If you told me that one of the most interesting places I would visit in Wisconsin would be a mustard museum, I’d call you crazy. But, as it turns out, if you’re looking for the best collection of mustard in the world, you’ll find it in the town of Middleton.
Lots of people collect things. Maybe Christmas ornaments, magnets, or even Hot Wheel cars we played with as kids. For Barry Levenson, his preferred item to horde is mustard. Levenson has so much mustard and so many mustard related items that he opened the National Mustard Museum. The collection has grown to more than 6,000 types of mustard featuring varieties from all 50 states and 80 countries from around the world.
His mustard museum collection began after a disappointing ending to a Boston Red Sox game in 1986. His beloved team lost game 7 of the World Series that season to the New York Mets by a score of 8-5. A late night visit to a supermarket, and a walk down the condiment aisle changed his life forever.
Devastated and desperate for a new hobby, he decided maybe it was time to start collecting something.
“I remember walking past the ketchups and olives and eventually found myself standing in front of the mustards” says Levenson. He claims he heard a voice that told him it was mustard that he should start collecting.
Today, the National Mustard Museum is one of the favorite tourist spots in Wisconsin. It’s fun, quirky and bright. (And, here’s a shock, it’s very, very yellow.) It’s also free to visit. Of course you can buy museum swag like cups or tee shirts. As you might imagine inside a mustard museum, you can also buy a wide variety of mustard.
At a tasting station, Mr. Levenson invites me to try a few of his favorites including a hot and spicy flavor labeled “hit and run”. It was here that it sunk in just how many different types of mustard exist. Most people think of yellow mustard – and have no idea the depth of flavors available.
The National Mustard Museum is open 7 days a week and includes a look at most items in the collection. It is located at: 7477 Hubbard Avenue in Middleton, Wisconsin.