Have you ever been to a bake sale? Or perhaps a craft fair or auction for charity? What about a raffle for charity with a beautiful quilt...
America Participates is the museum's 2016 theme: But what does "participation" actually look like? We interviewed David Allison, director...
How do you come to truly know someone? How do you know if they are who they claim to be?These questions were at the heart of a major shift...

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A graphic, black and white illustration of a stylized man in a top hat and cane pointing to the word "REM" in the sky. It appears to be storming, as trees are blown sideways. It says "Cough?" in the upper lefthand corner
What does it take for an advertisement to capture the attention of a potential consumer?It takes aesthetically pleasing simplicity, vibrant...
Two men in dress uniform stride forward carrying flags, one for the army and one for the navy. The program says "Army-Navy" and "1941 Fifty Cents" on the cover
Growing up the child of a World War II Navy veteran who happened to love football, it was easy to know who to root for in the Army-Navy...
A cubed machine that is beige and brown in color. It has a switch near its base and a plug. Some features protrude from it, including a white piece on the top that has slats in it.
One of our favorite food history collecting trips over the last year started with a predicament we are all familiar with—the frustration of...
An old photograph in sepia tones showing a number of people sitting on stairs outside of a building. Some are women and some are men, many of whom are wearing uniforms.
Wolves, rattlesnakes, floods, fire, and stampedes—these are just some of the many dangers faced by women on the American frontier of the...
A black and white photograph of a man in a patterned jacket and wire-rimmed glasses hovering over a boy with an Afro. The man holds a pair of scissors and a wide-toothed comb over the boy's hair as he looks off.
This Thanksgiving, education specialist Ariel Gory reflects on an experience for which she is thankful: the opportunity to inspire future...
A pair of dark leather books that are higher than ankle-length. They lace up the front. They have seen wear, as some of the seams look worn and the soles look like they're coming apart. On the ground in front of the shoes is a notebook. It looks to be made of dark leather and has rings like a modern binder, with pages covered in dark cursive.
So far, over 6,000 people have supported our campaign to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers and Scarecrow's costume from The Wizard of Oz....
A pair of replica ruby slippers sit inside of a display case. They are positioned so that the toes are pointed slightly away from one another, and one of the shoes has its heel places on a small box covered in blue gingham wrapping paper.
One of the rewards some backers of our Kickstarter project to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers and Scarecrow's costume from the...
In foreground, red poppies grow tall and straight in the sunlight. In background, the Washington Monument rises up behind some trees. Clear blue sky.
In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy Gale comes to learn that there's "no place like home," but there's also no place like one's...
Botanical model of Papaver rhoeas, the common poppy, late 19th century, used at the University of Minnesota Pharmacy School.
"And now my beauties, something with poison in it I think, with poison in it, but attractive to the eye and soothing to the smell . . ....
A page from a television script. The paper is beige colored and the text looks like it is from a typewriter and is centered on the page
Watching the television show M*A*S*H is a family tradition in my house. My grandfather introduced the show to my mother and uncle...
A contraption that appears to be made of translucent plastic, silver metal, and some sort of white cloth. It looks a bit like a gyroscope or a toy "top".
In The Wizard of Oz, Tin Man longs for a heart. That's a problem Manuel "Manny" Villafaña has rarely had—he has collected pieces of many...
a 4-wheeled, covered wagon with messages of suffrage and equal rights painted on the side
As both a young woman casting my vote in my first presidential election and the founder of College Students for Bernie, I came to the...
A print showing a group of men by the ballot box. One man is holding some papers in his hands while the man across from him had his arm raised, appearing to be on the verge of hitting something. The men wear top hats and there is text at the bottom that explains a conflict between voters about who they would want to vote for.
As we near Election Day, political cartoons are inescapable. Satirical cartoons continue a tradition of political printmaking that has been...
Sara Sunshine’s Clio Award, 1987
Over the past two years, the museum's business history curator, Dr. Kathleen Franz, has been collecting a wide range of materials related...
