Have you ever wondered where some of history’s most important artifacts are kept? From the rifle used to assassinate John F. Kennedy to Anne Frank’s diary, it’s natural to assume they’re being kept safe in museums and the like. Still, memorable pieces of the past could be closer to your home than you think!
While many of these historical objects are, indeed, on display in reputable museums, others were simply tossed aside and never thought of again. Some are even in the last place you’d guess! Just take a look and see where these 23 famous objects from history’s most memorable moments ended up…
1. Bonnie and Clyde’s car: On display at a casino in Primm, Nevada, this was the vehicle in which famed murderers and robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police. Spectators can actually get a remarkable, up-close glimpse of the bullet-riddled exterior of the Ford V-8.
2. The Tesla power circuit: Built in 1899 in Nikola Tesla’s laboratory in Colorado Springs, this circuit was responsible for powering the inventor’s famed coil. Unfortunately, many of his items, including the circuit, were burned or auctioned off.
3. The original Winnie-the-Pooh: Who knew the beloved children’s book character and his friends were actually inspired by real stuffed animals? English author A. A. Milne gifted the bear to his young son, Christopher Robin, on his birthday. The toys were eventually donated to the New York Public Library in 1987.
4. The Holy Lance: Experts have suggested that this artifact—which is allegedly the spear that pierced Jesus’s side while he was on the cross—actually hails from the seventh century AD. It can be seen on display at the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
5. The rifle used to assassinate John F. Kennedy: When Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, this was the rifle he used. It’s now stored at the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland.
6. Galileo’s telescopes: Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy—and his telescopes are, naturally, highly coveted. Enthusiasts eager to take a peek of the instruments can find them on display in the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy.
7. Benito Mussolini’s car: The Leader of the National Fascist Party and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were arrested in his 1939 Alfa Romero after he escaped from prison to seek asylum in Switzerland. Later, American Army Major Charles Pettit ended up with it. It eventually auctioned for $2.1 million in 2015.
8. Abraham Lincoln’s top hat: The late president’s iconic top hat was the one he was wearing when he was assassinated in 1865. It featured a black mourning band to remember his son Willie. Now, people can see it for themselves at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
9. The diary of Anne Frank: Of course, millions of people have read the best-selling reprint of the Jewish teen’s diary that documented her family’s harrowing experience during the Holocaust. You can see the real version at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
10. Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic leg: After losing her right leg to a bout of gangrene in 1953, famed artist Frida Kahlo wore this prosthetic for the remainder of her life. Naturally, it ended up at a museum named in her honor in her hometown of Casa Azul, Mexico City.
11. The Dead Sea scrolls: Containing the second-oldest manuscripts from the Hebrew Bible, these documents are hugely important to human history. The incredible scrolls are now owned by the state of Israel and are rumored to be kept in the Israel Museum.
12. Lewis and Clark’s compass: Purchased in 1803 in preparation for the duo’s American expedition, the pocket compass was eventually gifted to Captain Robert A. McCabe. In 1933, however, it was given to the Smithsonian Institution.
13. The Rosetta Stone: As the first Ancient Egyptian bilingual text unearthed in 1799, this stone, which dates back to 196 BC, allowed researchers to decipher the meaning behind hieroglyphic language. It can now be found in London’s British Museum.
14. Lincoln’s rocking chair: On April 14, 1865, the former POTUS sat in this very rocking chair at the Ford’s Theatre to watch a production of Our American Cousin. He was then assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Featuring a grisly bloodstain, it can be found at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
15. The Shroud of Turin: Over the years, the authenticity of the artifact said to have been Jesus’ burial shroud has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, it sits on display in Turin, Italy, at the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.
16. Listening devices from Watergate: This incredible device made from old chapstick tubes was used to contact burglars via transistor radio; it was discovered in E. Howard Hunt’s office in the White House during the Watergate investigation. Naturally, it’s now in the FBI’s possession.
17. Ed Gein’s headstone: When the infamous murderer’s grave marker was stolen in 2001, there was little hope that it would ever be recovered. Then, a photo of the object popped up on social media many years later, and authorities were able to track it down. It’s now housed in the police department in the Plainfield, Wisconsin.
18. John Dillinger’s guns: These are just some of the weapons owned and used by the gangster and his crew to rob 24 banks and four police stations throughout the midwest. Now people from Auburn, Indiana, are lobbying to cease the items, which were stolen, so they can fund a training center for their police department.
19. Thomas Jefferson’s desk: Designed by the former POTUS himself, this desk was where Jefferson famously penned the Declaration of Independence; it remained his portable work space for years. Now it’s housed in the Smithsonian Institution.
20. Thomas Edison’s light bulb: This item was used by Thomas Edison for the first public demonstration of the first electric incandescent lamp at Menlo Park December 31, 1879. Now, it can be seen at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
21. The Wright Brothers’ plane: Constructed in 1903, this famous airplane miraculously traveled 120 feet in just 12 seconds. Now, aviation enthusiasts can see it on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
22. The Lindbergh baby ransom note: This note, penned by convicted killer and kidnapper Bruno Richard Hauptmann, requested that the family of military officer and aviator Charles Lindbergh to pay a ransom in order to retrieve Lindbergh’s son. The infamous note is now owned by the FBI.
23. The Spruce Goose airplane: Designed with the help of famous recluse and aircraft designer Howard Hughes, the H-4 Hercules was a World War I prototype for a flying boat and was only flown once. Now aviation enthusiasts can see it on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Without ways to preserve these items, there’s a chance the occasions they marked would’ve been forgotten forever. Thankfully, we can continue to learn from them!
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