Have you heard? We have a new dress on exhibition. It's true. There has been an addition to the First Ladies exhibition. First Lady Melania...
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
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...

Blog

Photo of the Ruby Slippers on a yellow background
 Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and...
on top of a grey surface, two rows of Pokemon cards are laid out, side by side. There are energy and trainer cards along with cards related to individual Pokemon. Some cards are in Japanese. In the bottom center row is a booklet with instructions for playing the card game.
Every generation comes to define itself by the experiences it shares, whether tragic or blissful. Sometimes, a single entertainment...
A small, black, rectangular plastic device that looks like it could rest in the palm of a hand. In light grey text, it says "iBill" and "RBIT" on the top.
As the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), I collect objects that reflect innovation in money today in order to preserve...
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...
Photo of person standing on chair to escape mouse
For some creepy fun before Halloween, a tour of common phobias through our collections.1. The dark (nyctophobia)Perhaps most pervasive in...
A lithograph of a recipe for cheese and onion pie. The instructions are written in a calligraphic style and look more like a story than a recipe. There are illustrations of onions on the page with the text.
For this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, we're exploring the theme of "Politics on Your Plate," how people, collectively and...
A sign about Eggs. It says "give eggs a break!" at the top and has an illustration of an egg man that looks sort of evil in the middle. Someone threw a cookbook at his head and broke it but he didn't seem to notice.
In the postwar, pre-digital age, a long road trip often ended with piles of paper—maps, brochures, menus, postcards, scribbled notes,...
Costume on a faceless manikin includes pointed black hat tied with brown ribbon, white collar, burlap outfit, and hay pieces dangling.
Update: Your support has helped to make this project a reality! Our campaign to raise support to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers and our...
Movie camera in large apparatus with four small wheels.
Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display...
A photograph of a man in the garb of the 1860s. He rests his hand on a large globe on the ground as he stands and looks at something out of the right side of the frame. In his right hand he carries a rolled up paper.
I came to the Smithsonian in the summer of 1962, excited about the opportunity to apply my academic training in the history of science to...
This October 9, 1944, advertisement for Whitman's chocolate boxes shows a woman embracing a soldier in uniform kissing her cheek. On the bottom right is a box of Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler. The bold font reads, “A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS THE MAN WHO REMEMBERS,” and, “BUY MORE WAR BONDS.” In fine print below the box of chocolates reads, “If you can’t always get your favorite Sampler, remember it’s because millions of pounds of Whitman’s Chocolates are going to all our fighting fronts.”
"Do you like chocolate?" That's one of the first questions I ask museum visitors during a chocolate program I lead in the museum's Wallace...
A piece of tan-colored paper folded in half. One half is lying flat and the other is open facing the camera, like an open mouth. There are geometric drawings on the paper with strings attached. The top says "Relief e" with text below it in French.
If you frequent the object groups of the National Museum of American History online, you may have noticed a recent addition (group link at...
A little girl admires the Ruby Slippers in a display case
At a little past 11:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2016, you took us somewhere over the rainbow. With over 5,300 backers, our "Keep Them...
Pair of red shoes with sequins with yellow brick background
Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display...
Close-up photo of red sequins, cropped to a circle
Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display...
Picture of Harold Cotton, Hat Blocker by Harvey Wang. Harold Cotton cleans a fedora with a brush. A group of hat blocks sit in the foreground, and Cotton's diploma hangs on the wall behind him.
At 15 years old, Harold Cotton tucked his shoe shine box under his arm and walked to Jefferson Square in downtown Greensboro, North...
One of the Ruby Slippers, with a small heel and a beaded bow, covered in sequins, sits under a microscope.
Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display...
An black and white image of a building surrounded by smoke. People gather around it, many in hats and winter jackets. The full caption at the bottom of the picture reads "The Collinwood School, photographed while the fire still raged"
With the academic year in full swing, schools across the country are beginning their first rounds of fire drills. Remember those? As alarms...
Black and white photo of a balance. Two central arms hold a plate/tray on each side. The entire thing is in a cabinet that appears to open and close.
When you pay for a pound of chocolates, how do you know if you get a pound, no more and no less? Do you rely on the goodness of the market...
a black and white photograph of a woman in a cream colored dress with a draped skirt, laid on top of pieces of fabric of varied textures and colors
Even before the United States entered the First World War in 1917, procurement officers for the armed forces began to look for sources for...
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,...
Small, handmade car designed from cardboard pieces in red, white, and brown.
Rolling across the Potomac on any given Sunday morning in the late 1990s, you could probably find a white Volvo with my dad driving my...
