A sudden tragedy thrust Rebecca Lukens into the family business and into history, making her the nation’s first woman industrialist and the...
As a little girl, Jessica Govea had become accustomed to rising early and making her way to the fields with her family. During the cotton...
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...

Blog Posts in "From the Collections"

golden sign with red and bold lettering and an eagle holding a paper that says "V-MAIL"
"Oh happy day. Mail at last. Two from Jean and one from Mother. Sure was great to get them." Stationed on the island of Iwo Jima...
Cover of Mining Journal, 1897
Update: The project to transcribe our 1897 mining journal is now complete! Over 50 digital volunteers from 15 different countries...
A young girl stands behind a cake in a room full of seated children wearing party hats.
While scrolling through Facebook one day, Eunice was struck by a sudden memory. "I had a visceral reaction and thought, 'Oh my God!'" She...
A caricature of Jefferson Davis stands bawling with text, "Jeff, on Harper's Ferry. I should think I might be let alone. Boo-oo-oh"
While processing a collection of Civil War scrapbooks, I was surprised to find imagery that reminded me of today's internet memes. A meme...
Yellow scrap of fabric in a frame. Pencil writing on fabric.
This rectangle of yellow cloth is small, only seven by nine inches, but it tells a much larger story. It begins in January 1917, when the...
an envelope that reads "Morse's American Tele" from an office in Troy, NY. The paper is faded and has cursive writing on it.
During my 22 years in the military, before coming to work in the museum's Archives Center, I trained extensively for the possible...
Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton sits on a mat in a gym circled by children of various ages. She appears to be midsentence answering a question from a youth in front of her.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! The Olympics have arrived and it is time for us to send our most brilliant athletes to compete against their...
Silk with a pattern of the Grand Canyon. Bright orange, green, white and reds mimick the crags and dimensions of the famous natural canyon. The pattern goes in every direction to suggest rather than depict the Grand Canyon
Mallinson's Printed Pussywillow—This excellent quality is ideal for blouses, scarfs, and coat linings, offered in a large selection of...
young man wearing a jacket and a kilt seated upon a desk or similar furniture
Oh, sigh! Season two of Outlander (the show in which British World War II field nurse, Claire, slips through time and meets the...
White hat with blue ribbon and black and white photo of John F. Kennedy smiling
Scrolling through social media or watching on TV, you can't miss the pageantry accompanying national political conventions. The bright...
a green square board with a number of small pes attached by screen to a roller contraption with a handle on which lace is stretched
Walking down a street in Chicago in 1901, Sylvester G. Lewis saw a large group of women enthralled with a lady making lace in a window...
women sit in rows in a room using microscopes
I dare not eat / A dead pig's meat / Though not of creed of Moses /For, oh, I fear / From what I hear, / That horrid trichinosis—...
A full-length photo of the sewing machine. It looks like a box with painted doors featuring images of a man and woman. The top is open to show the sewing needle.
Nineteenth century Americans were voracious news-readers, and in 1863, there was plenty of big news. Abraham Lincoln signed the...
A beer comb which looks like a tongue depressor with an elaborate handle that is a black vine-like design
A tall head sits upon a lively body. An inviting aroma wafts forward. In a moment, the rising head is lopped off.Your bartender pours beer...
A pair of children in period clothing stand next to a clapboard house
In 1962 Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had...
Likeness of Ferdinand Foch in black, white and gray against a gray background surrounded by celebratory and commemorative details
Continuing our World War I series, discover an incredible portrait of a war hero.During World War I, several French textile manufacturers...
Two black-and-white photos of anniversary celebrations
We had a remarkable response to our contest to help the museum select photos for its display celebrating the opening of the National Museum...
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...
One woman kneels into a display case, placing glass objects onto a blue platform/display armature. Another woman holds design plans on paper and watches. In background, case is open to show objects and text panels.
Imagine you're setting a table with your finest glassware, and finding the best placement for each fragile and meaningful piece. Now...
Color photo of lots of red poppies growing in front of the Washington Memorial. Blue skies and green trees surround.
As Memorial Day approaches, enjoy three examples of how floral symbolism and military history are connected. Much like the Emojis of...
Postcard with photo of two young children wearing ballet shoes. Little boy holds top hat in his raised hand and an over-sized coat. The little girl strikes a pose with a fancy fan and wears a full-skirted tea length dress and a hat with many bows.
Cakewalks, for many, evoke visions of childhood and carnivals. Today, a cakewalk is where dancers promenade around a circle of numbers on...
(Detail) Indoor black and white photo of children gathered around a rectangular table, wearing party hats and waiting to eat cake. The birthday boy, in suit and tie, grins, standing with his hands behind his back with his two-tiered cake in front of him. Behind him, a patterned curtain. Wood-paneled room.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
(Detail) Many people in formal outfits sit at a long table with a white tablecloth. A couple smiles, wearing silly hats, about to cut a cake. Behind them, 15 or 16 people stand on a raised platform or stage, smiling for the photo. Streamers and other decorations are visible on the ceiling. There are tall candles in candle holders on some of the tables.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
