Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Middleton, Wisconsin: National Mustard Museum

Barry Levenson was the Assistant Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin in 1986. He also was a devoted Boston Red Sox fan. You might remember the World Series of that year, which didn't go well for the Red Sox. Levenson decided he needed some fun in his life.

So he quit his job and opened the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, near Madison.

One word of advice: go.

This place is amazingly witty, bursting with cleverness. The downstairs area is a not-for-profit organization legally, relying on the donations of visitors. There's a video on the subject called "MustardPiece Theatre." Sample mustard jars from brands throughout the world are on shelves. There's a trivia game about mustard. And an oversized stuffed French's mustard mascot that perfect for silly pictures.

Upstairs, you can buy a lot of different mustard, and can try them first at the Mustard Bar. Then there's the gift shop, filled with stuff actually buying. A sweatshirt devoted to Poupon U.? Check. The post cards are so clever, you'll want to buy a dozen.

Levenson happened to be in the building when we were there, and he's funny and gracious.

You might get some odd looks if you tell people that a mustard museum was a highlight of a vacation. But it will be.

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