Art from money: Paper money origami

Money is often defined as a medium of exchange, but to some artists money is simply a medium—or set of materials—that they can use to create works of art. Artists have treated the flat surfaces of coins and two-dimensional banknotes as canvases for artistic expression, leaving the monetary object intact but changing its original design.

Populism and the World of Oz

Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Stay tuned for updates on the project.

The lost sounds of religious history

What does religion sound like? Across the United States today, you can listen for it in the tolling of church bells, the Muslim call to prayer, or sirens announcing the coming of Shabbat in some Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. In a few American cities, you might at times hear all these sounds at once—the glorious cacophony of religious freedom at work.

In early America, religion sounded much different, and yet in some ways it was the same. Even then it was formed by many voices singing competing songs that occasionally found an unlikely harmony.

Pay attention to the man on the television screen!

Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Stay tuned for updates on the project.

Capturing the 1970s food movement in design: David Lance Goines and Alice Waters's "30 Recipes Suitable for Framing"

For this year's Smithsonian Food History Weekend, we're exploring the theme of "Politics on Your Plate," how people, collectively and individually, have shaped the production, distribution, and consumption of food in American history.

6 common phobias found in our collections

For some creepy fun before Halloween, a tour of common phobias through our collections.

Help reunite Dorothy and Scarecrow

Update: Your support has helped to make this project a reality! Our campaign to raise support to conserve Dorothy's Ruby Slippers and our Scarecrow costume has been completed successfully. The last day to see the Ruby Slippers on display at the museum is Sunday, April 23, 2017. (See what will be in their place.) Objects from The Wizard of Oz be off display for at least a year while we complete conservation.

What is innovation in money today?

As the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), I collect objects that reflect innovation in money today in order to preserve them for the historians and museum visitors of tomorrow. But what is innovative? To many, innovation means the new digital technologies emerging from private enterprise, such as cryptocurrencies, mobile money, and Apple Pay, which continue to make cash seem more and more obsolete. Over the last year, however, I have collected a variety of coins and banknotes—and objects that enable their use—that reflect more subtle technological and social innovations.

A few of our favorite objects from Oz

Update: Thanks to you, our Kickstarter campaign to "Keep Them Ruby" was a success and we have the support we need to conserve and display Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Stay tuned for updates on the project.

You helped us reach our goal to conserve and display the Ruby Slippers!

At a little past 11:15 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2016, you took us somewhere over the rainbow. With over 5,300 backers, our "Keep Them Ruby" Kickstarter campaign reached its goal of raising $300,000 to support the conservation and display of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. The team here at the museum is obviously thrilled with the tremendous show of support for this project, but what about museum visitors?

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