Purple fabric with geometric streaks of lavender, violet, pink, and white. Vignettes include figures, churches/grand buildings, etc.
Celebrities today have their own clothing lines, perfumes, and even cosmetic labels. What if the founders of our country had the same...
Poster with image of young woman in military uniform
“Wartime nursing is different,” The American Journal of Nursing soberly noted in 1943. As nurses well knew, wars always...
(Detail) Illustrated comic book cover with three planes and Superman, Batman, Robin saluting and smiling.
May 8 is the anniversary of V-E Day, the day that Germany unconditionally surrendered in 1945 to end World War II in Europe. Young American...
(Detail) Colorful carousel horse with pink saddle and light pink mane
"Unless something is done [the carousel] will turn the minds of people here, and no one would be surprised if in a few days, whole families...
1870s Remington typewriter, black with detailed flowers and patriotic emblems painted on it
The sound of clicking typewriter keys filled the museum's Innovation Wing recently during Type-O-Rama. This event, presented by the ...
Yellow guitar, dark blue background.
The museum will recognize the life and legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson (1958–2016) by displaying his "Yellow Cloud" electric guitar. The...
(Detail) Image of a nature scene with mountains in the background, rocks and a stream in foreground, and trees. Misty, cloud, but slightly sunny.
What would you have done if you saw your river burning? The Cuyahoga River that runs through the northeastern corner of Ohio was so...
(Detail) Black and white illustration of Lincoln's headstone. At his feet, a mythical beast lays half dead, near a scroll that says "Emancipation Act." A figure of Liberty(?) covers her eyes, leaning against it. A figure with dark skin holds his hand to his face. Owls and an American flag on top.
In recent weeks, historical sites and societies throughout the country have been marking the 151st anniversary of the end of the Civil War...
Photo of a stamp. There is a raised floral design, somewhat stylized. Parts that are not to be stamped are flush and not raised.
In the museum's textile collection are over 400 of these curious blocks. What were they used for and when did they come to us? During...
Color block print. High, purple cliffs with a little grass and spindly trees. Sky is green.
During Women's History Month we like to celebrate women represented in the museum's collections. The Gearhart sisters lived and worked in...
Photo of woman with short curly hair, blue dress, and large equipment
Creating art with unusual materials isn't a new idea, nor is combining art with science. But how about using a particle accelerator to...
Earlier this month, we sat down with curator Peter Liebhold, chair of the museum's Division of Work and Industry, to take a look at a...
Close up image of part of a bill. Image of woman weaving.
"How often, when man abandons the helm in despair, woman seizes it, and carries the home-ship through the storm! Man often flies from home...
Photo two nuns walk with a line of students. The girls, at the front of the line, wear white dresses and have headbands on. The boys, in the back of the line, wear blue suits. They're on a sidewalk outside a building.
Over the past few months, I have been cataloging a Catholic school uniform and related Catholic school material for the museum's education...
Photo of red and white basketball with Nike swoosh symbol. Autographed. "NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS."
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...
Photo of two rifles
Recently, CBS Sunday Morning went behind the scenes in our firearms collection to learn about the history of firearms in the...
Detail image of larger map. Black and white artwork depicting products of Alabama on a map of the state. Icons are included with the products. For example, "paints" is next to a paint can." Other products include writing ink, instant coffee, spiced vinegar, mock cocoanut, breakfast foods, and peanut tofu sauce.
When we blogged about the intriguing Psycho Beautigraph etching of Dr. George Washington Carver created by African American...
Gold coin with eye in center
In May 1848, a boisterous man named Sam Brannan charged down a San Francisco street, hollering, "Gold! Gold! Gold on the American River!"...
Detail of marine chart showing an island
To most people, bird poop is just something they scrape off the windshield of their cars, but it's more important than we may think. In...
Black and white photo of woman smiling in front of sign that says "What makes good lighting" and a model of a house
Imagine your daily life without electricity. Cooking and heating clothes irons on wood stoves, pumping water by hand, reading and working...
Light yellow and white dress, tea-length, short sleeves, scoop neck, delicate pattern
During my internship at the museum, I had the immense pleasure of working with a collection of objects donated by Minnijean Brown Trickey....
President Johnson sits at a desk outdoors with a view of the New York coastline in the background. Many people gather around him watching. American flag on pole beside desk.
The 1960s are known as a tumultuous decade of activism, populated by larger-than-life figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby...
Blue jacket with yellow sleeves, buttons, zippers, and details. Patch on left says "EWBA Champions."
William "Ray" Werner joined the Marine Corps on December 8, 1941. Two years later Ray's mother received the official Marine Corps letter...
Small television with handle and turquoise frame around screen, which is slightly curved
For Super Bowl 50, we're sharing some 1960s objects from the museum's collections to add a little retro flare to any game watching party...
Display in which figures hold up contemporary campaign signs for presidential candidates while standing among historic objects related to voting, such as 1940s voting booths
As I walk into the museum each morning, I notice which figures in our Hooray for Politics display are holding their signs for presidential...

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