When Janice Hatfield, a collector of Mexican American folk art, first visited Mexico in the 1960s, she had an instantaneous feeling of home...
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Over the past two years, the museum's business history curator, Dr. Kathleen Franz, has been collecting a wide range of materials related...

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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...
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 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...
Photograph of lunch counter with four chairs
"I walked away with an attitude that, if our country is screwed up, don't give up. Unscrew it, but don't give up."   ...
Photograph of Skorton welcoming visitors at the opening of the new wing. He is joined by two museum staffers dressed in Statue of Liberty costumes.
I had the pleasure of participating in the grand opening of the museum’s impressive new wing, The Nation We Build Together. The design of...
An object that appears to be made of a rolled piece of crimped paper with accordion folds that is sat upright. There is a painted design on it that appears to be an eagle with American imagery.
Even before they got the vote, young people were historically involved in politics, particularly in the last half of the 19th century. From...
(Zoom/Detail) Black and white photo of a woman on a stage. On stage are six fridges, two lamps, and a big banner that says "REA." On a table on the floor in front of the stage, a lamp. There are decorative tassels.
Before Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis, there was Louisan Mamer (1910–2005). An early employee of the Rural...
A shiny metal object with a round base and small wooden handles. There is an object resembling a covered bowl with white material inlaid bearing an illustration
Americans eat a lot of waffles. According to the restaurant chain Waffle House, approximately 145 waffles are sold at the eatery throughout...
A woman stands inside a case with metal objects attached to poles, and there are lanterns hung up. She holds a white cloth out and attempts to clean the glass in front of her.
As collections managers and museum specialists, our job is to care, physically and intellectually, for the museum's objects. We research...
Page from children's book illustration with a skeleton illustration in black link.
Do you remember the books that helped you learn to read—maybe Dick and Jane, Dr. Seuss, or Clifford the Big Red Dog? No matter the...
A black and white photograph of a balding, bearded man wearing a suit jacket and tie, looking to his right away from the camera.
 [[{"fid":"23645","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"A black...
Scan of newspaper-style image. A little girl in uniform with big smile gives a salute and so does her spotted dog, who looks up at her.
Imagine being asked to contribute your best friend to the war effort, if your best friend has four legs, is furry, and goes by the name of...
Photograph of the eyepiece of a telescope-type device
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Color photo of two women in a kitchen surrounded by cookbooks, rosemary plants, dishes, plates, and more. One is holding a pan or pot and peering into it, while the other, by her side, does something that is hard to see due to a rosemary plant.
On the 105th anniversary of Julia Child's birth (August 15, 1912), the museum's food history team is thinking anew about Julia's life and...
A portion of a piece of currency. It depicts a bird upside wen surrounded by stamp-like decorations in green, red and black. There are many scratch marks on the right side of the frame.
Honest Abe, Old Hickory, His Accidency, Old Rough and Ready, Cool Cal, and Handsome Frank are but a few fond (or not so fond) nicknames...
A portion of a piece of paper currency. A pair of tigers frolic in a stream. There is text above and below them within an ornate order. The paper is cream-colored with blue and orange stripes
Coins are a powerful tool used to communicate strong messages through varied symbolism. In addition to portraits of influential people and...
A sepia photograph of a woman with dark coiffed hair in a military-style shirt. She is smiling.
Museum Specialist Noriko Sanefuji and Curator Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum and Historic Site...
A black suitcase whose case is old and warped with stripes down the center under the handle.
Museum Specialist Noriko Sanefuji and Curator Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum and Historic Site...
An illustration of a head of a man. He has a floppy cap on with a green ribbon and a large mustache and appears to be smiling.
When the United States entered the Great War in 1917, the U.S. Army commissioned eight professional artists to record the activities of the...
Detail of one of the rewards shown in the blog post below. It includes an illustration of a blue bird on a branch with a red flower and says, "Reward of Merit."
When I was young, one of my favorite things about school was when I could bring something home to show my parents. I relished their...
An excerpt from an old, yellowed newspaper with black type
During the American Civil War, after the capture of New Orleans in the spring of 1862, Union troops were stationed at the former...
A wooden case with the cover pushed to the side. Inside there is a metal dish attached to a stick with purple strings.
Working with museum collections, I am often reminded that the names we attach to objects can reflect powerful social and political forces....
A gold coin. It is very bright and has a long, snakelike dragon coiled in the middle with cloud-like designs around it.
Spoiler alert: If you aren't caught up on your Game of Thrones viewing, there may be a few surprises inside.Even though it's...
In a black and white photograph a woman in a white collared shirt and hair sticking up in every direction is laughing
Phyllis Diller, the groundbreaking stand-up comic, would have been celebrating her 100th birthday on July 17, 2017. The Smithsonian honored...
An object that is a circle with alternating white and green bands. In the middle is a red circle with M&D and the universal medical sign in it. There is a bronze-colored part sticking out of the bottom with a hole in it.
While walking alongside a street or through a parking lot, do you ever notice the different signs adorning cars? Bumper stickers are the...
A double black and white image of a number of adults in a parlor surrounding an infant in a blanket. The central man is holding some sort of strap with a hook in his hands that is attached to the cloth the baby is lying in.
Parents today proudly announce the weight of each new child, along with the baby's height, name, and sex. When did the practice of weighing...
