You don’t need to visit the world’s most famous and expensive museums to find inspiration. There are many smaller museums off the beaten path that can make you think about things differently and change your mood by the time you walk past all the glass cases and through the interactive displays. If you’re feeling pessimistic about the future or are just tired of negativity in the news, here are four little-known museums with feel-good messages that might just inspire you to change your outlook.
Museum of Confiscated Art in Brest, Belarus
The Museum of Confiscated Art doesn’t have any well-known pieces by famous artists, but its collection is an inside view of a mysterious world. This museum actually celebrates works that have been plucked from the hands of thieves and saved from the underground world of black market trading. Located on a former smuggling route that helped people get stolen art and artifacts across international lines, the museum works with customs authorities to get these confiscated pieces out of evidence crates and into display cases to be appreciated and enjoyed by the public. Its collection is proof of the fight against art thieves and the victory of the law over crime. Even though the provenance of most of the paintings, sculptures, and antiquities can never be determined, the authorities have been able to return some of the pieces to the rightful owners, which is definitely something to feel good about.
Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California
The Museum of Tolerance is a unique, interactive museum with high-tech exhibits that take visitors through time to experience episodes of history spurred by prejudice and bigotry such as the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, and modern terrorism. Instead of focusing on tragedy and loss, this acclaimed museum uses state-of-the-art technology to motivate people, to overcome discrimination, and to turn its visitors into agents of positive change to make the world a better place. It customizes its programs for all ages to promote its ultimate goal of a tolerant and peaceful world for everyone, and many people leave with a new outlook on how to be a better world citizen.
Museum for World Peace in Kyoto, Japan
Located at Ritsumeikan University, the Museum for World Peace explores the effects of both civil and international war and how conflict leads to suffering. Its exhibits and programs teach the benefits of peace, democracy, understanding, and society’s responsibility to maintain a peaceful world. The museum includes a Peace Art Gallery and memorial and promotes a strong but uplifting message about the dangers of conflict and violence and how humans can be better toward each other. It’s an inspirational lesson in values and the ways in which people can rise above their worst tendencies for the betterment of humanity. You can even add your own wish for peace and hope for the future on the museum’s Peace Message display.
Love Stories Museum in Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Love Stories Museum is dedicated to romance, true love, and stories of couples who found love and happiness. Its three primary exhibits feature memorabilia about notable couples and romances from productions that have been filmed in the city, the real-life love stories behind popular love songs, and the role of love in Dubrovnik history and folklore. The rest of the museum is a collection of love stories and mementos submitted by ordinary people who want to share their extraordinary happiness with others. The last stop is a giant signing wall where handwritten messages will inspire and encourage you to find, enjoy, and appreciate the love in your life.
While they might feature traditional exhibits, each of these institutions has a message that promotes hope and happiness and celebrates the best of human nature. If you’re ever in any of these areas, these feel-good museums deserve a visit. They’ll restore your faith in the best of humanity and will inspire your positive outlook on the future of the world.