mean, after all, that advertising has made the Coca-Cola Museum almost become an art museum for some people. So, yes, the National Mustard Museum does truly qualify for its status as museum. Although, to be honest, a life-sized replica of that “Do you have any Grey Poupon” guy or maybe an autographed original of the handwritten lyrics to “Mean Mr. Mustard” that John Lennon scribbled while in India would go a long way toward making this thing a can’t-miss even for mustard-denying skeptics like me.