Scrolling through social media or watching on TV, you can't miss the pageantry accompanying national political conventions. The bright...
Update: Our curators are now at the Republican National Convention. Scroll down for the latest.  As Republicans and Democrats...
The amazing thing about running for president is how many people are actually willing to attempt it. The 2016 campaign's big crop is...

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a green square board with a number of small pes attached by screen to a roller contraption with a handle on which lace is stretched
Walking down a street in Chicago in 1901, Sylvester G. Lewis saw a large group of women enthralled with a lady making lace in a window...
women sit in rows in a room using microscopes
I dare not eat / A dead pig's meat / Though not of creed of Moses /For, oh, I fear / From what I hear, / That horrid trichinosis—...
Gold medal with portrait of a man's face. He wears a helmet and stares past the viewer. Behind him, other soldiers in uniforms and helmets hold guns in a tactical position.
As the rain clouds began to blow out to sea over the fortress of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, I looked out over the crowd of...
A full-length photo of the sewing machine. It looks like a box with painted doors featuring images of a man and woman. The top is open to show the sewing needle.
Nineteenth century Americans were voracious news-readers, and in 1863, there was plenty of big news. Abraham Lincoln signed the...
A beer comb which looks like a tongue depressor with an elaborate handle that is a black vine-like design
A tall head sits upon a lively body. An inviting aroma wafts forward. In a moment, the rising head is lopped off.Your bartender pours beer...
Photograph of a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz taillight assembly, 1959
Although visitors would be hard-pressed to find shark fins in our museum's displays, there is one kind of fin (or, at least, part of a fin...
A pair of children in period clothing stand next to a clapboard house
In 1962 Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had...
Likeness of Ferdinand Foch in black, white and gray against a gray background surrounded by celebratory and commemorative details
Continuing our World War I series, discover an incredible portrait of a war hero.During World War I, several French textile manufacturers...
Two black-and-white photos of anniversary celebrations
We had a remarkable response to our contest to help the museum select photos for its display celebrating the opening of the National Museum...
An old woman, a young woman, a girl and a baby sitting in the living room of an 1860s home
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...
Two women on stage, one in green and one in dark grey
The National Museum of American History hosted U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor in a discussion on...
One woman kneels into a display case, placing glass objects onto a blue platform/display armature. Another woman holds design plans on paper and watches. In background, case is open to show objects and text panels.
Imagine you're setting a table with your finest glassware, and finding the best placement for each fragile and meaningful piece. Now...
Color photo of lots of red poppies growing in front of the Washington Memorial. Blue skies and green trees surround.
As Memorial Day approaches, enjoy three examples of how floral symbolism and military history are connected. Much like the Emojis of...
For the third installment of our Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project potluck series, we embraced 1950s cooking. We found...
Black and white photo: Two men in wine field with mountains in background.
American wine aficionados know the Judgment of Paris or Paris Tasting as the transformative tasting held in Paris on May 24, 1976, where 12...
Postcard with photo of two young children wearing ballet shoes. Little boy holds top hat in his raised hand and an over-sized coat. The little girl strikes a pose with a fancy fan and wears a full-skirted tea length dress and a hat with many bows.
Cakewalks, for many, evoke visions of childhood and carnivals. Today, a cakewalk is where dancers promenade around a circle of numbers on...
Image from stage showing multiple tiers of audience packed into the seats
Are you a Wagner fan? If so, you were likely excited by the Washington National Opera's presentation of The Ring of the Nibelungen, a cycle...
(Detail) Indoor black and white photo of children gathered around a rectangular table, wearing party hats and waiting to eat cake. The birthday boy, in suit and tie, grins, standing with his hands behind his back with his two-tiered cake in front of him. Behind him, a patterned curtain. Wood-paneled room.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
Cover of comic book. Little boy in tears runs to father. Text: "Dad! They took away my baseball bat!"
Comics have historically been used to tell difficult stories and engage youth in important but challenging topics. Martin Luther King Jr....
(Detail) Many people in formal outfits sit at a long table with a white tablecloth. A couple smiles, wearing silly hats, about to cut a cake. Behind them, 15 or 16 people stand on a raised platform or stage, smiling for the photo. Streamers and other decorations are visible on the ceiling. There are tall candles in candle holders on some of the tables.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
Museum visitor looks at objects on a table while staff member points out features of historic objects
Our National Youth Summit on Japanese American Incarceration in World War II is just around the corner. In this national webcast...
Black and white photo of three Boy Scouts carrying a large U.S. flag with community in background, including other parade participants with bugle and drum.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Executive Order 9066 forcibly removed all people of Japanese ancestry, citizens or not,...
Purple fabric with geometric streaks of lavender, violet, pink, and white. Vignettes include figures, churches/grand buildings, etc.
Celebrities today have their own clothing lines, perfumes, and even cosmetic labels. What if the founders of our country had the same...
