The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence is a museum dedicated to baked beans, owned and operated by a bean-obsessed superhero called Captain Beany. And yes, it is as eccentric as it sounds.
In order to understand the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, you first have to understand Captain Beany. The man formerly known as Barry Kirk once worked in the computer department of the British Petroleum chemical plant in the village of Baglan in Neath Port Talbot.
Then, in September 1986, one sublime event changed his life: Kirk sat naked in a bathtub full of baked beans for 100 hours, setting a new world record. At the same time, his one true destiny was revealed: Captain Beany was born, an honest-to-goodness real-life superhero rising like a phoenix from the rich tomato sauce of a thousand baked beans. It was a beautiful moment.
In truth, it actually took a few years for Kirk to complete his baked bean-obsessed transformation. But in 1991, he legally changed his name by deed poll to Captain Beany. Not stopping there, he started painting his face and (now completely bald) head orange, and began wearing a golden cape, pants, gloves and boots.
Ever since, Captain Beany has been involved in a whole range of strange events, raising money for various charities including Sport Relief, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation. He has run marathons, pushed a can of beans along a beach with his nose, bathed in a bath of tomato soup, climbed a mountain, and had 60 baked beans tattooed on his head. In doing so, he’s raised more than £100,000 for charity.
In 2009, Captain Beany transformed his third-floor, two-bedroom council flat into the world’s only museum dedicated to baked beans: The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence. The tiny museum is packed with baked bean-related artifacts. It’s bursting with baked bean tins from various brands around the world. There are baked bean advertisements old and new, promotional merchandise, even a pair of baked bean cufflinks. You can also see the Captain’s baked bean-themed “Branston Bathroom” and his equally beany “Heinz Kitchen.”
And, of course, there’s Captain Beany himself, who’ll greet you at the door in his lilting Welsh accent before guiding you around his home/museum. It’s a surreal experience, but one that most visitors thoroughly enjoy. Well done, Captain Beany.
Know Before You Go
Because the museum is located in a council flat, Captain Beany can’t charge an entrance fee. Donations are happily received, however, and are given to charity. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.