Only a few days after the passing of James Cotton, one of the country's greatest blues harmonica players, we lost one of our greatest...
Phyllis Diller is widely considered the first female stand-up comic to perform as a solo act. While she is mainly known for her career in...
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...

Blog Posts in "Teaching & Learning"

A woman in a historical outfit (high collared white shirt with elbow-length sleeves, long burgundy skirt, boater hat) and a bike speaks to two museum visitors
For nearly a decade, the museum has used theater as a means of enlivening the visitor experience and engaging the public in dialogue on...
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,...
Cover of comic book. Little boy in tears runs to father. Text: "Dad! They took away my baseball bat!"
Comics have historically been used to tell difficult stories and engage youth in important but challenging topics. Martin Luther King Jr....
Museum visitor looks at objects on a table while staff member points out features of historic objects
Our National Youth Summit on Japanese American Incarceration in World War II is just around the corner. In this national webcast...
Black and white photo of three Boy Scouts carrying a large U.S. flag with community in background, including other parade participants with bugle and drum.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Executive Order 9066 forcibly removed all people of Japanese ancestry, citizens or not,...
(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 bringing...
Young woman wearing blue gloves gets ready to remove a Girl Scout uniform from a display
On rainy weekends, my mom would say, "Let's go visit Boomer." With big, wise eyes and a grumpy mouth, Boomer the Queensland Grouper was a...
Photo two nuns walk with a line of students. The girls, at the front of the line, wear white dresses and have headbands on. The boys, in the back of the line, wear blue suits. They're on a sidewalk outside a building.
Over the past few months, I have been cataloging a Catholic school uniform and related Catholic school material for the museum's education...
In late December 1915, a century ago, 104 mathematicians and mathematics teachers assembled at The Ohio State University to form the...
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...
Titled sign, knocked over half way. Blue circular sign with arrow saying "HURRICANE EVACUATION ROUTE." Below that is square sign with AM FM radio stations for information. There is a dirty plastic bag on the ground.
Late curator David Shayt of the museum's Work and Industry division once said, "All museum work in one form or another is digging in the...
3D model of Mt. Vernon with red roof, white walls, green grass. Many columns and windows.
Curator Dr. Katherine Ott invited students in Dr. Samuel J. Redman's Museum/Historic Site Interpretation Seminar to explore the museum's...
Pres. Johnson dressed as super hero
Last year marked the fiftieth anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson declaring what would come to be known as the War on Poverty. In...
Teachers look at historic books
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of A. James Clark, the driving force behind Clark Construction Group, LLC. The story...
Students' object portraits
I am a strong believer in helping my students become productive citizens through character education, and I believe that history...
"A Room of Her Own" by Sandra Cisneros at the National Museum of American History
If you've ever confused Día de los Muertos with Halloween, you might be surprised to learn how very different these fall holidays are from...
Trying deodorant on arm
Intern Caitlin Kearney follows a 111-year-old deodorant recipe. For history!Over the summer, I've been doing research for a new hands-on...
Mexican-style dress
Looking to discover Latino history during your museum visit this Hispanic Heritage Month? Christine Miranda, who interned with our Program...
Viewing fire engine
As a mom, I know the National Museum of American History is a great place to visit with kids. There is so much to see and do... which...
A teddy bear snow globe was my favorite souvenir from a family visit to the National Museum of American History. I've kept the memento...
Fall at the museum, exterior view
Enjoying pumpkin spice season? Museum Educator Sarah Erdman recommends bringing little ones to museums' grounds and gardens this time of...
Mustang on display
Museum educator Sarah Erdman makes your next museum visit with the family just a little more fun with tips on how to boost interactivity...
Educator Victoria Altman introduces a new book-based summer activity to share with youngsters, especially budding entrepreneurs.Most...
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...
If you are visiting D.C. this summer, you have the chance to be part of some amazing events.The Fourth of July lights up the National Mall...
We all know the colors of the American flag. But how did those colors physically come to fly on flagpoles and inspire national anthems?...
three children look at a large doll house
Without buttons to push, levers to pull, or paper airplanes to fly, some museum exhibitions just aren't very interactive. What's a...
Ganz holding microphone speaking to audience, wearing white shirt
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Summer Project, the Museum is hosting the National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer...
Students in the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center early childhood program make frequent visits to museum exhibitions. We...
How can you get the most out of a museum visit with your kids? Cynthia Raso of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center shares some tips...
When was the last time you sat down to write a letter to someone? As National Letter Writing Day approaches on December 7, here's some...
The day after Thanksgiving is one of our highest visitation days of the year and many families bring along tiny bundles of joy. This made...
Kid at museum
Tempted to skip visiting museums until your toddler is older? Museum Fellow Sarah Erdman explains why she's taking her son to museums now....
As a national museum, we serve students all over the country through lesson plans, interactive resources, and virtual field trips. Naomi...
Freedom School Scholar Harry Clarke reflects on the story of Glen Echo Amusement Park as part of his preparation to host the National Youth...
Today, October 1, marks the anniversary of James Meredith's admission to the segregated University of Mississippi. Harry Clarke, who...
Education specialist Matt Hoffman shares what happens when teachers and students try out one of Benjamin Franklin's experiments. ...
The global online Q&A session between museum curators and the public known as Ask a Curator Day takes place Wednesday, September 18,...
two educators hold model slave shackles in front of a model ship
This summer, a new program debuted on the museum floor: (Re)Searching an American Slave Ship. It highlights the ongoing research led by our...
Between buying a new backpack and figuring our carpool logistics, fellow Sarah Erdman recommends adding a museum-inspired conversation to...
Visitors in Price of Freedom exhibit
Fellow Sarah Erdman provides her tips for parents facing tough topics in museum exhibitions on family visits.It sometimes feels like...
Container of Abuelita hot chocolate on colorful fabric
Spotting a familiar artifact at the Smithsonian can be an exciting moment for visitors—and, in this case, a moment of cultural connection....
A child looks through glass at a museum
For grown-ups, part of the fear of visiting a museum is what are you going to DO with the kids the whole time. Looking at objects can only...
This Thursday's Food in the Garden program asks a challenging question: "Can gardening change the world?" Intern Heather Olsen...
Three photos: A school desk patent, a label for a school desk patent, and an illustration of three desks in the "Triumph" style
There are more to desks than you might see on the surface. Just as American students have changed over the years, so have their furniture....
How can there be two Star-Spangled Banners? Education Specialist Naomi Coquillon takes us on a tour of the history of the flag, the anthem...
Child's artwork
Editor's note: In this guest post, middle school teacher Suzanne Hadidi describes how she used portraits by artist Robert Weingarten to...
Photo of a woman in a purple shirt standing beside case that contains the Ruby Slippers
Whether they give tours, process artifacts, or bring the museum to visitors online, museum volunteers do important work. In honor of...

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