Though most museums may be devoted to showcasing human triumph -- the transcendence of art or technology -- another breed of exhibit charts the horrible, the inhumane and the sorrowful. These museums are both disconcerting and, thanks to the ineffable draw of the horrific, extremely popular.
The crowds of people perpetually staring in combination shock and interest at piles of skulls, instruments of torture and the painful legacies of murderers is a tribute to the fact that travel is not merely about infinite pools or sightseeing, but about pushing oneself into darker countries, where inconvenient truths abut seething legacies.
The museums that make our list of the world's most disturbing museums were built to explore dark subjects, but that isn't necessarily what sets them apart. What makes these places singularly haunting is their lack of context they provide and the brutish frankness of their exhibits.