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...
In April 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May to be Jewish American Heritage Month. Jewish American objects in our collections...
Thanksgiving 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Proclamation that established the national observance of the holiday....

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Fireworks display
Fort McHenry is hallowed ground in United States history. It is of course best known as the scene of a siege during the War of 1812, a...
Selena's outfit in the collection
Iconic cultural objects have the power to preserve beloved chapters of history long after they come to a close. As we approach the 20th...
Official U.S. citizens with their certificates in hand, waving their flags
Vanessa Chicas, an intern in the museum's Program in Latino History and Culture, reflects on the unique experience she had as a Smithsonian...
Ambrotype of the washerwoman for the Union Army, who has an American flag on her outfit
Today, many of our staff are participated in a global, Twitter-based Q&A called Ask a Curator Day. Here are a few of our favorite...
Celluloid button featuring the image of a three-link chain, symbol of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
It's morning in New Zealand, meaning the global, Twitter-based Q&A called Ask a Curator Day has already started. We'll begin answering...
Suzy Homemaker children's toy from 1950s-1960s, turquoise, with fake food inside
It was like Christmas morning in 1968 when our Suzy Homemaker toy refrigerator arrived at the museum (new in box, with original staples!)....
Word cloud of words visitor wrote in comments about 9/11 memories, the words "think" and "happen" are biggest
Visitors to the museum's 2011 commemorative event September 11: Remembrance and Reflection were invited to share their stories...
Julia Child's home kitchen, with its hundreds of tools, appliances, and furnishings
From the 2012 opening of the exhibition FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950–2000 to its upcoming FOOD in the Garden...
Camo coat
On the third anniversary of the death of Army Specialist Christopher Horton, Curator Kathleen Golden shares the story of his camouflage...
Civil War General Sherman in coat with buttons, seated, grim expression
On the 150th anniversary of the fall of the city of Atlanta to the Union Army's Division of the Mississippi during the Civil War, we're...
This September, we join Smithsonian Gardens in hosting our annual FOOD in the Garden series. We'll explore four maritime regions impacted...
Compilation record of Moon's recordings. Photo by Danny Lyon. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collection.
Fifty years after Freedom Summer, when students risked their lives to advance the cause of civil rights, intern Sydney Johnson explores...
Rock fragment labelled "Broken from the Mother Rock..."
Intrigued by a piece of charred wood in the museum's First Ladies exhibition, intern Auni Gelles explores the story behind this slice of...
White and blue tennis Dress, worn by Bille Jean King during the "Battle of the Sexes"
As objects representing Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning history enter the museum's collection today,...
A group of chefs in the kitchen
Fans and friends of Julia Child will pause today, as they do every year on August 15, to remember the beloved icon of American culinary...
Fogleman's vehicle registration
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business with the passage of the American steamship SS Ancon, which had...
A square object depicting trees in front of a lake with mountains in the background and a turquoise sky. The edges are very white and distinct.
One hundred and sixty years ago on August 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau published Walden, a transcendental tribute to solitude,...
Cartoon designed cover of BASIC book on computer games
Fifty years ago, mathematicians John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire introduced BASIC, a new language for...
An advertisement for Kinney Bros
In honor of the running of the Hambletonian Stakes, a major event in American Harness Racing, on August 2, intern and equestrian Ariel...
Cover of sheet music
With Confederate troops looming just outside of Washington, D.C., July 1864 was an exciting and scary time to be a nurse in the city....
A family under the Smithsonian Castle doorway
This post continues the story of Civil War nurse Amanda Akin, which began in Part I.The chapel for Armory Square Hospital where Akin...
A gold belt buck with "US" on it is seen in close-up through other costume elements
Watching this year's Academy Award-winning movie 12 Years a Slave compelled me to think about my internship research on objects...
Jimmy Carter's FFA jacket, front and back
What do a former U.S. president, a spotted hog raiser, two former teachers, and a librarian have in common? They're all FFA (formerly known...
In a black-and-white photo, a child prunes a cotton plant
We recently asked for your help in collecting an FFA (Future Farmers of America) jacket with a great personal story—and you came through!...
