A Visit to the Museum… Restroom?


Museums have exhibit space, and they have restrooms. But why not use restrooms as exhibit space, even if just for an image or two on the wall?

The Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park doesn’t have any animals living in the restroom, but visitors can learn about animals’ “bathroom” habits by reading panels on the walls. After learning about this aspect of lobsters and naked mole-rats, visitors read at the bottom of the poster where they can see these animals at the Zoo.

Newseum

At the Newseum, the walls of the facilities display real newspaper bloopers, corrections, and headlines with unintentional double entendres. I recently heard a visitor say, “It’s hard to leave the bathroom with all those bloopers!”

The Textile Museum washroom has a whimsical border comprised of textile-related terms:

Textile Museum

Cylburn Arboretum promotes its message of conservation throughout the grounds, including in the restrooms, which use composting toilets and provide information on how they work.

Cylburn Arboretum

And the art doesn’t stop at the restroom door at the Torpedo Factory. Inside are unique tiles that include these kitties:

Torpedo Factory

What are your favorite museum restrooms?

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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