Note: While history shouldn’t require a spoiler alert, this blog does contain some minor ones regarding the HBO series Watchmen.“You know...
Maybe this painting looks familiar. A long row of red-coated soldiers. A cloud of gun smoke engulfing the street. Falling bodies.Detail of...
The Stonewall uprising began June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, and has since...

Blog

Isabella Aiukli Cornell’s prom dress
For many high school students in the United States, prom is considered one of the most highly anticipated events of the school year....
Sponges of diverse shapes and colors arranged in a line
While the iconic egg-shaped Beautyblender sponge is wildly popular and used by makeup professionals and everyday people from all...
Carlos Martinez
When he reflected later in life on why, as a young man, he chose to enlist during wartime, Carlos Martinez said that avoiding service was...
Note with headless horseman
After the end of World War I, Germany was in economic crisis and was unable to provide enough currency for its citizens. In response,...
Theodore Roosevelt on a beach
Within a gallery stands a rifle once presented to Theodore Roosevelt. It is perhaps an odd gift, considering that it was given to him with...
Boycott Grapes button
Until the successes of the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the 1960s, agriculture was one of the last industries to hold out on unionization...
Desert Camo bat
Custom Baret bat, Woodbridge, Virginia, 2018Gift of Juan Baret Bate Baret personalizado, Woodbridge, Virginia, 2018Donación de Juan...
Medal with Christopher Columbus
In October 1792, the United States of America was still a new country, not even a decade old, fresh from a complete government overhaul...
Debate chairs from the 1960 election
Presidential debates first became part of the campaign landscape when John Kennedy and Richard Nixon sat across from each other in 1960. It...
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
Last year I began working as a stage manager for Join the Student Sit-Ins, an interactive theater program at the museum set in 1960. The...
Frank A. Taylor examines the construction of the National Museum of History
A mere 75 years ago aboard the battleship Missouri, representatives of the Japanese Emperor, his government, and the Imperial General...
Street signs in Washington, D.C.
The writers of the Black Life in Two Pandemics series have examined the deep roots of racial violence in the Midwest and the connections...
Posters in Washington D.C.
IntroductionOur political and legal systems are inextricably intertwined with and fueled by structural racism. This legacy predates the...
“George Floyd,” by Peyton Scott Russell
In March 2020, the Urban Art Mapping research team, a small group of faculty and students from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul,...
Fort Snelling
Minnesota doesn’t typically come to mind when you think about slavery and the Civil War. It’s also not a place that’s figured into the...
Man carrying a box outside a food distribution center
With the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing civil unrest, historians, educators, and the general public once again fixated on the “long...
Destruction by fire of Pennsylvania Hall
"Destruction by fire of Pennsylvania Hall, the new building of the Abolition Society, on the night of the 17th May," courtesy of Library of...
Black Life in Two Pandemics: Histories of Violence
George Floyd’s Memorial Day 2020 killing by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin shook the nation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the...
Room with medical staff and patients in Freedmen's Hospital
Racism has been a public health emergency in America for over 400 years. We can call it a crisis or disaster or something else entirely....
Dumbo ride car
How do you get an elephant into a museum? If you’re the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the technical answer is “through...
During the cool pre-dawn hours of August 2, 1995, a large multiagency task force led by the California Department of Industrial Relations...
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could not rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA...
After months of uncertainty, Major League Baseball will begin a shortened season at Nationals Park. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the...
For John Lewis, activism for social change was a communal activity. He believed that people coming together to mentor, protest, and learn...
For Michael and Robert, the quick peck before a walk around the lake with Michael’s son was an ordinary moment. For J. Ross Baughman, it...
Chef Lena Richard and others filming a television segment
Lena Richard was an African American chef who built a culinary empire in New Orleans during the Jim Crow era. She reshaped public...
Anti-Suffrage pendant
The trouble began soon after well-known social reformer Emily Bissell had finished her remarks at the meeting of the National Association...
Mary Walker
Mary Edwards Walker defied convention in just about everything she did. Walker was uncompromising in her beliefs about herself and the...
In March 1995, Ladies Home Journal named Dr. Florence Haseltine one of the ten most important women in medicine. Haseltine, currently...
Maggie Lena Walker was one of the most important Black businesswomen in the nation, and today too few people have heard of her.Maggie Lena...
An illustration of Civil War-era African American troops in the U.S. military posing with the U.S. flag in the background
Every election season in the United States revolves around a set of issues—health care, foreign affairs, the economy. In 1868, at the...
The museum has created a new collecting initiative focused on how undocumented activists are leading fights for political representation....
A line of people wait outside the Baltimore branch of the NAACP in 1843
In 2020, the Fifteenth Amendment—the first voting rights amendment added to the U.S. Constitution—celebrates its 150th anniversary. You’ve...
This week, the third impeachment trial of a sitting U.S. president begins. As we prepare to bear witness to this historic moment, we...
Happy days are here again banner.
January 17, 1920, was an important day in American history. Why? Because on that day the grand social experiment called Prohibition was...
2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and the 150th anniversary of completion of the...
Have you ever wondered how companies pick their holiday card designs? How do they know what will sell? During the 1880s, Boston...
What weighs a quarter ton, has four wheels, was the first of its kind, and was built in Pennsylvania? The Bantam Jeep Prototype of course!...
An etching of a man with a musket.
“About the prints … I make no comment, save that they were made from the indelible impressions of war. They are not imaginary. I saw them...
A baseball cap.
When George B. Hughes II shipped out for army basic training in September of 1988, both he and the world were more focused on the looming...
A group of people by what appears to be a hot-air balloon.
Q: What’s cylindrical, made of wax, and part of one of history’s great showdowns?A: These records in the museum collection with audio...
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II. After almost constant...
Codex costume and staff, as worn by Felicia Day in The Guild
Codex costume and staff, as worn by Felicia Day in "The Guild." Costume designed by Sarah Trost; staff designed by Greg Aronowitz....
Tinted portrait of a man.
In November 2019, Private First Class Francis X. McGraw’s Medal of Honor will go on display in our Price of Freedom exhibition. This is his...
You know Kermit, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. But you might be surprised to learn their...
If you were to buy a donut and cup of coffee at the Donut Bar in the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia, Liberia, you would more than likely pay...
Imagine a dark and stormy night. A headless horseman chases a frantic school teacher through the woods. What do you picture? Is it...
What do the popularity of luxury quilts have to do with the difficulty of feeding bugs? More than you think.Our new exhibition Everyday...

Pages