See Jeff Shallit’s Anatomy of a Creationist Tall Tale for the full background for this. Most of the material here is taken directly from that page.
The initial event: Jeff Shallit corresponded with the Smithsonian Institution to find out about collections of designed objects of which we don’t know the functions. Kenneth Burke there told him that in…
one showcase of a 1980-1 exhibition at the then National Museum of History and Technology “a number of unindentified articles were displayed[…]”
Then Del Ratzsch in 1998 took notice of this:
The Smithsonian Institution has a collection of obviously designed human artifacts, concerning the purposes of which no one has a clue.
William Dembski then reported in a 1998 article:
There is a room at the Smithsonian filled with objects that are obviously designed but whose specific purpose anthropologists do not understand.
And then again Dembski reports this in 2002:
Consider that the Smithsonian Institution devotes a room to obviously designed artifacts for which no one has a clue what those artifacts do.
In the latter case Dembski cited Del Ratzsch as his source.
This was the state of play where Jeff got involved, where part of a showcase of an exhibit almost 20 years previous became “a collection”, then became a room dedicated to storing such artifacts.
Well, Kansas has added its bit to the inflationary universe of antievolution. In his testimony to the Kansas Kangaroo Court, Dr. William Harris brought up this claim. Now, though, the budget must have gone through the roof, for Harris testified that in Washington, DC, there is a museum that devotes an entire wing to such artifacts!
Mark Twain famously opined that “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” Obviously, pseudoscience is seeking to one-up science in this regard.