Coins are a powerful tool used to communicate strong messages through varied symbolism. In addition to portraits of influential people and meaningful phrases such as "E Pluribus Unum," animals have often played a prominent role in currency design in the United States and around the world. While American coinage favors our national symbol, the bald eagle, other countries have immortalized different animals of cultural significance on their currency.
When the United States entered the Great War in 1917, the U.S. Army commissioned eight professional artists to record the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France in an effort to shape popular opinion back home.
Even though it's summer in Washington, D.C., winter is coming along with a new season of "Game of Thrones." In honor of this occasion, the staff of the National Numismatic Collection have chosen a selection of coins representative of the noble houses of Westeros.
While our pals at the National Air and Space Museum will get excited about the vast vacuum of space, we at American History are geeking out about how a good vacuum was both necessary and fatal for a scientific experiment that demonstrated an important concept in quantum mechanics.
For several decades after the Revolution, Paul Revere was as famous for his church bells as for his midnight ride. While he is often remembered simply as a patriot silversmith, Revere's career and reputation were far more complex during his lifetime.
Working with museum collections, I am often reminded that the names we attach to objects can reflect powerful social and political forces. A case in point is the small instrument of ancient Asian tradition that, in popular parlance, became known as the "opium scale" in the late 19th century.