Dinosaurs: Mysteries at the Museum

Don's latest special digs into the mysteries surrounding dinosaurs.
11 photos

More Mysteries

Mysterious Cases We Can't Explain

History is filled with inexplicable mysteries. Take a look back at these high-profile cases and see if you can solve the timeless, haunting riddles.

Behind the Scenes

Join Don Wildman as he takes over Travel Channel Live's Facebook page from our nation's capital, below. 

MATM Photos

Jack the Ripper Museum, London, England

Jack the Ripper Museum, London, England

Take the official "Jack the Ripper Walk" at this museum, and you’ll be following in the footsteps, so to speak, of the infamous serial killer. Visitors can view recreated scenes from his crimes on six different levels, propelling them back to 1888, when Jack launched his killing spree. As you explore the exhibits, created from the prespective of the women who were his victims, you’ll be able to use actual clues from that era, so you can try to solve the mystery of Jack’s true identity. Steel yourself to read old newspaper accounts of the murders and to see original autopsy photos and knives like the ones that were probably used in his gruesome mutilations.

Jack stalked his victims through darkened streets and winding alleyways. Keep that in mind when you leave the Jack the Ripper Museum and walk home alone.
960 1280

CARL DE SOUZA / Getty Images  

The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Don’t visit this museum, named for an early 19th-century physician, if you’re going to the doctor anytime soon. Considered America’s finest museum of medical history, this is a collection of medical instruments and preserved anatomical specimens. The Mutter Museum wants visitors to appreciate both the beauty and the mysterious elements of their own bodies—but some of these exhibitions from the past may send you running for the door.

There’s the Soap Lady, for example, a woman whose body was exhumed in 1875. She’s encased in a fatty substance which sometimes forms in certain alkaline, airless and warm conditions—such as being buried. It’s thought that she died during a yellow fever epidemic, which is frightening enough. But it’s her toothless mouth, open as if she’s screaming, that’s the most disturbing. Other exhibits feature instruments used for bleeding patients, removing excess bodily fluids, slides cut from Einstein's brain and more. The excellent museum has significant educational and historical value. It’s also pretty creepy.
960 1280

Allentown Morning Call  

Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, Drumnadrochit Scotland

Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, Drumnadrochit Scotland

Walk through 500 million years of history with the multi-media presentations at Scotland’s Loch Ness Centre. Is Nessie, the seldom-seen sea monster, real, a hoax, or a product of fevered imaginations? The exhibits are arranged in seven themed areas, so you can decide for yourself as you explore the famous legend and view underwater films and photos shot by serious researchers. A digital display with lasers and special effects takes you through Scotland’s past, weaving in folklore surrounding the monster, and updates you on current efforts to find it.

Unsightly remains of some kind of creature washed up on the shores of Loch Ness earlier this year. But they look pretty suspicious, so the search goes on.
960 1280

Colin McPherson  

The Mothman Museum, Point Pleasant, W.V.

The Mothman Museum, Point Pleasant, W.V.

Is the large, man-like creature with wings and red eyes a myth, legend, or a real monster? Since 1966, witnesses have claimed they've seen the Mothman. Whatever he is—or was—he inspired a book about his threatening appearances in 1975, and a supernatural/horror movie, The Mothman Prophecies, in 2002.

Visitors to the Mothman Museum can view documents written by eyewitnesses as well as photos of West Virginia's Silver Bridge, which collapsed under rush-hour traffic and killed 46 people; many people linked the bridge disaster to the reported sightings.


Before you leave, make a selfie with the 12-foot-tall, stainless steel Mothman statue standing next to the museum. It already has red eyes, so you won’t have to worry about a reflection from your flash.

960 1280

The Washington Post  

International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine

International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine

Named one of the world’s 10 weirdest museums by Time, the International Cryptozoology Museum at Thompson's Point, in Portland, Maine, may make you believe in creatures you never believed in before, like Bigfoot and the Yeti (sometimes known as the Abominable Snowman, although some people claim they're different beasts). It also houses a replica of a rare, carnivorous marsupial and exhibits of legendary monsters like the Jersey Devil, the Dover Demon, and the Napes/Skunk Apes. At least, we hope they’re legends. We’re sleeping with the lights on, just in case. 960 1280

