American Culture

These are our most fascinating blog posts of 2018, according to our readers.When FBI agents showed up with a pair of sparkly, red shoesA...
Sesame Street was an innovative and radical children's television program when it premiered in 1969. In the 1960s, many parents were...
Signed baseball
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" – Satchel PaigeWith a professional baseball career spanning the jazz age to the...
Music blasts toward the audience as concertgoers dance to Steve Aoki's pounding bass rhythms and bright LED displays. The DJ throws cakes...
Today, the Washington Senators are most remembered for their ability to finish in last place. Despite their successful early history marked...
Photo of Jose Feliciano playing guitar at Smithsonian
José Feliciano will remain forever celebrated for his perennial Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad," one of his many hit recordings that have...
A book of poetry
Curators at the National Museum of American History often rely on scholars in the field to illuminate new areas of collection and research...
Pair of Ruby Slippers with red sequins and bows, very sparkly but worn
Dawn Wallace and Richard Barden stood in the museum's objects conservation lab over two shoes. Red. Sequin-covered. Small heels. Petite in...
Musical inspiration abounds in the collections and exhibitions around us. As interns in the Making American Music project, we get to follow...
Photo of album cover featuring Aretha Franklin shown in four reflections with stained glass background
Today we're reflecting on the life of singer, songwriter, diva, civil rights activist, and cultural icon Aretha Franklin. Over 100 of...
Sheet music cover, 'Get off the track!'
Turn right at the Batmobile. Take the elevator behind the John Bull locomotive. If you hit Julia Child's kitchen, you've gone too far. My...
Blue book with photos of show cast and text: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
The final episode of “M*A*S*H” was co-written with eight collaborators and directed by star Alan Alda.Despite the photo ops and historic...
License plate showing Disney characters and bicentennial years, 1776 and 1976
The month of July plays host to the birthdays of both the United States of America (July 4, 1776) and Disneyland (July 17, 1955). This is...
Detail of baseball program with illustration of FDR
All-Star Games of years past that were played in Washington were full of history: the historic arrival of a president, the effective end of...
An illustration showing crowds of well-dressed people gathering beside their seats in Madison Square Garden, as well as crowds approaching the building from the outside
Piano manufacturer William Steinway kept a diary from 1861 to 1896. It resides in the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center...
Hawkeye’s corduroy bathrobe looks purple in real life, but comes across as red on camera.The chronically jet-lagged actor Alan Alda got...
A yellowed page with black text announcing the "Grand Concert in aid of the Russian Jewish Refugees"
The arts are "a space where we can give dignity to others while interrogating our own circumstances," Darren Walker, president of the...
Bronze Abraham Lincoln life mask on white background
What is it about Abraham Lincoln and vampires? When Seth Grahame-Smith published his action/horror mash-up novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire...
Production drawings from Steamboat Willie show Mickey Mouse pulling on a string, tumbling on a bar of soap, and a wheel
It is hard to believe, but Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 90th birthday this year. For an old mouse, he still looks pretty spry! One of...
A white doily with blue embroidery.
Embroidery by the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework is beautiful . . . but that's just the beginning of the story. These...
Patch with character of Fifinella—a winged woman wearing goggles, frozen mid-jump
On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II. The very next day U.S. Army troops...
Norman Granz and Ella Fitzgerald stand side-by-side in front of a microphone
A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
Woodcut showing figures playing baseball
She found symmetry in baseball. She made a triptych celebrating American agriculture. Her portraits featured the work of human hands, her...
A blue vase with art nouveau style flowers around the lip.
I didn't drool on the objects, but exploring the ceramics storage room as an intern at the National Museum of American History was pretty...
Mail cache decorated with illustration showing a sled dog team from the perspective of a musher
In this social media world of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, everyone has heard of email (and even those of us who aren’t tech savvy...
Two Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders uniforms, complete with blue and white tops and shorts, decorated with stars
In 1976, I was an 11-year-old girl who had always wanted to be a cheerleader, and the only part of Super Bowl X that caught my attention...
Jean Stapleton stands at a podium addressing the crowd wearing a banner that says "Honored." A sign behind her reads: "ERA Yes"
February 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of  the professional debut of Jean Stapleton (1923 to 2013) at the Equity Library Theater in...
Gold shiny dress with v-neck, silver circles in chest area, and flowy skirt.
As a kid and as a parent, I am all too familiar with the concept of hand-me-down clothes, the cost-cutting practice of wearing already "...
A green three piece suit, white tights, and black buckle shoes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical turned international attention to the story of founding...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...

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