12. A museum dedicated to failure
Ever heard of Colgate Beef Lasagna? Yes, that Colgate, famous for manufacturing toothpaste and other toiletries. How about a blend of Diet Coke and coffee, marketed as Coca-Cola Blak? Most people of a certain age remember the Sony Betamax. All of these, and other failed products, are on display at the Museum of Failure. Perhaps the most famous of them all, the notorious Coke II, is honored in the museum, though it was a failure virtually everywhere else. Originally a touring exhibition which originated in Sweden, a permanent site opened in Los Angeles in 2017. Some exhibits are of a more whimsical nature, such as the “My Friend Cayla” talking doll and Harley Davidson Cologne. Others are based on historical events and products. The Ford Edsel proved to be an epic failure when released, though today, it is a highly collectible automobile.
Among the more epic failures displayed in the museum is the massive warship Vasa. Built by King Gustavus Adolphus to strengthen the Swedish Navy in the early 17th century, Vasa was an early warship built with multiple gundecks. They carried 64 cannons. Most were of bronze. Dangerously top heavy and unstable in trials, the ship nonetheless was ordered to proceed to sea to engage the Polish fleet. In August, 1628, Vasa put to sea on its maiden voyage. While still in sight from shore, while firing a salute to Stockholm, the ship heeled in a gust of wind. Water flowed through the open gunports and the vessel sank rapidly. A large crowd of Swedish citizens and foreign dignitaries witnessed the failure. Raised in 1961, the ship’s timbers proved to be remarkably well-preserved. Vasa today serves as a museum itself, celebrity Sweden’s history as a Great Power in the 17th century.