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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

  

General Patton Memorial Museum

General Patton Memorial Museum

At the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit, CA, a massive tank harkens back to the terrifying day when a madman took control of a lethal war machine and laid siege to an American city. 960 1280

  

General Patton Memorial Museum

General Patton Memorial Museum

On May 18, 1995, US Army veteran Shawn Nelson stole the tank from a US National Guard armory and recklessly drove it through the streets of San Diego, leading to a 23-minute televised police chase. Police eventually climbed on top of the tank, and shot and killed Nelson. 960 1280

  

Harding's Train Car

Harding's Train Car

At the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA, visitors can marvel at the stately train car of President Warren G. Harding, used to travel the country in an effort to reconnect with Americans. 960 1280

  

Southeastern Railway Museum

Southeastern Railway Museum

On August 2,1923, while staying in a hotel during his train tour of America, President Harding died suddenly, in the middle of a conversation with his wife. 960 1280

  

International Cryptozoology Museum

International Cryptozoology Museum

At the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME, a nondescript plaster cast of hoof prints tells of a series of hair-raising encounters with a mythical beast that was reportedly terrifying the good people of New Jersey. 960 1280

  

Jersey Devil

Jersey Devil

The “Jersey Devil” is rumored to lurk in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. 960 1280

  

Nell Donnelly's Dress

Nell Donnelly's Dress

This dress, designed by Nell Donnelly, reminds visitors of a terrifying incident in the 1930s when the famous fashion designer was kidnapped, then rescued by a group of mobsters. 960 1280

  

Kansas City Museum

Kansas City Museum

The dress is now on display at the Kansas City Museum. 960 1280

  

Bottle of yellow bacteria-infested water

Bottle of yellow bacteria-infested water

This yellow liquid caused the outbreak of the mysterious disease that came to be known as Legionnaires’ disease. 960 1280

  

CDC Museum

CDC Museum

The jug of liquid, now on display at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Atlanta, was the cause of a plague that once had the nation in the grips of terror. 960 1280

  

Printing press

Printing press

This antique printing press was used by a prolific conman to carry out one of the largest counterfeiting operations in US history. 960 1280

  

Secret Service Museum

Secret Service Museum

See the printing press on display at the Secret Service Museum in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

The Houdini Museum

The Houdini Museum

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The Houdini Museum

The Houdini Museum

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Chemical Heritage foundation

Chemical Heritage foundation

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National Food and Drug Adminstration

National Food and Drug Adminstration

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Walls Unit

Walls Unit

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Lock and Key

Lock and Key

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Countway Library of Medicin

Countway Library of Medicin

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Murder at Harvard

Murder at Harvard

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Bradbury Science Museum

Bradbury Science Museum

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World's Most Famous Bomb

World's Most Famous Bomb

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About the Show

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

Mysteries at the Museum

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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
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