As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Essays and Object Groups

Essays and Object Groups

In these essays and object groups, museum staff and curators go beyond the exhibition floor to open windows onto other aspects of our rich and complex history, with a behind-the-scenes look at how we go about making our exhibitions..

Object Groups

Smithsonian Automobile Collection

A historical catalog of passenger automboiles in the National Museum and American History

Smithsonian Bicycle Collection

The bulk of this object group was created from the material published in Smith Oliver and Don Berkebile's Wheels and Wheeling: The Smithsonian Cycle Collection which was first published in the 1950s and updated in 1974.

Marine Patent Models

The collection of patent models in the division of Work and Industry contains many maritime inventions.

The Ocean Liner Leviathan

The ocean liner Leviathan was one of the largest and most popularly recognizable passenger ships on the Atlantic in the 1920s. Like all ocean liners, the ship was at once a complex and powerful machine as well as a socially stratified hotel catering to different travel budgets and expectations. Explore the ship, its workers, and passengers through its objects.

Themed Essays