Illustration for sheet music that says "Fair Hawaii" at the top in yellow text atop green palm trees. A woman in a lei and grass skirt sits in the center looking at a red, setting sun
In recent years, the ukulele, or jumping (lele) flea (‘uku) in Hawaiian, has received a renewed appeal. I've heard the instrument make...
Black and white illustration of Abraham Lincoln (bust)
As November 8 draws nearer, I have been thinking about what "electability" means for an American president. What makes someone look...
Girls in uniform sit around a table holding their certificates.
Moving to a new city is intimidating, particularly because most of your time is spent stumbling into familiarity. Guidance, trial, and...
The cover of a cookbook entitled "cooking with COLD." It is emerald green with an abstract illustration of a woman standing in front of a fridge, holding an ice cream cone, with two more in front of her and a jug.
The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project explores "everyday things that changed everything." One innovation that definitely...
Color photograph of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, taken from ground level with a perspective looking up. Light and puffy clouds streak across the sky. Green foliage in foreground.
Our next door neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opens on September 24, 2016, and our whole staff is...
Lafayette Escadrille pilot pin
Sunday, September 18, is the 69th birthday of the United States Air Force, which became a separate branch of service as part of the...
An illustration showing a cluster of figures. Neptune rides some sort of chariot pulled by four horse, with sea nymphs surrounding him and a cupid flying in the air. The scene is framed by pink ribbons saying "Neptune Hose Co.  Instituted August 6, 1805 and banners reading "To save out fellows we hazard ourselves"
Our fire engine has a secret message. For a few years now, this hand-pumped engine has been on display on the museum's first floor. For a...
A structure used as a sled. It has metal bars to support the legs and feet and a seat. Two wooden staffs that appear to be shortened hockey sticks are attached to either side.
Now that the 2016 Summer Olympic Games have come to a close, we can look forward to more gold-winning performances from Team USA at the...
Ask a Curator day graphic, yellow on blue background
Ask a Curator Day has begun! We're sharing some of our favorite questions and answers on Storify.In Part 1 of the Q&A, we answer...
A photograph of a circular interactive display showing the journey soybeans take around the world
Usually when I visit museums, I look at objects and read labels while skimming past interactives and video screens. This summer, however,...
A handwritten note hastily scrawled on a large rectangular yellow Post-it
In moments of crisis, our first thoughts are usually to get in contact with the people we love. September 11, 2001, was a day when many...
golden sign with red and bold lettering and an eagle holding a paper that says "V-MAIL"
"Oh happy day. Mail at last. Two from Jean and one from Mother. Sure was great to get them." Stationed on the island of Iwo Jima...
Cover of Mining Journal, 1897
Update: The project to transcribe our 1897 mining journal is now complete! Over 50 digital volunteers from 15 different countries...
A young girl stands behind a cake in a room full of seated children wearing party hats.
While scrolling through Facebook one day, Eunice was struck by a sudden memory. "I had a visceral reaction and thought, 'Oh my God!'" She...
A caricature of Jefferson Davis stands bawling with text, "Jeff, on Harper's Ferry. I should think I might be let alone. Boo-oo-oh"
While processing a collection of Civil War scrapbooks, I was surprised to find imagery that reminded me of today's internet memes. A meme...
Photo of a kitchen with light blue cabinets, a large rectangular dining table with marigold tablecloth, and lots of pots and pans.
Today we reflect on the legacy of Chef Michel Richard, who delighted generations of Washington, D.C., diners with his innovative and...
Julia Child and Pat Pratt in the kitchen in Cambridge, 1998. Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer.
To mark what would have been Julia Child’s 104th birthday on August 15, curator Paula Johnson shares new information on two works of art in...
Photograph of the Tucker sedan on display on the museum floor
Given an opportunity to suggest a landmark artifact outside the entrance to American Enterprise, the museum's new business history...
an envelope that reads "Morse's American Tele" from an office in Troy, NY. The paper is faded and has cursive writing on it.
During my 22 years in the military, before coming to work in the museum's Archives Center, I trained extensively for the possible...
Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton sits on a mat in a gym circled by children of various ages. She appears to be midsentence answering a question from a youth in front of her.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! The Olympics have arrived and it is time for us to send our most brilliant athletes to compete against their...
Silk with a pattern of the Grand Canyon. Bright orange, green, white and reds mimick the crags and dimensions of the famous natural canyon. The pattern goes in every direction to suggest rather than depict the Grand Canyon
Mallinson's Printed Pussywillow—This excellent quality is ideal for blouses, scarfs, and coat linings, offered in a large selection of...
Beer tray, about 1905, National Museum of American History
This spring, the museum announced a new initiative to collect, document, and preserve the history of brewing, brewers, and the beer...
Copper chocolate pot, 1740s–1760s
Hearing that Forrest Mars Jr. had passed away on July 26, 2016, put me in a sad but reflective mood. One of the giants of the chocolate...
young man wearing a jacket and a kilt seated upon a desk or similar furniture
Oh, sigh! Season two of Outlander (the show in which British World War II field nurse, Claire, slips through time and meets 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...

Pages