A Visit to Wisconsin’s National Mustard Museum

Poupon U banner at mustard museumPoupon U may not be the most prestigious institution of higher education to list on your resume for it says nothing about your job skills, but you’ve got to admit – announcing that you have a degree from Poupon U is a great conversation starter.  Poop On You.

A degree from Poupon U comes only from a visit to The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin – a place that touts itself as a little oasis of insanity in a world that makes too much sense.

Visiting The National Mustard Museum

Mustard Museum entranceOpened in 1992, the National Mustard Museum is the brainchild of Barry Levenson, who once dedicated his intellectual abilities to the practice of law, and in his own words “sank so low as to become assistant attorney general for the state of Wisconsin.”

Levenson’s fascination with mustard began on October 28, 1986 at 2:30 a.m. The Chicago Cubs had just lost the World Series and Levenson was despondent. In reality, the Cubs were nowhere near a pennant run that year, but that doesn’t matter to a true Cubs fan. He wandered into an all-night grocery store and in his bleary state, found himself fascinated with the color and selection of mustards.


Barry Levenson, found of mustard museumLevenson began collecting unusual jars, flavors and tidbits of information in his travels. And when, in 1987 he stood before the United States Supreme Court arguing the case of Griffin vs. Wisconsin, a tiny jar of Dickinson Mustard was in his pocket. Levenson won the case and credits the mustard in his pocket with the success.


mustard museum interiorToday, that jar of mustard, along with 4,000 kinds of mustard from around the world, is on display at the museum. This is the home of the Mustard Mystery Theatre, the Poupon U bookstore, and the site of the National Mustard Day Celebration each August, a holiday not yet recognized by Congress and Hallmark Cards, but Levenson is working on that.

So the next time you are at a picnic, a ball game or any other event where great American cuisine is served, order your dog, brat or burger with an extra squirt of mustard, and raise it high in salute of that great institution of higher learning, Poupon U. 

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