The Nation We Build Together

Natalia Flores’s pink quinceañera gown
Light pink and very full, the organza and tulle gown took up a major portion of the sofa. Beside it, Natalia had placed her glittery high...
A black plaster bust of George III depicts the king with an engaged expression, complete with open eyes and an open mouth. The bust’s base is inscribed with the latin phrase “pater patriae,” loosely translated as “Father of the Country.”
Several decades after the American Revolution, George had come to be known to many of his countrymen as “pater patriae,” or “the father of...
Rectangular piece of tile with geometric shapes in various colors: black, white, red, yellow, and pink
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. In Part 1 of this...
Weathered top hat
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. Though the nation...
A dried rose
Collecting souvenirs is often part of happy times in our lives. Who among us doesn’t have a shelf with a shell picked up on the beach, a...
Mourning card for Abraham Lincoln that includes excerpts from his second inaugural address. The text is written on a white design made to look like a decorated altar.
When you think about it, funerals and other major life events are not all that different—well, aside from the obvious, that generally...
Last moments of famous people fascinate us. Perhaps as a holdover of the Victorian notion of “making a good death” as a way to ensure...
Commemorative ribbon decorated with a golden eagle, the U.S. flag, and a circular seal depicting Columbus’s arrival in the New World, complete with the text “Landing of Columbus.” At the bottom of the ribon is the following text: National Public School
Since October 1892, countless schoolchildren across the nation have begun their school day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a daily...
Gold locket with black onyx stones along its border and brown hair embedded in the center under glass.
Just in time for Halloween, your favorite collections managers from the Division of Political History bring you a new blog series: "Death...
Photograph of lunch counter with four chairs
"I walked away with an attitude that, if our country is screwed up, don't give up. Unscrew it, but don't give up."   ...
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...
A statue or object resembling the statue of Liberty. The robe and crown are a mint green color and The statue holds an apple up. There are more in a container she holds at her side. She has dark hair and olive brown skin.
On June 17, 1885, a French ship, the Isère, arrived in New York Harbor laden with very special cargo—more than 200 crates filled with...
A lobby with glass cases of objects and a stairway. The ceiling is a lurid red. In the center is a lego statue resembling the statue of liberty, resting on a large rectangular display with short glass walls surrounding it that have signage on it.
As the museum's social media manager, I get to see many snapshots our visitors share on social media while they're here. Frequently...
Illustrated advertisement for brewing companies. The design features illustrations of brown glass bottles, a cup, and lots of fancy scroll work as well as a red wax seal featuring a beer.
Getting to know just under two million objects, almost 17,000 cubic feet of archives, and around 140 curatorial and collections staff is a...
The tails side of a standard quarter. It is a Puerto Rico quarter, with a bay and flowers and the year 2009
What do Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, legendary baseball player Roberto Clemente, salsa icon Tito Puente, actor Raúl Juliá, and...
Photograph of a fish bowl with white gravel in the bottom, a small Christmas tree decoration, and a poinsettia flower (plastic) on top.
As the fanfare leading up to the 2017 inauguration swirls around the Smithsonian and Washington, D.C., at large, I cannot help but think...
A red program for an inauguration with the statue of liberty and a golden star in the center
On January 20, when he delivers the 58th inaugural address, Donald Trump will join a long line of orators inspired by George Washington....
Black and white illustration on beige paper, showing portrait of man wearing suit and black tie with mustache and a stern/serious face. He is partially bald.
The 2016 presidential election brought renewed discussion about the way Americans vote for presidential electors, those who will then cast...
A silver coin with a woman's likeness on the front. Reads "Liberty" at the top and "1979"
Recently there has been a significant debate about how and where to feature a woman on United States currency. In April 2016, Secretary of...
a 4-wheeled, covered wagon with messages of suffrage and equal rights painted on the side
As both a young woman casting my vote in my first presidential election and the founder of College Students for Bernie, I came to the...
A print showing a group of men by the ballot box. One man is holding some papers in his hands while the man across from him had his arm raised, appearing to be on the verge of hitting something. The men wear top hats and there is text at the bottom that explains a conflict between voters about who they would want to vote for.
As we near Election Day, political cartoons are inescapable. Satirical cartoons continue a tradition of political printmaking that has been...
A white campaign button that has a portrait of a man looking to the viewer's left on it with "Bryan" underneath. Around the edges reads: "No crown of thorns. / No cross of gold."
Many writers have suggested that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an allegory for late 19th-century American Populism. (...
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...
A group of young women in white, button up, short sleeved shirts stands and kneels for the photograph. In the middle of the back row there is a man with a serious expression. The young woman kneeling in the center is holding a baseball bat.
On February 20, 2016, former Smithsonian fellow Mark Ocegueda, currently a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California,...
Yellow scrap of fabric in a frame. Pencil writing on fabric.
This rectangle of yellow cloth is small, only seven by nine inches, but it tells a much larger story. It begins in January 1917, when the...
White hat with blue ribbon and black and white photo of John F. Kennedy smiling
Scrolling through social media or watching on TV, you can't miss the pageantry accompanying national political conventions. The bright...
Gold medal with portrait of a man's face. He wears a helmet and stares past the viewer. Behind him, other soldiers in uniforms and helmets hold guns in a tactical position.
As the rain clouds began to blow out to sea over the fortress of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, I looked out over the crowd of...
A pair of children in period clothing stand next to a clapboard house
In 1962 Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had...
An old woman, a young woman, a girl and a baby sitting in the living room of an 1860s home
Have you ever been to a bake sale? Or perhaps a craft fair or auction for charity? What about a raffle for charity with a beautiful quilt...
(Detail) Black and white photo of gathering in center of camp with buildings in background. Boy Scouts line up while community watches. In background, high mountains with snow on top.
Here at the museum, we're busy preparing for this year's National Youth Summit. The program is an interactive webcast event...
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...
Museum case containing woman's gown, marble bust, nurse's cap, and small painting. Each item has a label.
America Participates is the museum's 2016 theme: But what does "participation" actually look like? We interviewed David Allison, director...
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...
Black and white photo of seven men. Each carries a lander with a circular handle and wears a matching hat and cape-like uniform in shiny fabric. They face the camera.
During the 19th century, politics were central to social life, to the point where affiliation with a political party included actual ...
Margarita machine
Why is this homely little brown box, with its sign that identifies it as the "World's First Margarita Machine," living at the Smithsonian?...