| Museums |

3 Very Special Texas Museums: Toilet Seats, Cockroaches and Creationism

Who: Former plumber-turned-folk artist Barney Smith is the man who keeps the Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum afloat. In 2010, the museum had more than 1,000 pressed wood seats, which he engraves, paints and otherwise decorates. On the inside of each seat, Smith details the materials used, inspiration for the design and other pertinent information. The story is that all this started when Smith wanted to mount a pair of deer antlers and a spare toilet seat seemed just the place.

Why: It's art; he doesn't need a reason.

Where: 239 Abiso Ave., San Antonio. Call ahead to verify hours. For information, call 210-824-7791. Free.


What: Most of the roaches at the Cockroaches Hall of Fame are dead, but there are also Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches on display. (Those suckers are four inches long and an inch thick, and make a wicked hissing sound when they're disturbed.) The dead roaches are dressed up and placed in little scenes, like Liberoachi, a roach dressed in a white mink cape and sitting at a tiny piano. (Liberoachi was donated by an 85-year-old Fort Worth woman.)

Who: Pest control specialist Michael Bohdan has the Hall of Fame tucked away into a corner of his store, The Pest Shop. Bohdan has also written a book, What's Bugging You?, and makes appearances around the country.

Why: This is Texas. What else are we going to do with all those cockroaches?

Where: The Cockroaches Hall of Fame is located at 2231-B West 15th Street, Plano. Regular visiting hours are 12:15 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays. For information, visit www.pestshop.com or call 972-519-0355. Free

What: The Creation Evidence Museum features regular lectures on alternatives to the theory of evolution, family activities and displays, including the supposedly fossilized human finger shown above. We're not sure how a fossilized human finger does or doesn't prove creationism, but there it is.

Who: The man at the head of the Creation Evidence Museum is Carl Edward Baugh. His bio lists stints as "scientific research director" and credits him as the discoverer and excavation director of 14 dinosaurs. His online bio lists three graduate degrees, including Masters in Archaeology, Doctor of Philosophy in Education (both from Pacific College of Graduate Studies) and a Doctor of Theology (from Louisiana Baptist University).

Why: Baugh and the museum hope to provide the public with an alternative view of life's origins.

Where: 3102 FM 205, Glen Rose. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For information, visit www.creationevidence.org or call 254-897-3200. Free to $5.

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