Crop of image also used in full post. A little girl with her eyes closed gently touches the webbed foot of the lion. Her facial expression is happy--we see her in silhouette. The lion's poofy made is visible.
Our storeroom has a tiny web-footed lion that defies logic. It is a three-dimensional portal into the world of a little girl, and one of...
A sculpture made from one dollar bill(s). It is complex with interwoven triangles that give it a spiked sort of appearance.
Money is often defined as a medium of exchange, but to some artists money is simply a medium—or set of materials—that they can use to...
A white campaign button that has a portrait of a man looking to the viewer's left on it with "Bryan" underneath. Around the edges reads: "No crown of thorns. / No cross of gold."
Many writers have suggested that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an allegory for late 19th-century American Populism. (For a...
Portrait of Marjorie Stewart Joyner
Born in 1896 in the tiny Appalachian hamlet of Monterey, Virginia, Marjorie Stewart grew up in extreme poverty. Of her 12 brothers and...
Wizard of Oz, 1900
Curator Peter Liebhold takes a trip to the children’s section of the library for inspiration in understanding the economic factors that...
Early television in wooden piece of furniture
The year 1939 saw two important milestones in American entertainment history. One was the release of the acclaimed motion picture The...
Photo of the Ruby Slippers on a yellow background
As part of our Keep Them Ruby campaign to conserve the Ruby Slippers, we asked staff members to reflect on what the ruby slippers...
on top of a grey surface, two rows of Pokemon cards are laid out, side by side. There are energy and trainer cards along with cards related to individual Pokemon. Some cards are in Japanese. In the bottom center row is a booklet with instructions for playing the card game.
Every generation comes to define itself by the experiences it shares, whether tragic or blissful. Sometimes, a single entertainment...
A small, black, rectangular plastic device that looks like it could rest in the palm of a hand. In light grey text, it says "iBill" and "RBIT" on the top.
As the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), I collect objects that reflect innovation in money today in order to preserve...
Large hardcover book, mostly dark brown with gold-colored details.
What does religion sound like? Across the United States today, you can listen for it in the tolling of church bells, the Muslim call to...
Photo of person standing on chair to escape mouse
For some creepy fun before Halloween, a tour of common phobias through our collections.1. The dark (nyctophobia)Perhaps most pervasive in...
A lithograph of a recipe for cheese and onion pie. The instructions are written in a calligraphic style and look more like a story than a recipe. There are illustrations of onions on the page with the text.
For this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, we're exploring the theme of "Politics on Your Plate," how people, collectively and...
A sign about Eggs. It says "give eggs a break!" at the top and has an illustration of an egg man that looks sort of evil in the middle. Someone threw a cookbook at his head and broke it but he didn't seem to notice.
In the postwar, pre-digital age, a long road trip often ended with piles of paper—maps, brochures, menus, postcards, scribbled notes,...
Costume on a faceless manikin includes pointed black hat tied with brown ribbon, white collar, burlap outfit, and hay pieces dangling.
We're somewhere over the rainbow! Because of you, we've met our goal of raising $300,000 to conserve and display Dorothy's Ruby Slippers...
Movie camera in large apparatus with four small wheels.
The cultural impact of the American fairy tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has not diminished since the publication of L. Frank Baum's...
A photograph of a man in the garb of the 1860s. He rests his hand on a large globe on the ground as he stands and looks at something out of the right side of the frame. In his right hand he carries a rolled up paper.
I came to the Smithsonian in the summer of 1962, excited about the opportunity to apply my academic training in the history of science to...
This October 9, 1944, advertisement for Whitman's chocolate boxes shows a woman embracing a soldier in uniform kissing her cheek. On the bottom right is a box of Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler. The bold font reads, “A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS THE MAN WHO REMEMBERS,” and, “BUY MORE WAR BONDS.” In fine print below the box of chocolates reads, “If you can’t always get your favorite Sampler, remember it’s because millions of pounds of Whitman’s Chocolates are going to all our fighting fronts.”
