This Museum's popular entertainment collections hold some of the Smithsonian's most beloved artifacts. The ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz reside here, along with the Muppet character Kermit the Frog, and props from popular television series such as M*A*S*H and All in the Family. But as in many of the Museum's collections, the best-known objects are a small part of the story.
The collection also encompasses many other artifacts of 19th- and 20th-century commercial theater, film, radio, and TV—some 50,000 sound recordings dating back to 1903; posters, publicity stills, and programs from films and performances; puppets; numerous items from World's Fairs from 1851 to 1992; and audiovisual materials on Groucho Marx, to name only a few.
"Popular Entertainment - Overview" showing 1 items.
- From doo-wop and country blues, to polka and hip-hop, Tejano music is made by borderland musicians forced to understand the value of cultural exchange. Performing a fusion of cumbia, pop, and contemporary Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (1971–1995) was a young star whose rise and hard-won fame in the United States and Latin American markets was cut short at age 23, when she was murdered by a business manager fired for stealing. Selena was a commercial success in ways unimaginable for her more rootsy predecessors like Flaco Jiménez, Freddy Fender, or Little Joe. This outfit, with its leather boots, tight pants, a satin bustier, and a motorcycle jacket, is an example of Selena's idiosyncratic style, wavering between sexy rebel and Mexican American good girl. Hailing from Lake Jackson, Texas, Selena was born into a family of musicians. Because she grew up speaking English, she had to learn to sing Spanish phonetically on her early albums that targeted the Spanish-speaking market. Ironically, her "cross-over" material for English-language radio was not released until the end of her career, shortly after her tragic death. Selena, who spent her childhood in her family's band entertaining crowds at weddings, restaurants, fairs, and other modest venues along the U.S.-Mexico border, remains enshrined in the memory of many as one of the greatest stars of Tejano music.
- Currently not on view
- North Beach
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center