An illustration of a man in a chariot riding in a stadium under a yellow sky.
America has long been home to enthusiastic movie fans. Even back in the 1910s and 1920s, a period in American film history known as the "...
A lunchbox with a rectangular base and a curved top. It has a red handle and metal clasps. Its surface depicts a barren landscape with a starry night sky. A futuristic silver van on many wheels drives across the front. On the side, one can see two people with their arms raised. A giant green monster stands in front of them.
First, they crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, sometime in July 1947. Then they crashed into our lunch boxes and our lives.Our imaginations...
Postcard-sized illustration in color featuring three children. Two little boys light fireworks and play with toy soldiers while a little girl covers her ears and clutches a doll. Text reads "Wishing you a glorious 4th of July" in gold.
"The coming stupendous holocaust, caused by the sky-rocket, the giant fire cracker and the toy pistol, that leaves an annual trail of...
A horizontal glass bottle with metal machinery inside. There is wiring, a semicircular object, and a glass spout on one end with a tube attached below it filled with a black substance. Above, there is an object that is shaped like an golden, upside-down light bulb.
Vacuum technology is fascinating to me. Unfortunately for my house, I'm talking about a vacuum defined by the absence of matter, not the...
A picture of a large bell on wooden supports. There is a metal wheel next to it on its large frame
For several decades after the Revolution, Paul Revere was as famous for his church bells as for his midnight ride. His role as a horse-...
A loaf of bread on a wooden surface. It is light wheat colored and the surface is rough
I do not bake. My cookies burn, my pie crust is either too dry or too sticky, and my pies turn out watery. So how did I find myself lead...
A black hog stands in an enclosure of logs. It has straw all over it.
George Washington is seldom seen as a man of science. But, like others who lived during the Enlightenment, he used scientific ideas,...
A statue or object resembling the statue of Liberty. The robe and crown are a mint green color and The statue holds an apple up. There are more in a container she holds at her side. She has dark hair and olive brown skin.
On June 17, 1885, a French ship, the Isère, arrived in New York Harbor laden with very special cargo—more than 200 crates filled with...
A single-page, typed letter dated July 21, 2010 from David Rockefeller. It begins: "Philanthropists, at their best, try to address serious societal problems and occasionally come up with innovations that lead to enduring change. In the end, success requires much more than financial resources, although money is, of course, essential." It continues fora total of four paragraphs.
In March, David Rockefeller died at the extraordinary age of 101. He was one of the first signers of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by...
A woman wearing a yellow sweater and wearing purple gloves carefully manipulates the fabric of a beautiful white gown with delicate flower and sequin details. The gown is one-shoulder strap. It was worn by First Lady Michelle Obama. The dress is on a form.
Sunae Park Evans probably knows Martha Washington’s measurements better than anyone, including her own seamstress. As the senior costume...
A chunk of a solid, stone-lik substance that is riddled with small holes.
Though it authorized our nation's earliest imperialistic land grab outside our continent, the 1856 Guano Islands Act is little known today...
A lobby with glass cases of objects and a stairway. The ceiling is a lurid red. In the center is a lego statue resembling the statue of liberty, resting on a large rectangular display with short glass walls surrounding it that have signage on it.
As the museum's social media manager, I get to see many snapshots our visitors share on social media while they're here. Frequently...
A movie poster for an African American action character. He wears a vivid crimson shirt, a kerchief secured around his neck by a metal ring, a cowboy hat on, and he stands in from of a large white structure in the background that has flags, towers, and domes.
The National Museum of American History is renowned for its collection of American cinematic treasures such as Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from...
Against a blank white background, a white corduroy jacket with with an insignia on the left breast and stitching on the right
High school can be a challenging time for teens. Much as they do today, young men and women throughout the 20th century wrestled with...
Lunch box featuring a scene from Star Wars. Three characters are in a vehicle that has been stopped by storm troopers.
When the Virginia all-state student orchestra launched into the first thrilling notes of John Williams's Star Wars ...
A chestnut-colored drum with a pair of drumsticks
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for bravery and valor that can be bestowed upon a member of the United States military. Modern...
A photograph that is awash in tones of gray. A woman sits in a moor-like environment with a white dress and black shawl or robe. Her face is lifted up and her eyes are closed. Her hands are clasped together as if in prayer
Confession: This month, we celebrate Mother's Day and I'm jealous of you if you still have your mom. I lost mine to breast cancer when I...
A piece of paper three hole punched at the top. There is a comic printed on it off-center of two computers sitting on a chair with a picture on a small table and dialogue bubbles. A signature and text is in the lower righthand corner and information is stamped above the cartoon on the page
On May 11, 1997, a chess-playing computer, Deep Blue, and world chess champion Garry Kasparov were on their sixth and final game. His...
Photograph of wooden box. The box has a wooden handle in the middle and a space for tools. Inside, there are two tools.
I am standing in the kitchen of Amelia Ceja, owner of Ceja Vineyards, and watching her stir a big bubbling pot of caldo, or chicken...
A photograph of a number of men standing in front of a greenhouse. Their clothes are not very fine and they all have hats on. There are overgrown plants and trees behind the greenhouse. The men hold different tools like a scythe or a rake
Piano manufacturer William Steinway described his vision of suburban America to Congress in 1883, but in his own life the future had...

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