Religion in America

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...
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 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-...
Detail of image: Black and white snapshot. A woman sits in a chair, her legs crossed and her hands on knee. She smiles, eyes closed and mouth open to show her teeth. She wears a smart suit with white collar. The man balances on one of the arms of the chair, gesturing toward her, also with a smile. He wears a suit and black/white shoes.
What does a world-famous musician put under the tree for the woman he loves . . . when he happens to be married to someone else?In the case...
Large hardcover book, mostly dark brown with gold-colored details.
What does religion sound like? Across the United States today, you can listen for it in the tolling of church bells, the Muslim call to...
Two black-and-white photos of anniversary celebrations
We had a remarkable response to our contest to help the museum select photos for its display celebrating the opening of the National Museum...
Image from stage showing multiple tiers of audience packed into the seats
Are you a Wagner fan? If so, you were likely excited by the Washington National Opera's presentation of The Ring of the Nibelungen, a cycle...
(Detail) Many people in formal outfits sit at a long table with a white tablecloth. A couple smiles, wearing silly hats, about to cut a cake. Behind them, 15 or 16 people stand on a raised platform or stage, smiling for the photo. Streamers and other decorations are visible on the ceiling. There are tall candles in candle holders on some of the tables.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
Broadside announcing mass meeting in Haymarket Square, 1886
This post is part two in a series. Part one traced how the holiday of May Day was revived in the United States by wealthy reformers who...
Miss Anna Jackson's May Day, 1942
May Day is a holiday that many Americans have celebrated, but relatively few can explain. Depending on your age, you might associate May 1...
Photo two nuns walk with a line of students. The girls, at the front of the line, wear white dresses and have headbands on. The boys, in the back of the line, wear blue suits. They're on a sidewalk outside a building.
Over the past few months, I have been cataloging a Catholic school uniform and related Catholic school material for the museum's education...
Color illustration showing many tall, white tents, a stage with a speaker, an audience of men and women. In the left side of the image, a woman tends a kettle on a fire.
For many, "the Second Great Awakening" is one of those historical terms from a dusty textbook that sounds vaguely familiar, but the details...
Case with objects inside
"In the United States associations are established to promote public order, commerce, industry, morality, and religion; for there is no end...
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...
"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...
Three wooden wise men
Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio, curator of Latino History and Culture in the Home and Community Life division, and intern Jonathan Borda...
This Thanksgiving marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Proclamation that established the national observance of the holiday....
black and white piece of art depicting families gathered in a cemetery with picnic baskets and candles at night
The smell of marigolds, the bright pink of fluffy tulle, and moments of quiet reflection. Curator Margaret Salazar-Porzio explores the Day...
Kit belonging to Assistant Surgeon Henderson
As an intern in the museum's Paper Conservation Lab, Greg Waters got to spend time with the diary of a surgeon in the Union Army. The...
Menorah with tiny Statues of Liberty on each candle holder plus eagle in center
 My family's menorahThe holiday season makes me think of boxes. Full of history, memories, and objects, boxes make great metaphors.In...
As a museum employee, I have come to appreciate the amount of work, time, and expense that goes into developing an exhibition. The current...
Editor's note: This blog is the fourth in a series of posts about the Jefferson bible conservation project.It is difficult to describe how...
I’ve now made half a dozen visits to Haiti over the past months, putting into place a Smithsonian effort to help Haitians save their...
In reality, the English dissidents on board the Mayflower called themselves “saints,” not “pilgrims,” and landed on a beach in Provincetown...
While many were planning their Halloween costumes, parties, and trick or treat routes, a few of us at the National Museum of American...