Staff members with firefighter's helmet artifact in a collections area


The National Museum of American History collects artifacts of all kinds—from gowns to locomotives—to preserve for the American people an enduring record of their past. We have more than 1.7 million objects and 22,000 linear feet of archival documents in our collection.

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Search Tips

As you use our collection database, please keep the following in mind:

  • Our database is a work in progress. We are constantly conducting research, acquiring new objects and documents, and adding more context to our records. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.
  • The search includes material from multiple sources.  A search returns items held in the museum's curatorial divisions, Archives Center, and libraries. Filter controls in the left column allow you to limit your search by data source or other criteria.
  • Most of our collection is not on public display. Only a small percentage of our collection is displayed at any given time. Some records will indicate if an object is on display, but the status is subject to change and online information may not be current.

Archives Center


The museum's Archives Center supports the mission of the National Museum of American History by collecting, preserving, and providing access to archival documents that complement the museum's exhibition, research, and collecting programs.


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Smithsonian Collections


On the Smithsonian's Collections Search Center, you can search over 17.9 million records of museum objects, archives, and library materials across all Smithsonian museums and research centers.


Search all Smithsonian collections