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Why did a Virginia museum open a new exhibit in its restrooms?

Daily Deal and Travel Blogger

The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va., opened a new exhibit this month in an unusual place: inside its eight restrooms.

"A Head of Its Time" explores the history of toilets on ships.

According to the museum, the idea for the exhibition started about eight years ago and began as a joke. But museum collections and programs chief Anna Holloway submitted a proposal that began: "There is a certain experience that cuts across time, space, age and ethnicity, though not necessarily across genders."

Still, how to tell the story of going at sea? The museum decided to take a light approach and contacted Norfolk, Va.,  newspaper cartoonist Walt Taylor to provide cartoon-like panels on the got-to-go theme. The exhibit space is restroom walls, urinals and the doors of toilet stalls.

Panels teach visitors the meaning of the word "the head," as ship toilets are called, and what sailors used instead of toilet paper back in the day. So what's the lesson here?

"I think we can all agree that the need for a toilet is a universal experience," Holloway said in a statement. "This is just our way of coaxing people into exposing themselves to maritime history -- and hope they have fun and learn something while doing it."

Info: The Mariners' Museum, (757) 596-2222

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