A vintage ad features monkeys in human clothing
Although many of the products that Americans consume today would have been unimaginable to our forebears, the means by which they are...
Educator Victoria Altman introduces a new book-based summer activity to share with youngsters, especially budding entrepreneurs.Most...
One woman looks at Abraham Lincoln's wedge tool while another holds it
Individual Giving Associate Lauren Collette spotlights museum member Shirley Loo. Loo grew up in Hawaii and didn't visit the Smithsonian...
A pair of black and dark green field glasses
Curator Deborah Warner's research on a valuable accessory may reveal a connection to President Abraham Lincoln's assassin. This...
Female staff member wearing blue gloves prepares to remove a brown Girl Scout uniform from an exhibition case
Why don't our exhibitions last forever? Where do they go when we take them down? Intern Elisabeth Warsinske reports on the afterlife of a...
As staff of the National Museum of American History, we're often told that we have "the coolest jobs." We know we're lucky! But what's it...
War of 1812 re-enactors in white and blue uniforms fire a canon in front of the museum
On Flag Day 2014, the museum kicked off bicentennial commemorations of a great American symbol—Francis Scott Key's song, "The Star-Spangled...
Museum staff and students look at a National History Day project on a large board
Manager of Youth and Teacher Programs Naomi Coquillon shares the inside scoop on National History Day at the museum.On one wonderful day...
"The Star-Spangled Banner" song turns 200 this year. As part of her work on the upcoming Smithsonian Channel film A Star-Spangled...
Handwritten manuscript by Francis Scott Key, on yellowed paper
You may not have heard of Baltimore's Indian Queen Hotel, but it plays an important role in the story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" song....
At the Super Bowl, Renee Fleming prepares to sing in a black and white dress
As part of our blog series about the Star-Spangled Banner leading up to Raise It Up! Anthem for America on Flag Day 2014, curator...
In this 1911 postcard created by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the stars on the flag represent states that have voted for suffrage.
Hat on or off? Right or left hand? What if it gets dirty? These are some typical questions people have about customs and rules surrounding...
Here in the museum's Division of Medicine and Science, we're undertaking an inventory of the museum's dental collection, and we discovered...
Red, white, and blue food (puddings, candies, lollipops) displayed on a table
A friend of mine is getting married this year on June 14. When she told me, I got really excited. "You're getting married on Flag Day?!...
Flag in dark room at angle
The Star-Spangled Banner is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States. Huge, vibrant, and rich in history, most Americans are...
Needles, scissors, pins, and chatelaine from the, early 1800s, of the type Pickersgill and her assistants would have used to make the flag.
Two hundred years ago, an African American girl made history—literally. She was an indentured servant named Grace Wisher in the household...
This watercolor by Akio Ujihara depicts snowy Manzanar War Relocation Center in California
As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Project Assistant Christy Wallover shares three meaningful objects from the museum's...
This summer, we're celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner with Raise It Up! Anthem for America. On Flag Day,...
A curly blond wig with short hair
You may love the Marx Brothers' Horsefeathers, Duck Soup, and Animal Crackers, but did you know the comedy group was once...
24 members of Future Farmers of America sit with their backs turned to the camera to show off their logo jackets
Note: the jacket search is complete. Thank you for sharing your love of youth agricultural education with us. See this post to learn about...
On the left, a 1966 Ford Mustang (yellow). On the right, a young man holding keys. Photo is from 1970s.
In the early 1960s, activists, professionals, and idealists changed America, making headlines and history. In 1964, the year of the New...
Man and woman in historic Abercrombie & Fitch camping and fishing outfits
Abercrombie & Fitch might be best known today for its teen casual clothing and risqué window displays. But the company was once the go-...
Memorabilia and awards from the FFA
If you were a member of FFA, 4-H, or other agricultural education program as a kid, you know just how powerful these experiences can be....
US postage stamp including two flags and the face of Francis Scott Key
Our National Anthem. It's a song that, in this writer's opinion, says much of what you need to know about the United States of America. It...

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