Thousands of visitors tour the Alamo in San Antonio, each year, unaware that within easy reach of the historic site marking a pivotal siege in the 1836 Texas Revolution lies another attraction: a one-man museum in a one-car garage featuring folk art created entirely on toilet seats.
Barney Smith, a retired plumber who once picked up a used toilet seat and saw a blank canvas, is the Toilet Seat Art Museum's proprietor and sole artist. Since his initial flash of inspiration, Smith has crafted more than 1,000 works of art by affixing found objects to toilet seats in homage to everything from cosmetic dentistry to Michael Jackson. There's even a toilet seat layered with volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens.
Smith, born in 1921, is as much a draw as his folk art. He opens the museum by appointment, sweeps the front walk before visitors arrive and is quick to explain his intent behind each piece in the carefully archived collection (which, by the way, is not for sale). He's made arrangements for his toilet seat art to live on, long after he dies. One of Smith's daughters has been charged with taking over museum operations until the Bemis Co., a toilet seat manufacturer, transfers the exhibit to its Sheboygan Falls, Wisc., headquarters [source: Roadside America].