International Cryptozoology Museum  

Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures, Paris, France

Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures, Paris, France

Try not to shiver when you pass the vampire killing kit, macabre works of art (like this portrait of the so-called Blood Countess of Hungary, by artist Stephanie Clement), stacks of old books, spooky movie props and occult items at this small, private museum in Paris. Owned by historian Jacques Sirgent, the Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures focuses on the fanged undead and their place in folklore, as well as in the modern world. Call ahead; you'll probably need an appointment to get in. Before you arrive, hang some garlic around your neck and tuck a wooden stake into your pocket. 960 1280

Stephanie Clement/Jacques Sirgent Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures  

Museum of The Mummies, Guanajuato, Mexico

Museum of The Mummies, Guanajuato, Mexico

The bodies in Mexico's Museum of the Mummies may have been buried after an outbreak of cholera in the 1830s. It's thought they were disinterred, beginning in the 1860s, after their families were unwillling or unable to pay a local tax to ensure permanent burials. Some of the bodies may have been embalmed, while the climate may have naturally mummified others. After the bodies were removed and stored in a nearby building, tourists began coming to see them, and the official museum was born. The 111 mummies of men, women and children may make you shiver as you wonder who they were in life. 960 1280

Pedro Gonzalez Castillo/CON  

Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Creepy takes on a new twist at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, which houses a display of taxidermied kittens dressed for a wedding. You can expect to see a mix of high culture and low-brow exhibits here rarely found elsewhere. The museum's library is filled with research books, images, art and just plain quirky items relating to medical history, death, anatomical art and more.

This October, the museum will host a mind reader, a lecturer debating whether absinthe is a “divine spirit or a sinful fiend,” and, on Halloween, a beginners' entomology workshop. The day before, Oct. 29, the museum will present an anthropomorphic mouse taxidermy class. We bet visitors are dying to come.
960 1280

Neilson Barnard  

Museum of Death, Hollywood California and New Orleans, Louisiana

Museum of Death, Hollywood California and New Orleans, Louisiana

You could say California’s Museum of Death has a deadly past; it was orignally located in San Diego’s first mortuary. It was later moved to Hollywood, and a simiar museum opened in New Orleans. A self-guided tour takes 45 minutes or so, but as the website says, “those who can stomach it stay as long as they like.” This place isn’t for the faint of heart. There are videos of autopsies, footage of real deaths, photos of the Charles Mansion crimes, images from the horrific Black Dahlia murder and more gore. Look (if you dare) for collections of coffins and autopsy instruments. Be forewarned: visitors sometimes pass out, so you may want to bring an unflappable friend with a bottle of smelling salts. 960 1280

Museum of Death  

The Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

The Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Some of America’s most unjust trials were conducted in Salem in 1692, when a daughter’s testimony about seeing her mother fly through the trees, or the accusation that an innocent birthmark or mole was a witch’s mark, was enough to send people to the gallows, or cause them to be crushed under heavy stones. The Salem Witch Memorial, with commemorative stones like the one shown here, is nearby.

At the museum itself, look for documents from the trials and life-size sets and figures illuminated by atmospheric lightning. A spine-tingling narrative takes you through the timeline of events. The Salem Witch Museum offers “haunted happenings” each Halloween, and you can stay until its extended closing time, at midnight, this October 28, 29 and 31. If you're not afraid, that is.
960 1280

  

Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia

Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia

Here’s where you’ll find the world’s best collection of author Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscripts, first editions, letters and other memorabilia. The atmosphere evokes early 19th-century Richmond, where Poe penned much of his macabre work about cats and humans sealed up in walls, castles invaded by plague and brutal murders committed in locked rooms. Poe died after being found in a Baltimore public house in 1849, drifting in and out of consciousness. The cause of his death is unknown. When will we know what happened to this master of the darkness? We suspect the answer is "Nevermore". 960 1280

Edgar Allen Poe Museum  

Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts

Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, Massachusetts

Can you sleep in the house where Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother were brutally murdered in 1892?

No? Well, maybe a day tour wouldn’t be as chilling.

Located about 50 miles south of Boston, the former home of the Bordens now allows guests to book overnight and stay for breakfast the next morning. We hear you can even request the same (last) meal the Bordens ate. The house is now outfitted with ghost cams to capture paranormal activity. Some visitors have reported strange happenings, like camera malfunctions, or the feeling that someone is sitting on the edge of the beds at night.

Lizzie was tried and ultimately acquitted for the deaths; her peers must have found it hard to believe that a woman in that era would wield a hatchet or axe against her own relatives. She spent the rest of her life in Fall River, although the townspeople continued to gossip about her—an unkind cut, indeed.
960 1280

  

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscasatle, Cornwall, U.K.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscasatle, Cornwall, U.K.

