Coming of age: Young women and the FFA

High school can be a challenging time for teens. Much as they do today, young men and women throughout the 20th century wrestled with identity, education, and social status during their teenage years. For young women in the 20th century, changes in the way people thought about gender and equality greatly impacted their experience. Documenting those changes for teens is an important aspect of telling a larger story about the changing roles of women in the 20th century. The museum has found an interesting way to tell that story through its agricultural collection. 

Four reasons why Star Wars became a huge part of my life—and maybe yours, too

May 25, 2017, marks the 40th anniversary of the release of George Lucas's first Star Wars film, the "space opera" that took the world (er, galaxy?) by storm. As an anniversary tribute, I offer four reasons why the films became such an important part of my life.

Leaving home behind: The fates of Japanese American houses during incarceration

In 1983 the United States Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) asked, "What if vandals broke into your home, sprayed graffiti, and ransacked your property simply because of race, gender, or religious affiliation?"

How “The Little Drummer Boy from New York” earned the Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for bravery and valor that can be bestowed upon a member of the United States military. Modern military medals have lengthy citations that often vividly portray the sacrifice and heroism displayed by the recipients. At the Medal of Honor's inception during the Civil War, however, the curt citation often belied the extraordinary circumstances behind the award. One such citation is that of the Medal of Honor for Johann Christoph Julius Langbein:

Six things from my first 100 days

Getting to know just under two million objects, almost 17,000 cubic feet of archives, and around 140 curatorial and collections staff is a big task. I started work on January 23 as the new associate director of Curatorial Affairs—I look after everything to do with the museum's collections and curatorial work. One hundred days on, here are a few of the things I've enjoyed, noticed, or learned.

Making a place for Eastern Bluebirds—and philanthropy

If you had asked me to guess the first object I would add to the museum's new philanthropy collection, I never would have said a Virginia Bluebird Society (VBS) nest box. I'm no birder and somehow had never heard of bluebird societies until recently! When I encountered VBS boxes while out for a hike on a visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, though, I knew I had to have one. The nest box is a great object for the collection because it shows how philanthropy is a long-term conversation among many people.

Meet Amanda Moniz, our new curator of philanthropy

I recently joined the museum's staff as the David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy. I am thrilled to be here, and family and friends have been very happy for me. Turns out, though, a lot of folks don't know what the work of a curator is, nor have they encountered the history of philanthropy as a topic in a museum before.

Experience the hobby of kings with the National Numismatic Collection's new Discovery Cart

Want to partake in the "Hobby of Kings?" Then consider becoming a numismatist—a person who collects and studies coins or paper money. The National Numismatic Collection (NNC) has launched a hands-on Numismatics Discovery Cart featuring an activity called Spot the Counterfeit to encourage more involvement with the hobby.

He must have been an admiral, a sultan or a king… beards, beards, beards.

An appreciation for follicles and my love for the Byzantine Empire proved to be a pretty fun union for exploring the National Numismatic Collection's Byzantine holdings. But what about the coinage of the rest of the world?

Fantastic beasts and the currency that depicts them

For thousands of years, humanity has been fascinated by the allure of fantastical beasts and mythical creatures—so much so that many depictions of these unknown animals have been featured on coins and banknotes around the world, and their portraits have stood the test of time.