The first appearance of the "battlefield cross" is a matter of conjecture. It might have been during the Civil War, to signify a dead...
On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act that made Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" the...
We know you're curious. A Civil War military history researcher explains where Memorial Day celebrations came from.Decoration Day...

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Dole pineapple ad in very saturated color with can, fruit, and ukulele
The ‘ukulele, or ukulele, as it's spelled in American English ("uke" for short), is one of the first things that many people associate with...
Installation of the vault door
Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection and The Value of Money. She explains why visitors will enter...
Portrait of Caroline Jones at the start of her career as an advertising executive
A fedora, Lucky Strike cigarettes, and a set of cocktail-ready tumblers: all the hallmarks of a 1960s ad agency were on display Thursday...
Musical device with Dolby system
"'I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.'"'All right,' said the Cat; and this time it...
Photograph of the museum's exterior
The museum is excited to be opening its transformed first floor of the west wing this summer, including the Patrick F. Taylor...
Microscope
In the store-rooms of the museum, we recently discovered a small microscope made around 1750. The "I. CUFF Londini Inv. & Fec."...
Chair made of 50 yellow pencils
The humble chair has long been the subject of invention and reinvention. From reclining and office chairs to today's ever-shrinking airline...
The Cycle Parade March sheet music
It's that time of year when many D.C. commuters forgo their usual Metro rides and haul their bicycles out of storage or rent a bikeshare...
Kubla Khan Chicken Chop Suey
In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, archivist Cathy Keen explores how a Chinese-American entrepreneur helped introduce new...
One hundred years ago on May 7, 1915, the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,195...
Supermarket sushi bar
Our upcoming American History After Hours event on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, is all about the history of sushi in America, a story...
Victorian trade card advertising Tabasco sauce, 1900
Object Project new media assistant Caitlin Kearney explores the history behind how American soldiers have used Tabasco sauce to spice...
1920s icebox
If you haven't done your spring cleaning yet, think about starting with the fridge. Thanks to electric refrigeration, we're able to store...
Detail crop of Neiman's "Big Band" painting
Can't tell your Dizzys from your Dukes? Whether you're new to jazz, or just looking for a quick and easy way to remember jazz history's...
Pres. Johnson dressed as super hero
Last year marked the fiftieth anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson declaring what would come to be known as the War on Poverty. In...
Pin with child's face and "I gave my tooth to science"
Who collects baby teeth? Most of us would say "the Tooth Fairy." But in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Tooth Fairy had a competitor in both...
Detail image of LeRoy Neiman's "Big Band" painting, featuring 3 of the jazz artists
When serious jazz fans namedrop their favorite musicians (and their copious nicknames), it can be a bit intimidating for those of us who...
A historic record
What do you do after recovering sound from 130-year old recordings? For the museum, the next step was trying to understand that sound. In...
Soldier sits posed in grass with fellow soldiers, wearing uniform and looking at camera
In 1922, four years after her American son was killed in action in World War I, Sallie Maxwell Bennett received a letter from Emil...
Students show off their letters on a bulletin board
My main memory as a fourth grader in 1972-73 was playing "Little Willy" by The Sweet on the classroom's record player while waiting...
Lincoln's hat
April 15 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Across the country, there will be numerous remembrances and...
Thursday, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. In recognition of this...
Photo of Pat Murphy's Chicken House by Ansel Adams
In getting ready for our next American History After Hours event, we've been looking at the history behind America's love of...
An early self-portrait of inventor and businessman Robert Cornelius, taken in 1839. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
We often rely on our colleagues who have expertise in specific areas to guide us in our selection of objects for the American Enterprise...
"America" airplane and two men beside it
Ya just never know what you will be offered at the National Museum of American History!A few weeks ago, I accepted a small collection of...
Detail of image: two men with camera and hats
Boston-area photographer George K. Warren, with studios variously in Lowell, Cambridge, and Boston, started as a daguerreotypist in the...
Roy Rogers and Trigger yo-yo, yellow and red
April Fool's! It is not Yo-yo Heritage Month, so we unfortunately will not be sharing yo-yo facts all month. But...
Watercolor of Strayhorn in progress
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), with a variety of events and programs throughout the museum and country designed to...
Midwife tools
In 1931, the documentary The Forgotten Frontier asked, "Do you know that America is still a frontier country for about fifteen...
Teachers look at historic books
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of A. James Clark, the driving force behind Clark Construction Group, LLC. The story...
Curator preparing “Abigail” doll for display in the “American Enterprise” exhibition.
A small, 11" cloth doll might seem like an incongruous object for discussing the issues of the American Great Depression. Yet enduring the...
Watercolor image of woman with red flowers
During the 1890s, just about any flat surface in the public eye might be covered with simple, bold, and colorful posters. They advertised...
Baseball players group photo
The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain...
Jefferson's Bible, open
What was the significance of religion in the early history of the United States? In the summer of 2017, we will open a new exhibition...
Detail of belt
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, staff members have selected four objects that reveal facets of the Irish American experience.Dan Gifford,...
In 1897, at the age of 22, Henry Lyman Saÿen's career in scientific instruments seemed to be set. Little did he know that his talents would...
Two women wearing hats in WWI photo
The scream of incoming shells would send French peasant women dashing to their cellars for safety, but then they would pick their...
Campaign badge with a photo of Grant and gold-colored frame
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Chelsea Hansen has been working with General Ulysses S. Grant's collection of...
Six different Square readers, white
As new monetary technologies emerge, how are they changing the way individuals and small businesses make transactions? Collections Manager...
Apparatus
February 27, 2015, marks the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the radioactive carbon isotope, carbon-14, by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben...
Alyea in lab with mechanism
I'm willing to bet most people would agree that hearing some of the earliest recorded sound is pretty cool. But what exactly makes it so...
Measles sign
In 1904 C. A. Lindsley, the secretary of the Connecticut State Board of Health, complained that "measles is still prevailing in an epidemic...
Blue poster announcing year of innovation
Do you ever wonder how your National Museum of American History conceptualizes and then creates the exhibitions and programs that so many...
Touring Ralph's workshop
I love being around inventors. I love the quality of their imaginations, but most of all, I love the kind of people they are, their...
Etching of Dr. Craver
Several years ago, the museum acquired this striking portrait of Dr. George Washington Carver, the famous African American scientist and...
Valentine card with phone lines
Sending warm and fuzzies to a special someone this Valentine's Day? If you're not able to convey your affections in person, you'll probably...
G. Yamazawa
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the imprisonment of 120,000 Americans of...
Illustration of two grebes
Happy National Bird-Feeding Month! While this perhaps escaped your attention as a major milestone on the calendar of holidays and...

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