In 1926 seven-year-old Belema Siegfried was turned away from school. The reason? Her parents had refused to submit paperwork proving that...
Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the...
At the height of the Cold War, Soviet and American scientists and physicians united to call for a new and very different war—one on...

Blog

Black and white photo of building
Guest blogger Sarah Weatherwax, a photography curator at the Library Company of Philadelphia, brings her expertise to bear on several...
Black and white photo of building surrounded by trees
Guest blogger Sarah Weatherwax, a photography curator at the Library Company of Philadelphia, brings her expertise to bear on several...
Photo of a concert on the museum's stage
Now that the first floor of our West Wing is open, I was curious what the head of our museum, Elizabeth MacMillan Director John Gray,...
Photo of round, wooden table
You've just won voting rights for the women of America. What do you do next? Go to the Smithsonian!The women of The National American Woman...
Titled sign, knocked over half way. Blue circular sign with arrow saying "HURRICANE EVACUATION ROUTE." Below that is square sign with AM FM radio stations for information. There is a dirty plastic bag on the ground.
Late curator David Shayt of the museum's Work and Industry division once said, "All museum work in one form or another is digging in the...
Photo of coin with swirly-bodied dragon thing in center
Ever wonder what it feels like to discover an object not seen for over 1,000 years? Ever been curious about the ancient world? Beginning...
Square shaped lace example, white on black background
"War" and "lace" are not often part of the same sentence. However, laces made in Belgium during World War I are an exception. About 50 of...
Black and white photo of two dancers, barefoot, wearing black pants. Feet, limbs intertwine.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
A photograph of the exhibition's Merchant Era section, featuring a red river cart
How appropriate that the day after a story describing the work culture at Amazon made national news, the Wall Street Journal published...
Dog look at camera, mouth open
In September 2012, I wrote a blog post about a contract working dog, Fausto, and his handler Jimmy Moore. We were introduced to...
Green pocketbook
In the colonial era, a certain type of pocketbook was all the rage from 1740 to 1790. Both women and men used them to carry valuables such...
1930s entrée salad molds, metallic containers with decorative designs on black background
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project is a new learning space that explores "everyday things that changed everything."...
Microscope, bronze in color, on small tripod. Small glass in viewer.
"Whoever at the seaside has not had a microscope and an aquarium has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the seaside are." So said...
Photo of bicycle
An 1896 women's safety bicycle, currently on view in the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, has proven to be one of the...
Woman leans over table with white covering and flag in many pieces
In our textile conservation lab, the final pieces of a million piece jigsaw puzzle have just been put into place. The "puzzle" in question...
Photograph, circa 1958, of four young African American women standing beside a convertible automobile
Beginning in the 1920s, widespread car ownership opened new opportunities to travel independently and explore. For black Americans, the...
Woman sitting on couch with turquoise fabric in her lap, holding some of its folds. Smiling. Gray couch, bookshelf in background.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Lobster on a plate
Our American Food History Project recently introduced Food Fridays, a new cooking demonstration series on the Wallace H...
Yellow bike with front and back baskets leans against a worn white wall, in the grass.
Junius Wilson's history has been told in newspapers, books, and even in this museum's exhibitions. It is the history of a man who had more...
Collage of four ADA buttons described in this blog post
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Black and white portrait of man in military uniform with two sleeves pinned up.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Power wheel chair with "yes!" bumper sticker on side
Over on Twitter, a lot of people are engaged in #DisabilityStories, an international conversation about disability art, culture,...
Black and white photo from street level looking up at two feet in wheel chair and a high curb.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Black and white photo of small, two-story house with balcony and porch. Approx. 20 soldiers in uniform sit and stand outside the house.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
“I can’t even get to the back of the bus”; ADAPT activists protesting for accessible transportation, Philadelphia, 1990
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
3D model of Mt. Vernon with red roof, white walls, green grass. Many columns and windows.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Yellow button with text saying in capitalized letters "Handicapped Human Rights: Sign 504 ACCD" in bold text.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Blue #DisabilityStories logo with pointing hand symbol and the date July 15, 2015
Update: #DisabilityStories was a success! Read the summary.Here's one reason I love my job: I get to read the museum's blog posts before...
Large tube-shaped machine with six legs on rolling wheels. Blue in color with small windows.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
19th Century Spherometer
You have an object that is curved and you want to know how round it is. How would you measure it? This may seem like a rather strange...
Violet postage stamp featuring portrait of Patrick Henry, with a simple frame around edge
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
View of Smithsonian Castle, 1863
Where does creativity reside? The first place we think of is the mind. But what role do surroundings play in the ideas behind invention and...
Circular white button with bold, capitalized text saying "I [heart symbol] ADA"
Activist Justin Dart, Jr. called it a "commandment." Some people think of it as a tangle of regulations, standards, and guidelines. Above...
Black and white portrait of bearded young-ish man from shoulders up, looking left.
In the last days of February 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made his way from his home in Boston to Washington, D.C. Bell's patent attorney...
Photo of display case that says "Consumer Era 1940s-1970s" featuring historic objects. One sign on display says "Sorry! Last car in this line."
On July 1, 2015, we will open a new exhibition: American Enterprise, in the Mars Hall of American Business. It is the...
Consul the Educated Monkey, Smithsonian image AHB2015r00132. Gift of Richard Lodish.
Educator Richard Lodish has just given the museum an example of a computing device called Consul the Educated Monkey. This is one of the...
Document listing radio stations
Independence Day is often celebrated with picnics, parades, fireworks, and music. While I can't help with the first three, music is...
Black and white photo of people of all ages exiting through a door, some holding programs. Signage advertises upcoming concerts and shows.
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation's Places of Invention explores what happens when the right mix of...
For portraits of man seated in chair, wearing jacket and bowtie
On June 23, 1865, 150 years ago, the last Confederate general surrendered his arms at Doaksville, Oklahoma, near Fort Towson. Confederate...
Pick pack in circle shape
It's often said that necessity is the mother of invention, but it can be the father of invention too. Here’s the story of an innovative...
Photo of the scultpure featured in the Business of Slavery section
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and issued General Orders, Number 3, which proclaimed that all...
Orange juice cans
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project is a new interactive learning space opening on July 1. Here, we're highlighting...
Happy money, front and back
When considering the origins of objects in a museum’s collection, one might initially think of donations from private collectors, national...
D.C.-area musicians Little Benny on saxophone and and MeShell Ndegeocello on bass. Photograph by Thomas Sayers Ellis, used with permission.
Experience live go-go music on Thursday, June 11, 2015, as part of our America Now! Music Festival.In the early 1970s, musical pioneer...
3 guitar heads
Happy 100th Birthday, Les Paul!June 9, 2015, is an important day for the guitar and music world: It is the centennial of the birth of...
When you combine the right people and a mix of useful resources in a special place, invention and innovation often result. Here at the...
Milling machine with cranks and gears and four feet, table sized
Having worked at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation for seven years, I see invention and innovation...
Photograph of an America Online installation disk, 1990s
On June 11, 2015, we present America Now, a nationwide celebration of America's innovative spirit. As part of the day's festivities,...

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