#1 Dad Picture Frame Found in Sonoran Desert

#1 Dad Picture Frame Found in Sonoran Desert

Usage conditions apply
A metal picture frame with the inscription, “#1 Dad.” This frame was found in a remote part of the Sonoran Desert near the Mexican border. The past 20 years has seen a rise in unauthorized border crossing, border enforcement procedures, and debates about who and how migrants should be let into the country.
As the US federal immigration enforcement strategy known as Prevention Through Deterrence (PTD) increased the security presence around urban ports of entry in the mid-1990s, there was a shift in undocumented migration towards more remote regions of the American Southwest. Those making the perilous journey through this inhospitable desert landscape faced extreme temperatures (summer temperatures as high as 100° F/38° C and winter temperatures approaching freezing), rugged terrain, abuse from coyotes (human smugglers), and the risk of getting caught by the Border Patrol.
The site where this was found likely served as a way station used by human smugglers or a site of Border Patrol apprehension. Typical items found at these sites include personal hygiene products such as combs, backpacks, excess clothes, and empty water bottles. This frame documents the generations of migrants that have come from countries south of the United States. Like the material culture of previous generations of migrants, this item may have held images of family members, or would have been for a gift from a son or daughter, a small token to remind someone of home.
Object Name
picture frame
Associated Place
United States: Arizona, Territory of, Nogales
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 5 1/2 in x 3/4 in; 15.875 cm x 13.97 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object