What does a world-famous musician put under the tree for the woman he loves . . . when he happens to be married to someone else?In the case...
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...
Thanksgiving 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Proclamation that established the national observance of the holiday....

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Image of what looks like a cell phone with one of its panels removed so that insides are visible.
New inventions always build on inventions of the past—and sometimes more than one. Few devices demonstrate that more clearly than...
Painting of a dark, naval scene with explosions
The calm Southern Pacific night sky distorts in an instant into a maelstrom of fire and thunder. Torpedoes and gunfire hit their mark....
A blue mop bucket.
A bucket from the Ice Bucket Challenge. A collection box from the 19th century. A toolbelt from a volunteer...
Photo of Oscar the Grouch puppet (green with big eyes, scraggly fur) popping out of an aluminum garbage can
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An old bottle of soap
According to a recent report by Mintel, a marketing research agency, few millennials use bar soap. Don't be alarmed, though. They...
Family members gather around a Thanksgiving table and smile.
[[{"fid":"24851","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"A long table...
Natalia Flores’s pink quinceañera gown
Light pink and very full, the organza and tulle gown took up a major portion of the sofa. Beside it, Natalia had placed her glittery high...
Three small, colorful tokens--appear to be glass. Oval one is turquoise. Yellow one is lemon-shaped. Blue one is a rounded square. All have characters on them.
I'm going all in on red!. . .Actually, I'm not. But if I were a gambler, maybe that's something I'd say. Gambling has been a popular...
Image of two coins. One is huge, one is small. Huge one includes portrait of a man in profile with long curly hair and rich attire. Small one includes image of tree.
Money plays a giant role in everyone's lives, but that doesn't always mean it is physically large. At various points in history, coinage...
A black plaster bust of George III depicts the king with an engaged expression, complete with open eyes and an open mouth. The bust’s base is inscribed with the latin phrase “pater patriae,” loosely translated as “Father of the Country.”
Several decades after the American Revolution, George had come to be known to many of his countrymen as “pater patriae,” or “the father of...
Photograph of green taxidermy bird on wooden perch with a round base. Alert eye. Yellow beak. Long green tail.
When people ask what I do for a living, I say, "I work at the National Numismatic Collection. It's the Smithsonian's collection of monetary...
One piece of paper money with a portrait of President Wilson and one coin with an image of an owl
Whenever we tell friends and family where we work, their first response is typically, "What is Numismatics?" Of course, they pronounce it...
Photograph of two pieces of money. On left, a rectangular-shaped metal with handle-like protrusion and notch. On right, a coin-shaped metal object with hole in center.
Money in many people's minds will make them think of two things: dollars and cents, or bills and coins. When people seek to buy something,...
Small slip of paper with a number on it. In a gloved hand. The glove is black.
After maintaining neutrality for three years, the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Expecting around a million enlistees...
Gold coin featuring a fierce image of a dragon. Its eyes make eye contact with the viewer. Its body is snake-like. It looks angry. Text: "Szechuen Province."
Imagine a 1,000-square-foot room holding thousands of tiny records of the past. You would probably assume such a room was part of a museum...
Poster with "You can help" and "American Red Cross." Imagine in pencil line drawing of a woman knitting. She sits in a chair, looking at her work.
Today, I spend spare time between classes working at my college's library or hanging out with friends. Had I been an American college...
A detail of a green suit with a white ruffle at the collar.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical turned international attention to the story of founding...
Behind the table in previous photo, three women pose, smiling and looking at camera.
Beside piles of rubble, The Donut Palace was open for business. The image of the little donut shop, defiantly open in the face of the...
Rectangular piece of tile with geometric shapes in various colors: black, white, red, yellow, and pink
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. In Part 1 of this...
Weathered top hat
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. Though the nation...
A rust-colored coin with two lines of text, a frond around the edge and a depiction of a nose, whiskers and beard
 [[{"fid":"23821","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"A rust-...
A dried rose
Collecting souvenirs is often part of happy times in our lives. Who among us doesn’t have a shelf with a shell picked up on the beach, a...
Photograph of the opening of the New York City subway system. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.
William Steinway's diary resides in the National Museum of American History's Archives Center as part of the Steinway and Sons...
Mourning card for Abraham Lincoln that includes excerpts from his second inaugural address. The text is written on a white design made to look like a decorated altar.
When you think about it, funerals and other major life events are not all that different—well, aside from the obvious, that generally...
Last moments of famous people fascinate us. Perhaps as a holdover of the Victorian notion of “making a good death” as a way to ensure...
Commemorative ribbon decorated with a golden eagle, the U.S. flag, and a circular seal depicting Columbus’s arrival in the New World, complete with the text “Landing of Columbus.” At the bottom of the ribon is the following text: National Public School
Since October 1892, countless schoolchildren across the nation have begun their school day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a daily...
Selena laughs and holds a Coke. She wears a silver vest, white t-shirt, and black pants.
