National Museum of Crime and Punishment: At the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, DC there is one particularly chilling artifact. It’s a plaster mould of a man’s face, made with impressive precision. It’s called a “death mask” and it was cast directly from the corpse of a notorious bank robber. According to the FBI this death mask is proof that they gunned down a man once known as “public enemy number one”… John Dillinger. But, to people that knew the elusive outlaw, the resemblance between the death mask and the man is no dead certainty.
National Automobile Museum: At the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, there’s a beat up, old-fashioned car known as the Thomas Flyer. Its seats are perched high behind the steering wheel and there’s no roof, no windows and no windshield. This four-cylinder, sixty horsepower car traversed the globe in one of the most grueling car races ever conceived. In the process, this singular 1907 car shattered the way the world looked at automobiles.
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum: In Paradise, Michigan, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum displays artifacts from numerous ships that have been lost on America’s great inland seas. But, one artifact ,a two hundred pound bronze bell that once sat on the deck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, is a somber reminder of the greatest enigma in Great Lakes History. What exactly happened on the Edmund Fitzgerald’s perplexing and tragic final journey?
Sterling Memorial Library at Yale: In New Haven, Connecticut, the grand library of Yale University holds a surprisingly modest artifact. This simple metal pie plate inspired one of the most used, most loved and most widespread toys of all time, the Frisbee. How did a pie maker, a UFO fanatic, and some Yale students all come together to invent one of the world’s most popular toys and sports?
Gerald R. Ford Museum: Inside the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, some 18,000 artifacts celebrate Ford’s contributions as a statesman and US President. But, there’s one artifact here that haunted President Ford until the day he died. It’s a 15-foot high metal staircase and it symbolizes one of most controversial and tragic moments in US History – the Fall of Saigon. How did this staircase become a lifeline to thousands and close the door on one of America’s longest and most bitter conflicts?