Dawn Wallace and Richard Barden stood in the museum's objects conservation lab over two shoes. Red. Sequin-covered. Small heels. Petite in...
In my first week as a curator at the National Museum of American History, I made a list of women I wished were present in the museum's...
Over the past two years, the museum's business history curator, Dr. Kathleen Franz, has been collecting a wide range of materials related...

Blog

When I was a teenager, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” was one of the few TV shows my family could agree to watch together. Perhaps...
A loyal blog reader recently suggested that we record all of our Meet Our Museum programs for podcasting. It’s a...
I am fundamentally a shy person. As a child, I would hide from my tiny, adorable, very friendly grandmother because the three people in my...
If you’re on Facebook, chances are you were one of the 5 million+ people who shared their oddball habits and remarkable personal...
When you approach the museum’s Stars and Stripes Cafe, you may hear blood-curdling screams. It’s not the food—really! The museum recently...
I had the chocolate symposium (held a few weeks ago at the museum) and Women’s History Month on my mind when I came...
March 28th is the 30th anniversary of America’s worst accident at a civilian nuclear power plant: the melting of half the fuel in one of...
In a memo released by the White House on January 21, President Obama charged government agencies to open up their virtual doors...
Forty-two. That’s the number of babies my mother delivered during her short career as a medical doctor during the 1950s. It was a time when...
Like many of you, I love the idea of inanimate objects having a secret life. The people leave, the lights go out, the door closes and then...
One of my first tasks as a new intern in the photographic history department was to research and write about Stanhopes—what they are, where...
This is an exciting time to be a museum Web practitioner. Since its inception, the Web has been a great way for us and other museums to...
During these seemingly endless, frigid days it is easy to pass by the Victory Garden outside of the museum’s Stars &...
Like millions of people who watched or listened to We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on January...
Inside of Abraham Lincoln's watches reveals both its inner workings and engravings, including ""April 13, 1861 Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date J Dillon April 13, 1861 Washington" and "thank God we have a government Jonth Dillon."
A hush fell over the room as the watchmaker halted his work. A partially-dismantled pocket watch that once belonged to President Abraham...
Were we to judge by images alone, invention has been a man’s world, and only a man’s world. The title of one of the iconic paintings of...
Last month was exciting for the Photographic History Collection. I participated in the Smithsonian’s first online education...
As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, let’s not forget to honor the contributions that women have made to improving the...
“Tell me what YOU did at the Museum today!”  Every evening, my husband and I exchange information about our activities at our...
How do you make a 600-seat cafe feel like home? You put Dolores Pierre on the floor as an “attendant” and she immediately transforms the...
If you’ve been to the new exhibition First Ladies at the Smithsonian, you may have found yourself asking: Where are all the other...
Do you sing in the shower? I do. And I can tell you that I don’t sound anything like Jennifer Hudson at the Superbowl. But maybe you do. Or...
It recently came to my attention that our museum is included, under a vaguely masked name, in the video game Fallout 3. The game is set in...
With all the recent news coverage, pretty much everyone knows that today is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. As you would...
Being nosy makes me better at my job. I’m not talking about being a snoop or the office gossip. I’m talking about turning my curious nature...
Recently I took part in a “Smithsonian 2.0” conference about the future of the Smithsonian’s digital presence. In attendance were many of...
I can’t wait to see what Barack Obama does to fulfill his campaign pledge to spur innovation and improve American competitiveness in...
2008 was a banner year for the museum. Literally. The creation of a new permanent home for the Star-Spangled Banner—the flag that inspired...
My alarm woke me up early on Inauguration Day, and like many others in Washington I padded down the hall and made my way downstairs for...
Wow. On Inauguration Day they came to Washington to witness history being made, and we thought we’d planned it all. We knew that Tuesday’s...
With millions of people on the National Mall to watch the presidential inauguration ceremonies, it’s perhaps no surprise that the museum...
One of my favorite authors is the late Douglas Adams, whose Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series expounded the “interconnectedness of...
2009 is upon us. The last year has seen major changes. For us here at the museum, being open again is certainly among the largest! As a...
As a program producer and member of the department that manages visitor services, I’m making my list for inauguration weekend: Cell phone....
While the museum isn’t expecting all of the projected millions of inaugural attendees to visit us, we are expecting enormous crowds. As a...
Wearing my red director’s badge, I have plunged back into the throngs of visitors in the first month since we reopened to gauge how they...
¿Habla Español? You can now get information in Spanish about the Museum—what to see, how to get here, and what to do! In an effort to reach...
It was in the year 1882 when Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, developed the idea for electric Christmas tree lights. Now, the...
I’m a sucker for year-end wrap-ups. Sometimes roundup lists serve as shortcuts, helping us plan for the year ahead. For example, I’ll...
Last Friday we were thrilled to open our new exhibition First Ladies at the Smithsonian. The exhibition tells the history of the First...
I’m lucky enough to have an office near a car from Disneyland’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride on display and I often hear the...
Winter can be a dreary time of year in Washington. The city’s trees have shed their orange, gold, and red autumn leaves and the arrival of...
I tend to work later in the day than many of my museum colleagues and while the building was under construction that was quite a drag...
In the few weeks since the museum reopened to the public, I’ve noticed quite a few visitors congregating around one particular piece of...
When friends ask you to view their vacation photos, does it elicit a grin or a groan? Well, we’ve really been enjoying the terrific photos...
At one of the museum’s reopening events, I perused the new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery for the first time. I was especially...
Editor's Note: The portrait of Stephen Colbert returned to view at the National Museum of American History on December 16, 2010. The...
A national museum opens to great fanfare after being closed for 2 years. People clamor to get in, to see the Star-Spangled Banner...

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