The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
- Produced by the group Zero Population Growth, this button highlights anxiety created by the continued growth of the world’s population, first remarked upon by Englishman Thomas Malthus in his 1798 work, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Paul R. Ehrlich’s bestselling book The Population Bomb, published in 1968, renewed interest in the topic by raising concerns about the potential risks of overpopulation.
- Currently not on view
- Zero Population Growth
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- National Museum of American History