Top 10 Museum Mysteries

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

Photos

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

  

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

The Autry National Center in Los Angeles is the final resting place of the famed Annie Oakley's pistols. Born Phoebe Ann Moses, Annie was a natural marksman and entered a shooting contest at the age of 15, beating out her eventual husband, Frank Butler. 960 1280

  

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

These pistols are linked to a legendary love story that sparked the career of America’s first female superstar. Annie Oakley was a tough folk hero whose talent and unlikely romance propelled her to fame. 960 1280

  

Old State Prison Haunting

Old State Prison Haunting

The Old State Prison Museum in Deer Lodge, MT, has a pair of concrete shoes in its possession that were used to punish a convict placed in solitary confinement for his dastardly and horrific deeds. 960 1280

  

Old State Prison Haunting

Old State Prison Haunting

In the summer of 1958, Jerry Myles was convicted for robbing a hardware store and was sent to the Montana State Prison. After serving time in isolation for selling drugs and alcohol to other inmates, Myles attacked a guard, stole his rifle and proceeded to kill the warden and hold the prison hostage for 36 hours before committing suicide. 960 1280

  

Human Crash Test

Human Crash Test

The New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM, displays a turbo-powered contraption that was involved in some of the most groundbreaking -- and life threatening -- experiments of the 20th century. 960 1280

  

Human Crash Test

Human Crash Test

This sonic wind crash sled, and the man who rode it in the name of science, revolutionized safety and the way Americans travel. 960 1280

  

Project Chariot

Project Chariot

The Museum of the North in Fairbanks, AK, has in its collection a reminder of one of the most disturbing projects ever proposed by the US government, as it reveals a stunning secret about an alarming atomic age experiment. 960 1280

  

Project Chariot

Project Chariot

The samples shown above are of the plant, lichen, which is a staple of the caribou diet and is unlike typical plants because it feeds on the dust from the air. After the government proposed to test nuclear explosives in Alaska, it was discovered that the planned location had the highest amounts of radiation in the world. 960 1280

  

Shackleton Expedition

Shackleton Expedition

Located on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, the Rauner Special Collections Library has in its collection a frayed journal that survived an awe-inspiring journey in the Antarctic. 960 1280

  

Shackleton Expedition

Shackleton Expedition

In 1914, famed explorer Ernest Shackleton lead 28 men on an epic expedition, in an attempt to cross the entire frozen unchartered territory known as Antarctica. After months of being trapped by the surrounding ice, Shackleton ordered his men to abandon ship and embark on a journey that would later be compared to a trip to hell and back. 960 1280

  

Judgment of Paris

Judgment of Paris

In Washington, DC, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has in its collection a wine bottle that represents an underdog tale of an unlikely upstart who revolutionized global tastes. 960 1280

  

Judgment of Paris

Judgment of Paris

For years, local California winemaker Warren Winiarski struggled to create a sophisticated California red wine -- but he proved his critics wrong, creating a wine that rivals some of the finest French Bordeaux in the world. 960 1280

  

Whale Rescue

Whale Rescue

On display outside of the Inupiat Heritage Center in Point Barrow, AK, is the large skull of a gray whale. The skull serves as a reminder of an incredible mission that rescued 2 gray whales trapped under the frozen Beaufort Sea. 960 1280

  

Whale Rescue

Whale Rescue

The Iñupiat Heritage Center has in its collection a machine that was used in a remarkable marine animal rescue mission. This odd, industrial-looking object played a critical role in an international incident that captivated the world. 960 1280

  

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

The Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, MS, displays a bullet that is connected to a shocking tale of a seemingly immaculate conception. 960 1280

  

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

This stunning medical mystery baffled scientists and the general public alike in the years following the Civil War -- until one man published a surprising report, proving that Dr. Legrand Caper’s claim that a bullet ricocheting off a man's testicle and into a women's belly could make her pregnant was impossible. 960 1280

  

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

The Rhine Research Center and Parapsychology Museum in Durham, NC, contains a deck of cards that tells a haunting tale of untold powers and possession that terrorized an innocent family. 960 1280

  

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

In the winter of 1958, the Herman family of Long Island, NY, believed that their youngest son, Jimmy, was playing tricks on them. After objects began to break and move on their own, Dr. Pratt, a parapsychologist at Duke University, was brought in. But he was unable to determine what the cause of the disturbances were, which remains a mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamond Mine Murder

At the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, the Diamond Discovery Center has a document that speaks to a bitter feud decided by greed, trickery and murder. This simple piece of paper is connected to what remains of one of Arkansas’ most infamous crimes. 960 1280

  

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamonds found on this coveted piece of property -- 1 of only 2 diamond craters in the entire United States -- are 10-30% more valuable on the diamond market. To this day, tourists still flock to the Arkansas park in the hopes of finding diamonds for themselves. 960 1280

  

Winton Race

Winton Race

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, displays a weathered vehicle that was part of a revolutionary ride. This car changed the way Americans thought about long-distance travel and automobiles. 960 1280

  

Winton Race

Winton Race

In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson attempted to become the first person to successfully drive an automobile across the country. Despite countless setbacks, 63 days after leaving San Francisco, Jackson arrived in New York City, completing the nation's first successful cross-country car journey. 960 1280

  

The Hot List

Travel the world. Enter Daily to Win $10,000!  

Will Blake or Janel be the next Travel Channel Star?

Join the conversation on Social Media!
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.