The National Mustard Museum (Or “Not quite chipmunks in hula skirts. But still pretty awesome.”

October 8, 2015

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When I arrived at my cousin’s house near Madison, Wisconsin this past summer, she informed me that she had been researching weird, off-the-wall places for us to visit during my stay there.

Because this is how my extended family thinks of me: as a complete and total weirdo.


Her Internet research had uncovered two possibilities.

The first was the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, home to the world’s largest collection of mustard.

This sounded promising.

I mean, mustard is probably my most favorite of all the condiments. It’s sophisticated and spicy yet versatile and tastes good on chicken fingers. Kind of like me. (Minus the chicken-finger-thing, that is.)

The second option was something called the Dead Pals of Sam Sanfillippo, which according to the Internet was the basement of a funeral home turned into a museum of taxidermied animals posed in tiny costumes acting out tiny scenes.

Now, this — THIS — sounded like every single one of my dreams in life come true.

And then my cousin informed me that the Dead Pals of Sam Sanfillippo had closed its doors some years back when the owner, Sam Sanfillippo, had died.

Of course, I did the most horrible thing ever and Google-searched it. Up on my computer screen flashed images so brilliant and awe-inspiring it was like staring at the sun. There were squirrels playing poker and riding in pink Barbie convertibles. There were chipmunks squealing on ferris wheels and dancing in hula skirts. And, of course, this being Wisconsin, there was a badger wearing a sweater, doing whatever badgers do.

It pained me to realize I would never be able to witness any of this stuffed animal wonderfulness in person.

I suddenly understood how people who have a near-death experience must feel afterwards. One minute they’re walking towards the light, looking forward to an afterlife of flitting around on angel wings and floating on clouds. And the next minute they’re yanked back down to earth, where there’s no flitting or floating, just lots of driving around in rush hour traffic.

So, alas, the National Mustard Museum it was.

Which I do have to admit was pretty amazing, even if there were no squirrels in Barbie cars.

There was, of course, a huge collection of mustard.

There were international mustards.


And old-timey mustards.


There were educational displays on the various uses and properties of mustard. Like, hey, did you know that mustard  can not only act as a tasty snack dip but also as a cure for venomous snake bites?


There was a video about the history of mustard. Which was called “Mustard Piece Theatre.” Because of course it was.

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There was even a fine collection of mustard art.


Because you can never have too much mustard art.


I have to admit I was impressed by the museum’s attention to detail. Or, attention to mustard, as the case may be. I mean, even the hand soap in the bathroom had been mustardized!

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After touring the museum, we stopped in the gift shop, which sold every manner of mustard imaginable and, best of all, had free samples.


As I crammed my mouth full of pretzel sticks and sesame honey mustard dip (which OMG, you guys, SO GOOD!), I started to feel better about missing out on the Dead Pals of Sam Sanfillippo.

I mean, sure, there will always be chipmunk-in-a-hula-skirt-shaped hole in my heart. But, at the same time, The National Mustard Museum had free samples. And there isn’t anything I like much more than free samples — even Barbie-car-driving squirrels.

I highly doubt that a taxidermy museum in the basement of a funeral home would have free food samples. And, if they did, well, I’m not so sure I’d want to be a part of that.


What’s the weirdest, most off-the-wall museum you’ve ever been to? 


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 8, 2015 at 11:00 pm Carmel said:

    This is so up my alley. For our first dating anniversary, Shawn and I drove an hour and a half to this place near the coast that has an extensive mustard bar. Yep, that was the whole point of our trip. We are somewhat pathetic, I know. But at least we have each other.
    Carmel recently posted..20 WEEKS DOWN, 20 WEEKS TO GO

  2. On October 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm De'Jav Speller said:

    As many times as I’ve been up to Madison never knew this existed. Sounds like a place that provides good education on mustard.

  3. On October 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm susan said:

    Sally, Mustard is considered very sophisticated in other countries.

    I was brought up eating Coleman’s powdered mustard on lamb roast and other favorite foods. The main office in the UK and seems to be doing rather well!

    There is also a store in Paris that sells many varieties of mustards.

    Hope that you can visit both. The addresses are given below. Bon appetit!

  4. On October 16, 2015 at 5:47 am Ron@MichiganHousesOnline said:

    Yay! Never knew such place exist. A museum for mustard and mustard lovers. Thanks for posting this up!
    Ron@MichiganHousesOnline recently posted..Things To Do to Achieve The Perfect Bedroom Layout

    • On October 25, 2015 at 9:46 am Sally said:

      Definitely recommended if you’re ever in/near Madison. Plus, there’s a place next door that sells excellent pie. So, you know, go for the mustard, stay for the pie.

  5. On October 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm Priya said:

    Mustard soap in the bathroom? Now that’s class.
    Priya recently posted..Confession: I’m NOT Trying To Find Myself


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