(Detail) Black and white photo of gathering in center of camp with buildings in background. Boy Scouts line up while community watches. In background, high mountains with snow on top.
Here at the museum, we're busy preparing for this year's National Youth Summit. The program is an interactive webcast event bringing...
(Detail) Poster with striking orange background. Color illustration of a young man with hand in pocket and mother with arm raised. Text: "Go! It's your duty lad. Join to-day."
When people think of World War I, they often think of soldiers fighting in trenches. But soldiers weren't the only ones doing the work of...
Poster with image of young woman in military uniform
“Wartime nursing is different,” The American Journal of Nursing soberly noted in 1943. As nurses well knew, wars always...
(Detail) Illustrated comic book cover with three planes and Superman, Batman, Robin saluting and smiling.
May 8 is the anniversary of V-E Day, the day that Germany unconditionally surrendered in 1945 to end World War II in Europe. Young American...
(Detail) Colorful carousel horse with pink saddle and light pink mane
"Unless something is done [the carousel] will turn the minds of people here, and no one would be surprised if in a few days, whole families...
This post is part two in a series. Part one traced how the holiday of May Day was revived in the United States by wealthy reformers who...
May Day is a holiday that many Americans have celebrated, but relatively few can explain. Depending on your age, you might associate May 1...
Patent with black and white illustration
New posters around the museum remind us as we come to work each morning that our theme this year is "America Participates." This...
Museum case containing woman's gown, marble bust, nurse's cap, and small painting. Each item has a label.
America Participates is the museum's 2016 theme: But what does "participation" actually look like? We interviewed David Allison, director...
1870s Remington typewriter, black with detailed flowers and patriotic emblems painted on it
The sound of clicking typewriter keys filled the museum's Innovation Wing recently during Type-O-Rama. This event, presented by the ...
Black and white photo of Ellington at piano. Ellington turns slightly to face camera, his right hand on the keys.
Within the first week of starting my internship in the Archives Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, I was...
Yellow guitar, dark blue background.
The museum will recognize the life and legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson (1958–2016) by displaying his "Yellow Cloud" electric guitar. The...
(Detail) Image of a nature scene with mountains in the background, rocks and a stream in foreground, and trees. Misty, cloud, but slightly sunny.
What would you have done if you saw your river burning? The Cuyahoga River that runs through the northeastern corner of Ohio was so...
(Detail) Black and white illustration of Lincoln's headstone. At his feet, a mythical beast lays half dead, near a scroll that says "Emancipation Act." A figure of Liberty(?) covers her eyes, leaning against it. A figure with dark skin holds his hand to his face. Owls and an American flag on top.
In recent weeks, historical sites and societies throughout the country have been marking the 151st anniversary of the end of the Civil War...
Image of coin with figure wearing crown
Rule by women was less common, but not unheard of in the Byzantine Empire—or in the ancient world for that matter! As such, ancient coins...
Young woman wearing blue gloves gets ready to remove a Girl Scout uniform from a display
On rainy weekends, my mom would say, "Let's go visit Boomer." With big, wise eyes and a grumpy mouth, Boomer the Queensland Grouper was a...
Scene on stage with costumes, bandstand, musicians
While watching a screening of Paris is Burning hosted by the Smithsonian Latino Center, I was entranced by the dazzling...
Illustration in black, grey, and brown of mother cradling one child in her skirt, among rubble, while the other holds his belly, probably hungry. (Detail)
April 6, 2016, marks the 99th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Although the country would not be drawn into combat until...
Photo of a stamp. There is a raised floral design, somewhat stylized. Parts that are not to be stamped are flush and not raised.
In the museum's textile collection are over 400 of these curious blocks. What were they used for and when did they come to us? During...
Woman in white suit and hat poses with man in baseball uniform and hat. Big smiles. In background, baseball stadium.
Red thread is woven in and out of leather, uniting two different pieces into a single object that represents America's favorite pastime and...
Cover of "Recipes for Today" cookbook, with an illustration of a woman wearing a read and white dress and carrying a large bowl of soup
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project team had a variety of reactions, taste-wise, to the 1930s recipes that...
Black and white photo of men playing instruments on stage
Since 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month (popularly known as "JAM") has encouraged people around the world to spend April celebrating the music...
Color block print. High, purple cliffs with a little grass and spindly trees. Sky is green.
During Women's History Month we like to celebrate women represented in the museum's collections. The Gearhart sisters lived and worked in...
Black and white photograph of a woman posing, unsmiling, with a bicycle
"Meet the Wheelwoman" is an interactive theater program created in conjunction with a new learning space at the museum, the Patrick F...
Photo of woman with short curly hair, blue dress, and large equipment
Creating art with unusual materials isn't a new idea, nor is combining art with science. But how about using a particle accelerator to...

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