Philanthropy

A heart shaped content
They had just arrived in a foreign country and the small girl’s mother was sent away.  Ernest and Mimi Hausner fled their home in...
In May 2018, the Boy Scouts of America changed the name of its program for older children to Scouts BSA and opened membership to girls for...
These are our most fascinating blog posts of 2018, according to our readers.When FBI agents showed up with a pair of sparkly, red shoesA...
Most people don't realize that while the federal funding the Smithsonian receives supports its buildings and about 2/3 of its staff;...
Sesame Street was an innovative and radical children's television program when it premiered in 1969. In the 1960s, many parents were...
An illustration of an African American soldier
Suffering from "shell shock and a general breakdown," Charles Mackall and James Randall arrived in Philadelphia in September 1918 from...
Lace with U.S. seal
Safely cared for in the collections of the National Museum of American History are about 6,000 examples of hand- and machine-made lace from...
As our Philanthropy Initiative continues to explore the history of giving, we're eager to share stories of success and failure. This story...
"It was now quick work," Maria Mitchell noted. "As the last rays of sunlight disappeared, the corona burst out all around the sun, so...
A medal for the Humane Society of Massachusetts
Young Charles Taylor drowned in June 1818. He was six years, seven months, and 10 days old, the son of Nathan and Sally Taylor. While a...
A yellowed page with black text announcing the "Grand Concert in aid of the Russian Jewish Refugees"
The arts are "a space where we can give dignity to others while interrogating our own circumstances," Darren Walker, president of the...
A blue and yellow banner that reads "Please give your help" and "Bowl of Rice, Feb. 9, 10, 11,1940-S.F. Chinatown"
Wartime often catalyzes developments in philanthropy. In 2017, the museum added the Bowl of Rice party banner, from fundraising efforts to...
National anniversaries can be celebrated in many ways—parades, fireworks displays, and, of course, museum exhibitions. In 1983 Congress...
A sepia tone portrait of Madam CJ Walker
A former laundress who became a millionaire from her hair-care company, Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) was a leading philanthropist of the...
A white background with a black electric guitar.
James Smithson might be surprised to learn about some of the objects in the collections at the institution he established. The Englishman...
An close up of a section of Giving in America. The ALS ice bucket is evident.
I caught up with collections manager Katharine Klein as she worked on rotating objects in the museum's Giving in America exhibit, to learn...
A blue vase with art nouveau style flowers around the lip.
I didn't drool on the objects, but exploring the ceramics storage room as an intern at the National Museum of American History was pretty...
A statue of Lucretia Mott
January 3, 2018, would have been Lucretia Coffin Mott’s 225th birthday. When it came to birthdays, Mott had a particular way of celebrating...
An image of a violet fraternal collar--opulently decorated with golden embroidery and a hand painted eye
Artists have long been major players in American philanthropy. If that surprises you to learn, you might be further surprised to learn that...
Collage of images taken from various blog posts, from photos of gowns to a portrait of a soldier in World War 1
2017 was another incredible year on the museum’s blog. More than a few of our most-read posts focused on how the museum continues to grow...
A blue mop bucket.
A bucket from the Ice Bucket Challenge. A collection box from the 19th century. A toolbelt from a volunteer...
Poster with "You can help" and "American Red Cross." Imagine in pencil line drawing of a woman knitting. She sits in a chair, looking at her work.
Today, I spend spare time between classes working at my college's library or hanging out with friends. Had I been an American college...
A green three piece suit, white tights, and black buckle shoes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical turned international attention to the story of founding...
A single-page, typed letter dated July 21, 2010 from David Rockefeller. It begins: "Philanthropists, at their best, try to address serious societal problems and occasionally come up with innovations that lead to enduring change. In the end, success requires much more than financial resources, although money is, of course, essential." It continues fora total of four paragraphs.
In March, David Rockefeller died at the extraordinary age of 101. He was one of the first signers of the Giving Pledge, a commitment by...
Two young girls look through the glass of a museum display to gaze at a blue bucket among other objects like a pair of boots or a bust of a man.
I don't like to dodge questions, but that's what I did when someone asked me which object is my favorite in the museum's new exhibition on...
Wooden box with hole in it for birds and wire mesh around opening. There are lichens growing on the top of it. A nail or screw is visible on one side.
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...
Portrait of a woman with short brown/black hair, black glasses, a grey top, a delicate necklace, and a nice smile.
"Congratulations! Say, what does a curator do anyway?" "Philanthropy? So, you're in development?" Over the past few months I've heard those...
An old woman, a young woman, a girl and a baby sitting in the living room of an 1860s home
Have you ever been to a bake sale? Or perhaps a craft fair or auction for charity? What about a raffle for charity with a beautiful quilt...
(Detail) Poster with striking orange background. Color illustration of a young man with hand in pocket and mother with arm raised. Text: "Go! It's your duty lad. Join to-day."
When people think of World War I, they often think of soldiers fighting in trenches. But soldiers weren't the only ones doing the work of...
Museum case containing woman's gown, marble bust, nurse's cap, and small painting. Each item has a label.
America Participates is the museum's 2016 theme: But what does "participation" actually look like? We interviewed David Allison, director...
Illustration in black, grey, and brown of mother cradling one child in her skirt, among rubble, while the other holds his belly, probably hungry. (Detail)
April 6, 2016, marks the 99th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Although the country would not be drawn into combat until...
 Printed portrait of Elizabeth Keckley included in her autobiography "Behind the Scenes"
This month, we've been exploring how American women made their place in the marketplace by participating in business and consumption....
Color print with image of a group of many men posing in a room with older gentlemen in middle along with a few women in six or seven children. The room has high ceilings and four windows along with a portrait. They are all wearing sashes and aprons that match.
How do you come to truly know someone? How do you know if they are who they claim to be?These questions were at the heart of a major shift...
Black and white illustration of woman with her hair in an up-do with flowers. Dress is off-the-shoulder style, short sleeved. Her hands are place peacefully one and top of the other.
Long before Hollywood actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Katharine Hepburn became iconic stars, popular female opera singers of the early...
Color illustration showing many tall, white tents, a stage with a speaker, an audience of men and women. In the left side of the image, a woman tends a kettle on a fire.
For many, "the Second Great Awakening" is one of those historical terms from a dusty textbook that sounds vaguely familiar, but the details...
Scan of citizenship document
After opening the new innovation floor of the west wing this summer, the museum is looking forward to the second floor, which will open in...

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