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.
- Mariachis, groups comprised of vocalists, trumpeters, violinists, and various bass and guitar players, are today considered Mexico's traditional musical ensemble. Originally from the state of Jalisco, mariachi music transformed itself from a regional to a national music between the 1930s and 1950s. Its accompanying attire is the fancy charro costume for men and the china poblana dress (like the one pictured here) for women. The thriving song, music, and dance culture surrounding mariachi today is the product of pioneering work by Mexican American educators and performers in the early 1960s. Mariachi instruction programs have since grown in popularity across Mexican American communities, with student mariachi ensembles beginning to perform as early as elementary or middle school. But Mexican American musical traditions began much earlier than the mariachi movement—they include styles as diverse as the choir music of the California missions and the corridos and ballads of San Antonio's Rosita Fernández (1925 1997). This china poblana dress, made in the 1960s, belonged to Fernández who, though performing a wide repertoire of Mexican song styles, is most identified with música norteña, rather than mariachi. Her sixty-year career as a local radio, TV, and theater star garnered her the title, "San Antonio's First Lady of Song."
- Currently not on view
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- Fernández, Rosita
- Tenis, Mr.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center