The stories he gathered and illustrated would later appear as a popular newspaper cartoon feature, “Believe it or Not!” and are still enjoyed by readers around the world today.
“When you stop and think about it, Robert Ripley was the Internet of his time,” said Heather Cognito, marketing director of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Branson.
The museum has special interest to many who visit and the educational value is drawing teachers and students from around the area.
Cognito said teachers are taking advantage of the museum as a learning tool, showing their students there are things in the world other than the Internet.
“We have had teachers focus their curriculum for the year on world travel. It’s been a great way for students to see something of other cultures. Regardless of where they are in their studies, there is something that is related here at the museum,” she said.
Cognito said students like a good challenge and have found things in the museum that really make them think.
“They like a lot of the interactive things. The illusions gallery is all-visual challenging mind teasers, with a lot of riddles. They stay in there a long time,” she said.
Ripley was famous for showing people the odd and unusual from cultures around the world.
Whenever possible, he brought home artifacts from his journeys.
Cognito said she really enjoys seeing the expressions on children’s faces when they figure things out.
When students visit the museum Cognito challenges them to find the two displays that are not real.
She said the two pieces were exhibited in museums for years in other countries as legitimate. Ripley was the one who uncovered them as frauds.
“The kids are pretty savvy. They usually figure it out,” Cognito said.
What are the two exhibits? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
But one hint, they both have something to do with water.
Cognito said the giant ball of twine and the wax figure of the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow, are very popular and someone is always asking, “how did you get that giant limousine in here?”
The museum is full of many interesting treasures that make you think and scratch your head in amazement.
“It’s definitely a place that you will want to return to more than once,” Cognito said.
“Come and see the world, it will totally amaze you.”