Are you brave enough to tour the U.K.'s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic by candlelight? If you miss one of the special, lantern-lit evening events, or you're leery of mysterious, spooky artifacts half-hidden in the shadows, never fear. You can see the glass spirit bottles, skulls, witches' charms and other pagan artifacts during the day, too. Book ahead to take a witches' workshop and explore magic throughout history with a practicing priestess/witch, or take a Folklore and Magic Walk (check the website for dates and times). Don't miss the Glitter and Graveyard Dust exhibit, offered through January 2017; you'll learn about the history, customs, costumes and magic of Halloween from ancient times to today. 960 1280

  

Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri

Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri

Just because the Glore Psychiatric Museum has won awards for its medical history collections, don't think it won't creep you out. The museum covers 130 years of mental health treatments and features old surgical tools, nurses’ uniforms, electroshock equipment, hospital furnishings and much more. You’ll see artwork created by a mute schizophrenic and other mentally ill patients, along with 453 nails retrieved from the stomach of a truly disturbed individual.

The museum, founded in 1874 as St. Joseph’s State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, is arguably the best place in the U.S. to see how mental health care has evolved. An inactive blog about the museum still invites visitors to “psych out.”
960 1280

St. Joseph Museums/Glore Psychiatric Museum  

American Museum of Natural History, New York, N.Y.

American Museum of Natural History, New York, N.Y.

Imagine a time when meat-eating dinosaurs dominated the Earth with their terrible teeth and talons. Your heart may pound harder when you walk in the shadow of the fossilized remains and replicas of these ancient beasts at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Or float on over to the Opulent Oceans exhibit to see reproductions of rare, scientific illustrations, like the Vampire Squid. The museum is recognized as one of the finest cultural and scientific institutions in the world, but it'll make you think twice before you go swimming again. 960 1280

American Museum of Natural History / R Mickens  

St. Louis

St. Louis

St. Louis may be best known for the giant arch that is the “gateway to the West,” but the city is also home to a less-talked-about institution that introduces visitors to a very different slice of history. The World Chess Hall of Fame holds an array of artifacts, including one of the first computerized chessboards, game pieces carefully carved from precious materials and photographs of the greatest chess players of all time. 960 1280

  

St. Louis

St. Louis

Within the museum’s collection, there is a very ordinary-looking chessboard. It’s 16 by 16 inches and consists of 64 wooden squares of alternating wood grain patterns — just like any other. However, this board is anything but ordinary. It not only played a pivotal part in one of the most epic chess matches ever, it almost started a world war. 960 1280

  

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

There are a number of sights in Albuquerque, NM, that highlight the region’s nuclear past, such as the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. There, visitors can view artifacts linked to the research and development of nuclear technology, including a B-29 Superfortress bomber plane, a nuclear test device called "The Gadget" and radioactive-influenced quackery from the early 20th century. 960 1280

  

New Mexico

New Mexico

Tucked away inside the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is an item that looks completely inadequate next to the larger exhibits. The story behind this Boy Scouts badge reveals a brush with disaster that placed an entire town in great danger. 960 1280

  

New Mexico

New Mexico

At one time these harmless-looking rodents could be considered cute. However, this specimen spread the fear of death among thousands of New Mexico residents and threatened an entire region. 960 1280

  

New York City

New York City

New York City has some of the tallest buildings in the world, but what many people don’t realize is that the city also has some of the biggest and most beautiful cathedrals in the United States. Trinity Church, at the head of what is now Wall Street, houses the Trinity Museum, where visitors can view exhibits connecting the past with the present. 960 1280

  

Trinity Church

Trinity Church

To see one of Trinity’s most intriguing items, you need to delve deep into the by-appointment archive. Inside this diary from 1880 is a succession of handwritten notes that catalogs a bizarre chapter in Trinity’s history — a devious scheme perpetrated by a cunning individual. 960 1280

  

New iberia, LA

New iberia, LA

The southern Louisiana city of New Iberia was founded by Spaniards in 1779 but later became a refuge for Acadian French settlers deported from Nova Scotia by the British. New Iberia combines this Cajun culture clash with some down-home Southern charm, attracting visitors with its eclectic cuisine, old plantations and rollicking music scene. And on the city’s historic Main Street is the Bayou Teche Museum. Founded in 2010, this former grocery store chronicles the area’s rich history and is deliberately laid out in a winding pattern designed to resemble the snakelike curves of the Bayou Teche itself. 960 1280

