By definition, a museum is a place “devoted to the procurement, care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value.” From Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum to Canyon’s Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Texas has an abundance of such places, filled with priceless paintings and ancient artifacts. But ardent hobbyists and educated experts have meticulously curated a slew of super-niche museums devoted to more-idiosyncratic treasures too. Depositories dedicated to barbed wire (the Devil’s Rope Museum, in McLean), music players (Smitty’s Juke Box Museum, in Pharr), and Elvis (Little Graceland, in Los Fresnos) are as wide-ranging in subject as they are narrow in scope.

In San Antonio, one Alamo Heights garage has been transformed into Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum. The 94-year-old artist—a retired master plumber—gives tours of the commode crowns he’s been fashioning for the past fifty years. Inspired by history, current events, and his own travels, Smith has decorated 1,163 seats (and counting) with everything from Batman figurines and Communion cups to volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens and rocks from the Rio Grande. None are for sale, but if you bring him a fresh “canvas” when you come for a tour (be sure to call ahead), he’ll write your name on the back of his next masterpiece. 239 Abiso Ave, 210-824-7791


It would be a grave mistake to think that the National Museum of Funeral History is solely about death. Yes, you can learn about historical mourning traditions and embalming techniques. But most of the exhibits, spread out over 30,500-plus square feet, celebrate lives lived, including those of the papal and the presidential—both Pope John Paul II’s Popemobile and George Washington’s funeral bill are on display. 415 Barren Springs Dr, 281-876-3063,


Who knows when the first human will walk on Mars, but you only have to journey to the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery, on the TCU campus, to touch a pinkish hunk of the red planet for yourself. The gallery’s late namesake, who began his collection in the thirties, amassed more than 1,100 fallen meteor fragments, including one found at the site of the prehistoric hundred-foot-deep Odessa Meteor Crater. 2950 W. Bowie, 817-257-6277, monnig​


St. Louis’s loss was Arlington’s gain when the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame relocated here in 2010. Though the campus includes a training center for the pros, even novices will be knocked out by the exhibits on the sport’s ancient Egyptian origins and its more than seven hundred Hall of Famers. You’ll also find out how a bowling ball is made—and whether you can best your kids at a mini-game. 621 Six Flags Dr, 817-385-8215,


What began as a cabinet of collectibles has grown into the Scarlett O’Hardy’s Gone With the Wind Museum, an homage to the 1936 novel turned 1939 movie. Owner Bobbie Hardy has artfully arranged her hundred-plus editions of the epic tome, her international movie posters, and an assortment of other memorabilia, like reproductions of Vivien Leigh’s jewel-tone gowns and a dollhouse-size Twelve Oaks. 408 E. Taylor, 903-665-1939,