Barney Smith is a 92-year-old folk artist with an odd medium: toilet seat covers. Well, maybe that’s not so odd for a man with a flair for arts and crafts who grew up in a family of plumbers and was a master plumber himself for many years.
(Photo from Toilet Seat Art Museum Facebook page)
The subjects of his works of art, over 1,000 of them, range from sports (1996 Super Bowl, for example), to nature (ash from Mt. St. Helens, bear claws, an owl mounted on a cactus limb), historical (a piece of the Berlin Wall, barbed wire from the Auschwitz concentration camp), tributes to celebrities and other famous people, occupations, events, and just about anything imaginable. The museum was listed in Conde Nast Traveler as one of the world’s strangest museums.
Visitors to the Toilet Seat Art Museum have said that it is better than visiting the Alamo, and a lot of that has to do with Barney, himself. He has appeared on TV shows, had dozens if not hundreds of articles written about him and his museum, including in The New York Times and National Geographic News, and practically has a cult following. If you want to learn more about the museum and the legend behind it, just Google Barney Smith Toilet Seat Museum and you’ll have over 26,000 results to choose from, virtually all with rave reviews!
If you want to meet Barney and have him give you a personal tour of his one-of-a-kind museum, which is in his garage, just be sure to phone ahead so he can get his shoes on and put the orange cone at the bottom of the driveway, which indicates the museum is open. His phone number is 210-824-7791.