Who Is ‘Mysteries at the Museum’ Host Don Wildman?

Don Wildman may have one of the coolest jobs in the world. Since 2010, the 58-year-old host of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel has traveled across the U.S. to visit memorable museums and share surprising stories about our nation’s history. Find out more about his favorite museums to visit, why he thinks everyone should travel, and what he’d be doing if he wasn’t hosting a TV show.

He’d probably be a teacher if he wasn’t working in TV

Don Wildman
Don Wildman |Courtesy of Travel Channel

In a Travel Channel profile, Wildman explains that he probably should have ended up as a teacher, not a TV host. But the New Jersey native he thinks the latter is the same thing, sort of.

“My father was a teacher and a high school principal, and 3 of my 4 sisters are/have been professional teachers,” he said. “It’s in our family gene pool to explain things. I like to think I’m doing this on television — without giving quizzes.”

He’s hosted Mysteries at the Museum for more than 20 seasons

Mysteries at the Museum premiered in 2010, and since then, Wildman has hosted 24 seasons of the show, uncovering treasures everywhere from Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History to the Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City, Kansas.

Originally, Wildman wanted to be an actor, but that didn’t quite pan out, he explained in a 2017 interview with Adweek. But a job hosting a show called Weird Travels lead him to discover he had a knack for talking about history and travel. He went on to host Men’s Journal on ESPN, Cities of the Underworld on History, and Filthy Cities for Discovery/BBC before landing his Mysteries at the Museum gig.

 “I was super, super lucky that I fell into something I really like to do,” he said. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

His favorite museum is in London

Wildman’s favorite museum is the British Museum in London, he told Monsters and Critics. “I love all of those London museums because they’re free and you just walk right in and it’s like, here’s the whole world on a platter thanks to … the British Empire.”

Of course, when you visit as many museums as Wildman does, picking just one favorite is hard. He also mentioned loving New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cairo Museum. And in a post for the Travel Channel, he included the Frick Museum in New York, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and the Blaschka Glass Flowers exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History among his favorites.  

He thinks people have a responsibility to travel

Unsurprisingly for a guy who spends his days crisscrossing the country in search of out-of-the-way tourist spots, Wildman is a big advocate of travel. And he doesn’t think people should do it just because it’s fun. He also think people have a responsibility to familiarize themselves with the broader world.

“I believe it’s not only a cherished right to travel the world,” he told Monsters and Criticis. “It’s somewhat of a responsibility and I hope that parents are encouraging their children to think of the world as their own, not something to be turned away from.”

Mysteries at the Museum airs Wednesday at 8/7c on the Travel Channel.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!