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Photo of white gown in front of black background. It's off-the-shoulder with a cross-body sash in front along with red/maroon tie at waist. Narrow silhouette and slit cascading on one side. Glossy and matte fabric in subtle layers.
Have you heard? We have a new dress on exhibition. It's true. There has been an addition to the First Ladies exhibition. First Lady Melania...
Gold locket with black onyx stones along its border and brown hair embedded in the center under glass.
Just in time for Halloween, your favorite collections managers from the Division of Political History bring you a new blog series: "Death...
Rectangular cardboard box labeled "Rabies Vaccine (Duck Embryo)" in a printed label. It is half open. Inside, vials with liquid are visible.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
A grainy, black and white photograph of a shirtless man with dark hair being led down a hallway by two uniformed police officers
A note to our readers: This blog post contains imagery that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.Between 50,000 and 150,...
On the left there is a box with bright green and red packaging. On the right there are two vials with the same red and green packaging as the box.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. This is the fourth post in our Antibodies Week...
A long history of attempts at treating plague are represented in the museum's collections. Clockwise: a bottle to hold a preparation of scorzonera, or viper’s grass; a container used to store a paste of eggs, honey, and other ingredients; a jar intended for pulverized bezoars; and a bezoar formed from ingested hair in the stomach of an ox.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
Three amber-colored bottles that resemble upside down bells with handles. They have yellowed labels on them.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
An open brown box. The top of the box has a label reading "via air mail" and a stamp that says refrigerate, but no other markings. Insides the open box, there is a pipette and other components of the pregnancy test.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
On a boat with waves in the background, a young man with blonde hair holds a video camera to his face. He wears a military vest and pants with bare arms. In front of him--the subject he is filming--is a gun or other military equipment on the boat. An operator's forearm is visible holding/manipulating the gun or equipment.
The Vietnam War was the nation's first televised war. Within hours, combat footage of young Americans in uniform in the jungles of South...
An elaborate outfit comprising a crimson robe with matching skirt with gold lace overlay. There is a sloping sash placed around the shoulders and a hat with four points.
In reflecting on National Coming Out Day, Curator Kenneth Cohen was reminded of the fascinating story of Charlotte Cushman that we've...
A model of the head and decolletage of what used to be a woman but is now a creature with leathery and deteriorating skin opening its lipless maw hungrily. It doesn't have arms.
When my daughter, Katelyn, told me I would like a new TV show that had aired on Halloween night in 2010, I was skeptical. I'm not a big fan...
A folded white cloth napkin with writing on it. The notes and graph demonstrate Laffer's theory of supply side economics.
Every museum curator searches for that incredible iconic object, a fabulous artifact that is both physically interesting and represents a...
Newspaper clippings, white cards with handwritten text, and a photograph on old, faded paper. There are dark streaks on some of the clippings and the page.
October is American Archives Month—a great time to flip through the old family scrapbooks and spend time preserving these homemade albums...
Cover of Leopoldo Martinez's red leather scrapbook. The embroidered book has features the text: Scrap Book.
Leopoldo “Polín” Martinez was a highly talented semiprofessional baseball player who toured with clubs in Mexico, Texas, and Southern...
Photograph of Ernie Martinez's re-stitched baseball glove and repair tools.
After hitting a double, the runner goes for glory and tries to stretch the hit into a triple. A throw, a slide, a cloud of dust, and...
Four figurines lined up against a background. They wear colorful clothing, carry different items and have objects on their heads
When Janice Hatfield, a collector of Mexican American folk art, first visited Mexico in the 1960s, she had an instantaneous feeling of home...
A black and white photograph of a wall inside a building covered in a line of photographs with text panels and large lettering.
As frightening reports of North Korea's nuclear missile tests fill the news, many of us long for the days when the only television coverage...
A dark-haired woman in a gold hat and top holds up a bottle of Coca Cola and smiles. There is a dark border created by the visible film strip around the photograph.
[[{"fid":"23973","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"A dark-haired...
A colorful mask with red antlers, a black face covered in yellow dashes with two yellow horns. The eyes are exaggeratedly large and the mouth is open with many thin white teeth. There are bells attached all over the mask.
Getting to handle and study treasured artifacts, pursuing fascinating research adventures all day, and building inspirational exhibitions—...
Photo of World Trade Center site after attacks of September 11, 2001. Two or three workers in hard hats and uniforms are in the cherrypicker of a crane, shooting a fire hose downward in a gentle arch. A battered wall or part of a building visible left.
About a month after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, I received a phone call from a colleague asking if I wanted to take a trip up to New...
On a white background lies a rectangular piece of paper with chunks missing. It looks like a puzzle because some pieces are lined up next to each other. There is a second partially destroyed document laying to the right.
The history behind a single object can often tell many stories. In 2004 the museum acquired a stock certificate from an early Internet...

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