Get an Up-Close Look at a Toilet Seat Art Museum

Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum/Facebook
Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum/Facebook / Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum/Facebook

While there are plenty of museums devoted to everyday items and objects, this has got to be one of the strangest: In San Antonio, Texas, a retired master plumber has created a bizarre roadside attraction known as Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum.

As BoingBoing reports, director Wes Plate made a short film about the museum, which opened in 1992 and showcases more than 1200 toilet seats-turned-pieces of art. The toilet seats serve as the canvas for Smith’s work, which focuses on important historical and sporting events, notable celebrity tributes, general pop culture, and American patriotism. The 95-year-old Texan has been an artist for most of his life, but fell into the family business of plumbing as a full-time career. It was during one fateful trip to a local plumbing supplier that Smith found the inspiration for what would become his artistic obsession.

"I went to a plumbing supply house one time, and they had about 50 toilet seats out on the dock that they were going to throw away,” Smith told Roadside America. “And I said [to the guy] 'What are you going to do with those toilet seats. I would like to have some of these toilet seats to do some art on.' I'd been going down to the River Walk and doing a little art on canvas. He said, 'Well, you can't have 'em, unless you take the hinge off, and throw away half of 'em while you're here.' I threw the rim away and kept the lid."

Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum is located at 239 Abiso Avenue in San Antonio, Texas. It’s open to the public, and if you donate your own toilet seat, Smith will engrave your name on it as part of his artwork. (Just make sure the toilet seat is clean before you hand it over!)

You can watch Plate’s film below.

Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum from Wes Plate on Vimeo.

[h/t BoingBoing]