Top 10 Museum Mysteries

Check out some of the most mysterious, scandalous and bizarre objects housed in American museums.

Photos

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

On display inside the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library in Guthrie, OK, is an ordinary-looking pistol. Dedicated to preserving the history of Oklahoma, this museum houses a wide array of artifacts from the state’s boom times. 960 1280

  

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

This pistol marked the beginning of a dark and outlandish journey spanning 7 decades and thousands of miles, but how is it linked to a macabre funhouse mummy’s real identity? 960 1280

  

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Among the venerated vessels of flight at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in California is an ordinary lawn chair with milk jugs attached to it with rope and tape. 960 1280

  

Flying lawn chair

Flying lawn chair

This jerry-rigged piece of outdoor furniture was used by an unlikely pilot to soar to unimaginable heights. 960 1280

  

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll's house

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll's house

This former home of Grover Cleveland Bergdoll is where he grew up in the lap of luxury after escaping police custody. 960 1280

  

Model B Flyer

Model B Flyer

This Model B Flyer at the Franklin Institute was once the prized possession of a wealthy scoundrel who led law enforcement on a manhunt and kicked off a frenzied search for hidden gold that continues to this day. 960 1280

  

Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

Located in New York City’s bustling Chinatown district, the Museum of Chinese in America documents the trials the Chinese undertook to start over in the United States. Its collection includes a small paper sculpture that symbolizes the universal dream for freedom. 960 1280

  

Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

This small sculpture symbolizes the unbelievable lengths some people took in hopes for a better life. What harrowing circumstances led to this sculpture’s creation? 960 1280

  

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Striving to preserve New Jersey’s rich history, the Thomas Warne Historical Museum in Old Bridge, NJ, has an artifact on display that has been scarred by a violent past, telling a tale of unprecedented devastation. 960 1280

  

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

This jagged artillery shell played a role in a terrible tragedy that shook a small American town at the height of World War I. 960 1280

  

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station houses items that commemorate the country’s 41st president. But a helmet on display honors another famous Texan and is linked to a scorching tale of bravery. 960 1280

  

Red Adair

Red Adair

Who wore this helmet, and how did his heroism extinguish a fire some people thought would burn forever? 960 1280

  

Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud

At Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York City’s Times Square, is a wax figure that’s not instantly recognizable to the average visitor. But Madame Tussaud’s intelligence and innate talent helped her launch one of the world’s most unique art forms. 960 1280

  

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum has roots dating back to Paris in 1770. There, the museum’s namesake learned the art of wax modeling from her mentor, Dr. Philippe Curtius. In 2000, a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum opened in Times Square. 960 1280

  

Municipal Archives in New York City

Municipal Archives in New York City

At the Municipal Archives in New York City is a black and white negative that contains an image of a deadly weapon used in a sinister plot. How was one woman enlisted to become an unlikely assassin and what became of the man who orchestrated this bizarre tale of love and revenge? 960 1280

  

Municipal Archives in New York City

Municipal Archives in New York City

New York’s Municipal Archives was founded in 1950 and is home to records, census data and directories that help its patrons research their family history. 960 1280

  

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

On the grounds of the San Diego Air & Space Museum stands a colossal missile. When a corrosion problem threatened to ground this powerful projectile for good, the search for a solution led to the creation of one of the country’s most common household products: WD-40. 960 1280

  

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

The San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park has more than 120 pieces of aircrafts in their collection. 960 1280

  

Money Museum

Money Museum

At the Money Museum in Colorado Springs, CO, is a tiny 5-cent piece that has become one of the world’s most valuable coins, worth over $3.1 million today. 960 1280

  

Money Museum

Money Museum

The Money Museum at the American Numismatic Association houses a number of galleries dedicated to the association’s comprehensive collection of coins and paper money. 960 1280

  

The Kansas Museum of History

The Kansas Museum of History

The Kansas Museum of History in Topeka houses a 6-foot-long rusted piece of metal with a sharp point, known as the John Brown Pike. This artifact was part of an infamous armed rebellion that put the nation firmly on the road to war. 960 1280

  

The Kansas Historical Society

The Kansas Historical Society

The Kansas Historical Society was founded in 1875, and today, the museum sits on 80 acres of land devoted to preserving the state’s great history. 960 1280

  

Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum

This model of a flour mill dust collector was created after the dust-ignited explosion at the Minneapolis, MN, Washburn A Mill in 1878, increasing the safety of future flour mill workers. 960 1280

  

Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum

Located on the Mississippi River, the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, MN, is built into the ruins of the world’s largest flour mill with many of the mill’s original features still in tact. 960 1280

  

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

At the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum in Nantucket, MA, a picture printed on decorative wallpaper reveals an astounding tale of astronomical intrigue and a quest to peer into the darkest recesses of the galaxy to prove that there is life on the moon. 960 1280

  

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

"A Peep at the Moon" was an attempt by a local reporter to prove that there was life on the moon. However, after the reports were put out by the New York Sun, its chief rival, the New York Herald, posted scathing reviews of the Sun's claims, ultimately resulting in the truth. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago displays a large armored contraption that launched one of the most dizzying adventures of the 20th century.  With a history-making passenger aboard, it pushed the understanding of the universe to unprecedented heights. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

In 1933, during the century of progress exhibition in Chicago, 2 men, Navy lieutenant commander Thomas Settle and Army major Chester Fordney, took to the sky in a high-altitude balloon in an attempt to reach the stratosphere. The men made it 61, 237 feet high, setting the record for highest altitude ever reached at the time. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, NJ, displays a baseball bat that’s linked to a case of fanatical obsession that haunted America’s pastime. The man who wielded the bat was the victim of a violent attack that threatened to end more than just his career. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

In the spring of 1949, star Philadelphia first baseman, Eddie Waitkus arrived in town for an average baseball game. But unfortunately, an obsessed fan lured Waitkus into her hotel room and shot him in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. 960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

The National Track and Field Hall of Fame in New York City has in its collection a pair of leather shoes that belonged to a woman who raced past a death-defying tragedy. 960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

In March of 1931, 19-year-old Olympic sprinter Betty Robinson and her cousin were in a horrific plane crash outside of Chicago. After finally waking up from a 2-month coma, all hope for a comeback appeared to be dashed. However, after 18-months of training and determination, Betty returned to the Olympic stage in 1936 to win the gold medal. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

The Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston has in its collection a small book that documents an awful cataclysm that many thought would lead to humanity’s demise. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

In 1780, while still in the throes of the revolution with the British, local reports of a yellow sky and devilish-red sun setting over New England sent the townspeople into hysteria. Nearly 200 years later, it was discovered that a massive fire in Canada due to prevailing winds and low barometric pressure caused the terrifying sky. 960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

Located on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the William L. Clements Library has a set of letters that turned a long-accepted and infamous tale of deceit on its head. 960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

For over 100 years, it was believed that Benedict Arnold conspired with the British, betraying the colonial forces on his own. However, the discovery of this letter revealed the stunning truth. 960 1280

  


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