"Do you like chocolate?" That's one of the first questions I ask museum visitors during a chocolate program I lead in the museum's Wallace...
A piece of tan-colored paper folded in half. One half is lying flat and the other is open facing the camera, like an open mouth. There are geometric drawings on the paper with strings attached. The top says "Relief e" with text below it in French.
If you frequent the object groups of the National Museum of American History online, you may have noticed a recent addition (group link at...
A little girl admires the Ruby Slippers in a display case
At a little past 11:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2016, you took us somewhere over the rainbow. With over 5,300 backers, our "Keep Them...
Pair of red shoes with sequins with yellow brick background
The Ruby Slippers are among the most famous pairs of shoes in the world. Generations of Americans know them from Dorothy’s journey in the...
Close-up photo of red sequins, cropped to a circle
Update: Thanks to you, we have the support we need to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. Now we're asking for your help to reach our stretch...
Picture of Harold Cotton, Hat Blocker by Harvey Wang. Harold Cotton cleans a fedora with a brush. A group of hat blocks sit in the foreground, and Cotton's diploma hangs on the wall behind him.
At 15 years old, Harold Cotton tucked his shoe shine box under his arm and walked to Jefferson Square in downtown Greensboro, North...
One of the Ruby Slippers, with a small heel and a beaded bow, covered in sequins, sits under a microscope.
Update: Thanks to you, we have the support we need to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. Now we're asking for your help to reach our stretch...
An black and white image of a building surrounded by smoke. People gather around it, many in hats and winter jackets. The full caption at the bottom of the picture reads "The Collinwood School, photographed while the fire still raged"
With the academic year in full swing, schools across the country are beginning their first rounds of fire drills. Remember those? As alarms...
Black and white photo of a balance. Two central arms hold a plate/tray on each side. The entire thing is in a cabinet that appears to open and close.
When you pay for a pound of chocolates, how do you know if you get a pound, no more and no less? Do you rely on the goodness of the market...
a black and white photograph of a woman in a cream colored dress with a draped skirt, laid on top of pieces of fabric of varied textures and colors
Even before the United States entered the First World War in 1917, procurement officers for the armed forces began to look for sources for...
A group of young women in white, button up, short sleeved shirts stands and kneels for the photograph. In the middle of the back row there is a man with a serious expression. The young woman kneeling in the center is holding a baseball bat.
On February 20, 2016, former Smithsonian fellow Mark Ocegueda, currently a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California,...
Small, handmade car designed from cardboard pieces in red, white, and brown.
Rolling across the Potomac on any given Sunday morning in the late 1990s, you could probably find a white Volvo with my dad driving my...
Illustration for sheet music that says "Fair Hawaii" at the top in yellow text atop green palm trees. A woman in a lei and grass skirt sits in the center looking at a red, setting sun
In recent years, the ukulele, or jumping (lele) flea (‘uku) in Hawaiian, has received a renewed appeal. I've heard the instrument make...
Black and white illustration of Abraham Lincoln (bust)
As November 8 draws nearer, I have been thinking about what "electability" means for an American president. What makes someone look...
Girls in uniform sit around a table holding their certificates.
Moving to a new city is intimidating, particularly because most of your time is spent stumbling into familiarity. Guidance, trial, and...
The cover of a cookbook entitled "cooking with COLD." It is emerald green with an abstract illustration of a woman standing in front of a fridge, holding an ice cream cone, with two more in front of her and a jug.
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project explores "everyday things that changed everything." One innovation that definitely...
Color photograph of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, taken from ground level with a perspective looking up. Light and puffy clouds streak across the sky. Green foliage in foreground.
Our next door neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opens on September 24, 2016, and our whole staff is...
Lafayette Escadrille pilot pin
Sunday, September 18, is the 69th birthday of the United States Air Force, which became a separate branch of service as part of the...

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