  

Bayou Teche Museum

Bayou Teche Museum

Among the artifacts at the Bayou Teche Museum is a seemingly drab collection of slabs of uneven size and shape, the largest measuring 17 1/2 inches wide, 11 inches tall and 6 1/2 inches deep. These unassuming blocks were at the heart of a spicy story that led to the creation of one of today’s most recognizable brands. 960 1280

  

San Mateo County History Museum

San Mateo County History Museum

Redwood City, CA, once known mostly as a port for lumber, is now a city in the heart of Silicon Valley. At the center of this high-tech town sits an institution that has survived many waves of change: the San Mateo County History Museum. Its displays hold such treasures as a stagecoach, a stained-glass dome and models of galleon ships that once docked nearby. 960 1280

  

San Mateo County History Museum

San Mateo County History Museum

This gun on display at the San Mateo County History Museum represents the culmination of a conflict between 2 prominent San Franciscans and the race for mayor that made the city look like the Wild West all over again. 960 1280

  

Betty Hill Dress

Betty Hill Dress

University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were allegedly abducted by aliens. This vintage, torn dress worn by Betty that strange fall night still carries a stain of an otherworldly nature. I’m afraid to ask.
960 1280

  

The Mars Spirit Rover

The Mars Spirit Rover

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque, NM
It’s 2004 and our robot representative moves along on the Martian surface hobbled by a malfunctioning wheel. But the broken wheel scrapes away soil, leading to a major discovery: silica. Proof there once was water on the Red Planet.
960 1280

  

Sheet Music

Sheet Music

Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI
July 6, 1944. A terrible fire consumes a Ringling Brothers’ circus tent, killing 168 people. The investigation turns up the problem: the tent was waterproofed using paraffin and gasoline. What were they thinking?
960 1280

  

The Flying Car

The Flying Car

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
The initial test flight of this machine must have been a terror. After all, cars should be driven, not flown (just one man’s opinion).
960 1280

  

Credit Card Machine

Credit Card Machine

Valdez Museum, Valdez, AK
On March 27, 1964 the second-largest earthquake in recorded history strikes Valdez, Alaska. Fifty years later this credit card machine from a gas station along the destroyed waterfront turns up in the weeds, a card still intact.
960 1280

  

Cher Ami, Hero Pigeon

Cher Ami, Hero Pigeon

US Army Signal Corps Museum, Fort Gordon, GA
In 1918, a homing pigeon named Cher Ami saved the lives of 194 US soldiers under a deadly barrage of friendly fire -- and this pigeon did it flying 25 miles after taking a bullet from a German sniper.
960 1280

  

Kittenger's Jumpsuit

Kittenger's Jumpsuit

National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, OH
In 1958, Capt. Joseph Kittenger wore this jumpsuit to test a new parachute system designed to save the lives of ejecting US pilots. But he would have to risk his own life, jumping from more than 20 miles above the earth!
960 1280

  

Pullman Car Lighting Brackets

Pullman Car Lighting Brackets

Seattle Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, WA
A devastating avalanche destroys a Great Northern Railway car stopped in the Cascade Mountains en route to Seattle. Decades later, these bent pieces of metal turn up, evidence of a tragedy that killed more than 100 passengers.
960 1280

  

Einstein's Stolen Brain

Einstein's Stolen Brain

Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, PA
When Albert Einstein dies in 1955, his brain is illegally preserved and dissected by the doctor who performs his autopsy. He mounts specimens of the brain on microscope slides -- and makes a valuable discovery.
960 1280

  

Spanish Treasure

Spanish Treasure

McLarty Treasure Museum, Sebastian, FL
In 1961, after a decade of searching, Kip Wagner realizes his dream and discovers buried Spanish treasure at the bottom of the sea -- worth about 20 million bucks then and a whole lot more today.
960 1280

  

About the Show

Don Wildman visits America's museums, where strange and curious remnants of the past are revealed.

About the Host

Don Wildman shows us the secrets lurking in museums and monuments across the United States.

Don Wildman's Bio

Mysteries at the Museum Don Wildman visits America's museums, where strange and curious remnants of the past are revealed.
Don Wildman
See Episode Guide

Watch It

View Full TV Schedule

On TV

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

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