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

Bright red silk top hat, decorated with a silver band and blue stars
When people think of costumes, they tend to think of elaborate, old-fashioned gowns, like the ones in Victorian novel adaptations....
In late December 1915, a century ago, 104 mathematicians and mathematics teachers assembled at The Ohio State University to form the...
One man and two women standing in an office with wooden cabinets, desk, and white walls
Curator and FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000 exhibition project director Paula Johnson recalls a memorable visit...
Frank Sinatra in hat and tie stands at microphone with music stand in front of him, mouth slightly open
Do you think of Frank Sinatra as a jazz singer? As we celebrate his 100th birthday, guest author Eric Felten explores this question.When...
Photo of a record album with Chewbacca in the snow
Please note that the droids you are looking for are not currently on display at the museum as of December 2016. Since its debut in...
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...
Hat with portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin's reputation for invention and inventiveness looms large in our national imagination: Franklin stoves, Poor Richard's...
"Park and Shop" board game
 This November 27, 2015, the day after Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will kick off the holiday shopping season with what has...
Small brown puppet with big white eyes, photo
Does this puppet look familiar? Remind you of anyone you know? Does he bear a striking resemblance to a famous frog? This is one of Jim...
Photo of pumpkin surrounded by green leaves
Thanksgiving meals have come a long way since the first shared feast back at Plymouth Colony in 1621. While our reasons for gathering today...
Holiday tree and abstract American flag sculpture
What do you get when you mix C-3PO (the real one!), an Oscar-nominated movie, classic toys, heritage chocolate, gorgeous seasonal...
Black-and-white photo of pony tracks, buildings, ferris wheel
From 1886 through the first two decades of the 20th century, New Yorkers escaping the summer heat flocked by boats and trolleys to North...
Football, 1912
"The thud of the cleated boot on pigskin will soon be heard." It's football season! The Ten Thousand Men of Harvard! The Fighting Irish!...
Black-and-white photo of buildings on a street, including Republic theater with marquee. American flag over an office building. Two people walk down sidewalk.
What if you watched only the lines in E.T. or the entire Harry Potter series that were spoken by people of color? You...
1930s potluck spread
The members of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project team have been poring over authentic period cookbooks as research...
1930s General Electric Monitor Top refrigerator
Electric refrigeration motivated Americans to rethink how they purchased, prepared, and stored food when it first took off in the 1930s....
Detail from scrapbook with photo of Saigon and clips of text
When I started my internship in the museum's Division of Armed Forces History, I expected to see reminders of what it was like to be a U.S...
In an effort to include teen voices in the museum's programs and directly address the needs of the hundreds of thousands of youth visitors...
Black and white portrait of George Pal, holding puppet
The National Museum of American History has a number of artifacts donated in 1983 by Elisabeth Pal, the widow of brilliant animation...
We recently shared a blog post featuring Bette and Lindsey Hagan, the mother and daughter who through their generous support created the...
Sheet music cover with witches
How would you describe a witch? Black pointy hats probably spring to mind, as well as a range of distinguishing ugly features like crooked...
"Chiquita, can you bring me a soda?" "Chiquita, how much is two pupusas and a bag of mangos?" These are the things neighborhood...
With each new season, a new crop of interns comes to the National Museum of American History. Two museum supporters, Bette and Lindsey...
High wheel bicycle race in Frederick, Maryland
One of the most popular photo opportunities in the museum's new innovation wing can be found in the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object...
Dennis the Menace with stethoscope and "Less of a Menace" text on button or sticker
Metaphors of war and combat are almost impossible to avoid when describing humankind's struggle to control infectious disease. The war may...
A photo of the bicycle in front of a palm tree
An 1896 Columbia woman's bicycle, made by Pope Manufacturing Company and embellished with gems and gold by Tiffany & Co., is currently...
Four buttons. "How dare you presume I'm heterosexual!" "Come out, come out." "I AM R U." "Closets are for clothes."
"Better Gay than Grumpy""My Unicorn is a Lesbian. Is Yours?""I'm Straight. But not Narrow"The National Museum of American History recently...
"I call it my diamond dress," cooed Broadway star Carol Channing in her distinctive voice, which combined little-girl innocence with great-...
Latin Jazz postage stamp
On October 16 and 17, the museum's own big-band-in-residence, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will kick off their 25th...
KCOR Radio Microphone, early 1950s
In the U.S. today, Hispanic media is big business. In 2013, Advertising Age reported that spending in the U.S. Hispanic media market...
Olympia Mills, Columbia, South Carolina, about 1905. The all-electric Olympia Mills opened in 1899 about one mile down river from Columbia Mills. Explosive cotton dust in the air made the switch from open gas lamps to electric lights desirable. Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, 1895-1921
Engineering infrastructure usually isn't the most compelling topic for a blog post—except when it fails dramatically. In the wake of a 1,...
This tin lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1978. Released on the heels of the 1978 "Superman" movie, this lunch box shows Superman flying high above Metropolis in all his costumed glory. Not currently on display.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a suit! And not just any suit! It's the signature blue, red, and yellow suit...
At the first sign of symptoms, many people turn to the Internet for health advice. Early listeners to radio could turn their dials and...
Black and white illustration of woman and girl using machine
American inventions associated with the book were having a bit of a boom between the 1850s and the 1880s. The number of books published...
Photo of three boxes of crayons
The kids are back to school and parents have done their best to fill seemingly endless lists of new school supplies. But what did children...
Photo of white overalls splattered with paint
As a curator at the National Museum of American History, I find that exhibitions are one space in which I can bring history to the public....
Image of political cartoon
You may not have heard about the Hart-Celler Act, but as the foundation of our current immigration laws it has had a dramatic impact on U.S...
Thomas Edison's patent model for improvements to a stock ticker
The Smithsonian and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are hosting an Innovation Festival at the museum on...
Political cartoon
The amazing thing about running for president is how many people are actually willing to attempt it. The 2016 campaign's big crop is...
Today, museum staff members are answering questions sent in to us through social media, particularly Twitter. Here are a few of our...
Coin with "1939" and "New York World's Fair" on it
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Scott St. Louis has been working on a cataloging project for a collection of coins and...
Ask a Curator graphic
The global online Q&A session between museum staff members and the public known as Ask a Curator Day took place on Wednesday, September...
A slow disco melody spins on the turntable, interrupted by the metallic sound of symbols. Right after that, the running sounds of bongo...
Place setting and tray used by the Kim family to serve Korean food
Entrepreneurial success and innovative spirit can come in many forms, and emerge from innumerable paths. The same can be said for stories...
Photo from a scene in the television show "EMERGENCY!" with five actors
The pre-reality television show EMERGENCY! premiered in January 1972. Health- and medical-themed programs such as the radio and...
Ben Kuroki was born on May 16, 1917, in Gothenburg, Nebraska, to Japanese immigrant parents. With the onset of World War II, Kuroki and...
Black and white photo of building
Guest blogger Sarah Weatherwax, a photography curator at the Library Company of Philadelphia, brings her expertise to bear on several...
Black and white photo of building surrounded by trees
Guest blogger Sarah Weatherwax, a photography curator at the Library Company of Philadelphia, brings her expertise to bear on several...

Pages