Thanksgiving is often imagined as a time of gathering and inclusion. We frequently picture our quintessentially American holiday as when we...
On October 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the third Thursday...
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Project Manager Nanci Edwards shares a family letter from the Civil War, providing a glimpse into what the...

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Horse hoof cauterized and preserved with a coat of shiny black enamel
In the early morning hours of March 30, 1890, in Washington, D.C., the collision of two horse-drawn fire wagons racing to answer an alarm...
Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers shares the story of Davy Crockett's coonskin cap, now on view in Starring North Carolina! at the...
Alexander Calder's Gwenfritz on the day of its rededication On Halloween day, a gorgeous 40-foot-tall black specter...
Spitz Junior Planetarium
On November 17 and 18, I'll be in my backyard hoping for clear skies as the Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky. Here in the museum's...
Stubby the dog
Veterans Day is a time to commemorate the brave men and women who are serving or have served in the armed forces. However, the service of...
Peter Pan brand by the Northwest District Fruit Sales Company Inc. of Wenatchee, Washington
125 years ago this November (November 11, 1889, to be exact), President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation admitting Washington as the...
"A Room of Her Own" by Sandra Cisneros at the National Museum of American History
If you've ever confused Día de los Muertos with Halloween, you might be surprised to learn how very different these fall holidays are from...
Man with camera in military uniform
Using a camera taken from a German officer who had died in battle, Paul Bland documented his experiences across Normandy, Northern France,...
When one thinks of symbols or images of the Cold War, one might say nuclear missiles, Sputnik, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev's shoe...
15th century painting depicts hand cannons in action
The 620-year-old solid piece of iron is as heavy as it looks. Examining this brutally simple hand cannon, it's hard to imagine that...
North Korea is sometimes called The Hermit Kingdom due to the secretive nature of its government and its closed society. I never expected...
Small folder with red ribbon on black background
One of the most fascinating objects that came to my attention during my time as a Smithsonian postdoctoral research fellow is a rather...
After undergoing an extensive conservation process over the last year, the museum, along with colleagues at the Smithsonian American Art...
Recent news of state and local elected officials stepping up their campaigns for the 2014 November elections brings to mind the fascinating...
The presidential campaign of 1896 was an emotional one—and much of the political maneuvering may look familiar to voters today. A key...
Object Project interns Caitlin Kearney and Kamilah Stinnett explore the origins of packaged candy, a modern convenience that signaled...
"When witches go riding,and black cats are seen,the moon laughs and whispers,'tis near Halloween."- Author UnknownFrom the decorations in...
Alexander Calder's "Gwenfritz"
If you’ve ever visited the museum, you've likely passed by an enormous abstract sculpture called Gwenfritz. After undergoing a massive...
Even in the dimly lit gallery, it shimmers and demands attention. At just over three feet long, it features a silver grip, a deep burgundy...
paper dolls
Paper dolls will be a part of Object Project and its exploration of ready-to-wear clothing. It opens July 2015.Celebrities sit in...
Getting to know the museum's donors and council members is one of my favorite parts of being the manager of the Smithsonian Council for...
Skipping work and heading to the game is a tradition older than stadium lights and even center field fences. And that’s what...
On the right, the motorcycle parked in a driveway with a license plate that reads "Guatemala 1979-1983."
In museums, it's common for a single artifact to tell many diverse stories, far beyond the scope of any one exhibition. Christine Miranda,...
Mexican-style dress
Looking to discover Latino history during your museum visit this Hispanic Heritage Month? Christine Miranda, who interned with our Program...
Viewing fire engine
As a mom, I know the National Museum of American History is a great place to visit with kids. There is so much to see and do... which...
A teddy bear snow globe was my favorite souvenir from a family visit to the National Museum of American History. I've kept the memento...
Fall at the museum, exterior view
Enjoying pumpkin spice season? Museum Educator Sarah Erdman recommends bringing little ones to museums' grounds and gardens this time of...
Trying deodorant on arm
Intern Caitlin Kearney follows a 111-year-old deodorant recipe. For history!Over the summer, I've been doing research for a new hands-on...
design interns
Museum internships may be more varied than you expect. Intern Emma deVries shares experiences from behind-the-scenes, just in time for you...
Mustang on display
Museum educator Sarah Erdman makes your next museum visit with the family just a little more fun with tips on how to boost interactivity...
Fireworks display
Fort McHenry is hallowed ground in United States history. It is of course best known as the scene of a siege during the War of 1812, a...
Selena's outfit in the collection
Iconic cultural objects have the power to preserve beloved chapters of history long after they come to a close. As we approach the 20th...
Official U.S. citizens with their certificates in hand, waving their flags
Vanessa Chicas, an intern in the museum's Program in Latino History and Culture, reflects on the unique experience she had as a Smithsonian...
Ambrotype of the washerwoman for the Union Army, who has an American flag on her outfit
Today, many of our staff are participated in a global, Twitter-based Q&A called Ask a Curator Day. Here are a few of our favorite...
Celluloid button featuring the image of a three-link chain, symbol of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
It's morning in New Zealand, meaning the global, Twitter-based Q&A called Ask a Curator Day has already started. We'll begin answering...
Suzy Homemaker children's toy from 1950s-1960s, turquoise, with fake food inside
It was like Christmas morning in 1968 when our Suzy Homemaker toy refrigerator arrived at the museum (new in box, with original staples!)....
Word cloud of words visitor wrote in comments about 9/11 memories, the words "think" and "happen" are biggest
Visitors to the museum's 2011 commemorative event September 11: Remembrance and Reflection were invited to share their stories...
Julia Child's home kitchen, with its hundreds of tools, appliances, and furnishings
From the 2012 opening of the exhibition FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950–2000 to its upcoming FOOD in the Garden...
Camo coat
On the third anniversary of the death of Army Specialist Christopher Horton, Curator Kathleen Golden shares the story of his camouflage...
Civil War General Sherman in coat with buttons, seated, grim expression
On the 150th anniversary of the fall of the city of Atlanta to the Union Army's Division of the Mississippi during the Civil War, we're...
This September, we join Smithsonian Gardens in hosting our annual FOOD in the Garden series. We'll explore four maritime regions impacted...
Compilation record of Moon's recordings. Photo by Danny Lyon. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collection.
Fifty years after Freedom Summer, when students risked their lives to advance the cause of civil rights, intern Sydney Johnson explores...
Rock fragment labelled "Broken from the Mother Rock..."
Intrigued by a piece of charred wood in the museum's First Ladies exhibition, intern Auni Gelles explores the story behind this slice of...
White and blue tennis Dress, worn by Bille Jean King during the "Battle of the Sexes"
As objects representing Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning history enter the museum's collection today,...
A group of chefs in the kitchen
Fans and friends of Julia Child will pause today, as they do every year on August 15, to remember the beloved icon of American culinary...
Fogleman's vehicle registration
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business with the passage of the American steamship SS Ancon, which had...
Pottery Tile
One hundred and sixty years ago on August 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau published Walden, a transcendental tribute to solitude,...
Fifty years ago, mathematicians John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire introduced BASIC, a new language for...

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