Tracing Heritage: 45 Facts About Museums and the Artifacts that Define Our Past

26Museum of Failed Products

Museum of Failed Products

There is a Museum of Failed Products in Ann Arbor, containing thousands of consumer products that never took off, including gems like Clairol’s A Touch of Yoghurt shampoo and Pepsi's AM Breakfast Cola.

27. In 2008, the lead singer and bassist of Rush, Geddy Lee, had one of the largest collections of Negro Baseball League memorabilia and formally donated it all to the Negro Baseball League Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

28. In 1964, 3 amateur jewel thieves stole $400,000 worth of jewels from the American Museum of Natural History. Using a glass cutter, duct tape, and a squeegee, they were able to take the world's largest sapphire, the world's most perfect ruby, and the largest black sapphire.

29. Older U.S.A. presidential limousines are at the Henry Ford Museum. After Sept. 11, 2001, though the Secret Service adopted a policy to destroy the limos after they are taken out of service in order to protect their security secrets.

30. Galileo’s Middle finger is on display in the Galileo Museum, in Florence, Italy. The finger is to be interpreted by the viewer as sitting eternally defiant to the church that condemned him or pointing upwards to the sky, where Galileo glimpsed the glory of the universe.

31Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

An almost perfectly preserved dinosaur fossil was found in a Canadian oil sand mine in 2011. The 2500-pound fossil was unveiled to the public in 2017 and is currently on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada.

32. The Mask of Warka, the oldest discovered accurate depiction of a human face (3100 B.C.), disappeared from the National Museum of Iraq after the 2003 US invasion. A US military mission to recover lost artifacts found the mask, undamaged, buried in a farmer's backyard.

33. The ice pick used to kill Leon Trotsky is on display at the International Spy Museum in Washington, District of Columbia.

34. Painless Parker was an early 20th-century street dentist who pulled 357 teeth in 1 day (he wore them on a necklace) and ran the Parker Dental Circus. A bucket of teeth he pulled is on display at Temple’s Historical Dental Museum. The ADA called him “a menace to the dignity of the profession.”

35. Most of the rooms in ‘The National Museum of Guinea’ are empty and as of 2016. The museum of African Modern Art was empty apart from one room and the courtyard contains a buffet restaurant.

36Madrid’s Prado Museum

Madrid’s Prado Museum

Leonardo de Vinci isn’t the only one who painted the “Mona Lisa.” His student Francesco painted a version of her too. Francisco’s painting has been kept in far better condition and is currently on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

37. The oldest undisputed known depiction of a human being, the Venus of Hohle Fels, is about 40,000 years old and made from mammoth ivory. It's on display in a museum in a small German town.

38. The Parliament building in Bucharest is so massive that even though it already contains both lower and upper houses of parliament, three museums, and an international conference center, 70% of the building is still empty. The heating and electrical bill alone amounts to $6 million a year.

39. The Metropolitan Museum’s largest room houses the FuentidueƱa Apse, a section of a church that was transported brick by brick under a long-term loan from Spain, which received six frescoes to be displayed at the Prado for an equal term.

40. Showman and businessman PT Barnum was frustrated with how long people lingered in his museum’s exhibits. He posted signs that said 'This Way to the Egress'. He knew most of the visitors would follow them not knowing 'Egress' meant 'Exit'. They couldn’t re-enter without paying the entry fee again

41Isle of Wight County Museum

Isle of Wight County Museum

P. D. Gwaltney Jr. had a pet ham (insured with today’s equivalent of $77,000, and collar attached) which he showed off publicly. It is considered to be the oldest ham in the world (“born” in 1902). It can be seen at the Isle of Wight County Museum in Virginia with the world’s largest ham.

42. Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias has a private Volkswagen museum with more than 30 VW Bus models.

43. The earliest known example of telephone technology in the Western Hemisphere was created 1,200 to 1,400 years ago by the Chimu people of Peru. It comprised of two gourds connected by a 75-foot cotton-twine cord, similar to the soup-can phones children make today. It is displayed in the Smithsonian.

44. The Smithsonian Museum has over 3 million 2D and 3D images that anybody can use for free for any commercial purpose.

45. In 2016, a man left his glasses at the San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art as a prank. Shortly after, observers gathered and began taking photos thinking it was art.