Three Texas Museums: Toilet Seats, Cockroaches and a Desiccated Finger

Who: The story is that former plumber-turned-folk artist Barney Smith had a pair of deer antlers he wanted to mount one day and a spare toilet seat seemed just the place. That was the beginning of Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum, one of three Texas museums we are highlighting today. Smith moved on from mounting antlers to engraving, painting and otherwise decorating hundreds of seats. (In 2010, the museum had more than 1,000 fanciful pressed wood seats.) On the inside of each seat, Smith details the materials used, inspiration for the design and other pertinent information.

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. 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For information, visit www.creationevidence.org or call 254-897-3200. Free to $5.

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