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...
Every election season in the United States revolves around a set of issues—health care, foreign affairs, the economy. In 1868, at the...
Suffering from "shell shock and a general breakdown," Charles Mackall and James Randall arrived in Philadelphia in September 1918 from...

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2009 has been a remarkable year for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Thanks to supporters like you, we were able...
I suppose the first question should be: what’s an old New York State license plate doing in the museum’s computer collection? The second...
One of the perks of working in a museum is being able to commune with objects in the quiet hours of the morning before the doors open to...
To come up with the top ten “O Say Can You See?” blog posts of 2009 I relied on you, dear readers, to tell me what should make the cut. It...
Bread-making technology spawned many inventions and patents, like the bread-slicer. While the earliest bread-cutting devices using parallel...
Trained in graphics, I started as a publications designer of print materials for public events: lectures, concerts, performances of film,...
“Like the sun in all its glory suddenly breaking through the shades of gloom.” So wrote Julia Child after finally succeeding in making real...
What will these highly skilled museum professionals do? Several of them mentioned that their first task is to turn off the alarm clock. No...
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from working on Stories on Money was the incredible amount of collaboration—internal and...
Eggplant and zucchini gratin with ratatouille, made with a recipe created by Julia Child
Where to Find the Master Recipes Eggplant and zucchini gratin Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, pp. 200-03 An online...
The Smithsonian hired architects Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) to create a plan which would meet our needs. Since the Mall is such a sensitive...
A flourless chocolate cake, "le glorieux," created with a recipe from Julia Child
Where to Find the Master RecipeMastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. Two, pp. 495-97An online version from the Shazam in the...
In reality, the English dissidents on board the Mayflower called themselves “saints,” not “pilgrims,” and landed on a beach in Provincetown...
So I was very intrigued when a colleague distributed a report from the U.S. Department of Education about online learning studies. A main...
Julia Child's copper bowl
With turkey day fast approaching, cooks around the country are whipping up grocery lists and getting ready for what is the equivalent of a...
There is no shortage of snake oil in America. Whether sold by politicians as endless campaign promises, or by spammers tempting us with...
As soon as more than sixty Iraqi public officials sat down in our auditorium, I knew I was facing a tough audience. These men and one woman...
A honey spice cake, "Pain d'Epices," created from a recipe made by Julia Child
Today’s post is the thirteenth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, curator Helena Wright gets a start on holiday baking...
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Science at the Smithsonian blog. Learn more about the museum's Stradivari...
My ears perked up at the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics. Not only was it awarded to an invention that revolutionized...
We’ve always heard that “money talks.” I remembered the phrase while talking with Richard Doty, curator of our numismatics collection...
A casserole dish used by Julia Child
Today’s post is the twelfth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, public affairs associate Laura Duff embraces her...
When curator David Shayt passed away around the time the museum reopened in fall 2008, I inherited one of his many collections. Which...
A picture of boeuf bourguignon, created with a recipe made by Julia Child
Today’s post is the eleventh in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week’s contributor is Joe Criste, an exhibits specialist who...
Many of the staff who work here at the National Museum of American History are “museum advocates” (AKA fans). Not only do we love visiting...
On the bottom edge of this pigment print (a type of digitally printed photograph) by Robert Weingarten, is the text “29 Oct 69 22:30 Talked...
I was interning at the National Museum of American History when I first encountered the photographic images of Leonard Nadel, who spent...
About the Blog "O Say Can You See?" is a blog produced by the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The blog takes readers...
Matthew MacArthur (Editor-in-Chief) Title: Director of New Media What do you do at the Museum? I oversee the development and maintenance...
A tarte tatin, created with a recipe by Julia Child, in the process of baking, before being flipped over
Today’s post is the tenth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, Jan Lilja, Associate Director for Management and Museum...
As floor managers, we sometimes spend hours interacting with visitors—some of whom are more cheerful than others after a long visit to the...
America is a big place. Kind of a silly thing to say, but think about it: we cover 3,000-odd miles coast to coast, span several time zones...
A picture of stuffed duck, baked cucumbers, and blackberry flan, made with recipes created by Julia Child
Today’s post is the ninth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. Kudos to this week’s contributors, project manager Ann Burrola and...
I’m a bad steampunk. I like pretty things with brass and wood, but I end up injuring myself when I try to build/sew/knit/glue things, with...
As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close on October 15, I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with my old friend Dr. José (Joe) V...
Citizenship Day Naturalization Ceremony, September 17—it’s just another public program at the museum. I spend the morning working with...
Vegetables and waterzooi, a dish made from a recipe created by Julia Child
Today’s post is the eighth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, business program manager Kathy Sklar overcomes her...
Advertising figure made by the National Papier Mache Works of Clinton, Iowa, ca 1900. In the 1958 film Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys...
I work at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. But I spent last year teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in...
Sole meuniere, made with a recipe created by Julia Child, served at a table with flowers and salad
Today’s post is the seventh in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, new media project manager Dana Allen-Greil shares...
If you’ve got an interest in education, you’ve probably heard of high school administrator Karl Fisch’s Shift Happens presentation or the...
Mushrooms, sauteed in butter, sit on top of pasta
Today’s post is the sixth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, project management assistant Laura McClure shimmies...
On a recent visit to my mother’s house, I took a quick look through my childhood bookshelf. As a person who works with “material culture”...
During the memorial service for Senator Edward Kennedy last month, several speakers mentioned his love of American history and his son, Ted...
Turkey Orloff, made using a recipe created by Julia Child, sits on a plate at a dinner table place setting, next to a Julia Child & Company cookbook
Today’s post is the fifth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, deputy registrar Tom Bower shares his experience with...
In 2005 the museum started a multi-institution collecting initiative to document and preserve the experiences of braceros, Mexican...
I grew up in Colorado. Just about every time I mention that fact to someone, I get asked, “Do you ski?” And for years I would launch into...
A bowl of vinagrette, created with a recipe made by Julia Child, sits next to a bowl of salad and a Julia Child cookbook
Today’s post is the fourth in a series of weekly Julia Child recipes. This week, renovation program director Patrick Ladden shares his...

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