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Note: While history shouldn’t require a spoiler alert, this blog does contain some minor ones regarding the HBO series Watchmen.“You know...
Maybe this painting looks familiar. A long row of red-coated soldiers. A cloud of gun smoke engulfing the street. Falling bodies.Detail of...
The Stonewall uprising began June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, and has since...

Blog Posts in "From the Collections"

Ralph Baer passed away on December 7. The world will remember him as the inventor of the first video game. Here at the Smithsonian, we also...
Tarima and shoes used by Martha Gonzalez in California, 1999
As the Museum gears up to open new exhibitions in 2015, 2016, and 2017, our curators have combed the country, looking for the richest...
When I was in eighth grade, my government teacher gave us a homework assignment that I did not do. The next day, we were told to hand ...
Two documents reveal the high tech significance of merchant and entrepreneur Cyrus W. Field's anniversary party, 124 years ago today....
With the news that the Smithsonian has created the first-ever 3D presidential portrait, Intern Haley Rivero shares a close-up experience...
Cartoon shows a large group of men and women from of various races, ethnicities, and  cultural backgrounds gathered around a table for a meal. At the head of the table, Uncle Sam carves a turkey; the table's center is dominated by the model of a temple with the words "Universal Suffrage."
Thanksgiving is often imagined as a time of gathering and inclusion. We frequently picture our quintessentially American holiday as when we...
Horse hoof cauterized and preserved with a coat of shiny black enamel
In the early morning hours of March 30, 1890, in Washington, D.C., the collision of two horse-drawn fire wagons racing to answer an alarm...
Raccoon hat
Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers shares the story of Davy Crockett's coonskin cap. It had previously been on view in Starring North...
Stubby the dog
Veterans Day is a time to commemorate the brave men and women who are serving or have served in the armed forces. However, the service of...
Spitz Junior Planetarium
On November 17 and 18, I'll be in my backyard hoping for clear skies as the Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky. Here in the museum's...
15th century painting depicts hand cannons in action
The 620-year-old solid piece of iron is as heavy as it looks. Examining this brutally simple hand cannon, it's hard to imagine that...
Man with camera in military uniform
Using a camera taken from a German officer who had died in battle, Paul Bland documented his experiences across Normandy, Northern France,...
Peter Pan brand by the Northwest District Fruit Sales Company Inc. of Wenatchee, Washington
125 years ago this November (November 11, 1889, to be exact), President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation admitting Washington as the...
Trying deodorant on arm
Intern Caitlin Kearney follows a 111-year-old deodorant recipe. For history!Over the summer, I've been doing research for a new hands-on...
North Korea is sometimes called The Hermit Kingdom due to the secretive nature of its government and its closed society. I never expected...
Cover of Tetris game
When one thinks of symbols or images of the Cold War, one might say nuclear missiles, Sputnik, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev's shoe...
Small folder with red ribbon on black background
One of the most fascinating objects that came to my attention during my time as a Smithsonian postdoctoral research fellow is a rather...
"When witches go riding,and black cats are seen,the moon laughs and whispers,'tis near Halloween."- Author UnknownFrom the decorations in...
Object Project interns Caitlin Kearney and Kamilah Stinnett explore the origins of packaged candy, a modern convenience that signaled...
LBJ Campaign sticker in the shape of a cowboy hat
Recent news of state and local elected officials stepping up their campaigns for the 2014 November elections brings to mind the fascinating...
The presidential campaign of 1896 was an emotional one—and much of the political maneuvering may look familiar to voters today. A key...
On the right, the motorcycle parked in a driveway with a license plate that reads "Guatemala 1979-1983."
In museums, it's common for a single artifact to tell many diverse stories, far beyond the scope of any one exhibition. Christine Miranda,...
Selena's outfit in the collection
Iconic cultural objects have the power to preserve beloved chapters of history long after they come to a close. As we approach the 20th...
Suzy Homemaker children's toy from 1950s-1960s, turquoise, with fake food inside
It was like Christmas morning in 1968 when our Suzy Homemaker toy refrigerator arrived at the museum (new in box, with original staples!)....
Word cloud of words visitor wrote in comments about 9/11 memories, the words "think" and "happen" are biggest
Visitors to the museum's 2011 commemorative event September 11: Remembrance and Reflection were invited to share their stories...
Camo coat
On the third anniversary of the death of Army Specialist Christopher Horton, Curator Kathleen Golden shares the story of his camouflage...
Civil War General Sherman in coat with buttons, seated, grim expression
On the 150th anniversary of the fall of the city of Atlanta to the Union Army's Division of the Mississippi during the Civil War, we're...
Compilation record of Moon's recordings. Photo by Danny Lyon. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collection.
Fifty years after Freedom Summer, when students risked their lives to advance the cause of civil rights, intern Sydney Johnson explores...
White and blue tennis Dress, worn by Bille Jean King during the "Battle of the Sexes"
As objects representing Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning history enter the museum's collection today,...
Fogleman's vehicle registration
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business with the passage of the American steamship SS Ancon, which had...
A square object depicting trees in front of a lake with mountains in the background and a turquoise sky. The edges are very white and distinct.
One hundred and sixty years ago on August 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau published Walden, a transcendental tribute to solitude,...
Cartoon designed cover of BASIC book on computer games
Fifty years ago, mathematicians John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire introduced BASIC, a new language for...
An advertisement for Kinney Bros
In honor of the running of the Hambletonian Stakes, a major event in American Harness Racing, on August 2, intern and equestrian Ariel...
A gold belt buck with "US" on it is seen in close-up through other costume elements
Watching this year's Academy Award-winning movie 12 Years a Slave compelled me to think about my internship research on objects...
Jimmy Carter's FFA jacket, front and back
What do a former U.S. president, a spotted hog raiser, two former teachers, and a librarian have in common? They're all FFA (formerly known...
In a black-and-white photo, a child prunes a cotton plant
We recently asked for your help in collecting an FFA (Future Farmers of America) jacket with a great personal story—and you came through!...
A pair of black and dark green field glasses
Curator Deborah Warner's research on a valuable accessory may reveal a connection to President Abraham Lincoln's assassin. This...
Female staff member wearing blue gloves prepares to remove a brown Girl Scout uniform from an exhibition case
Why don't our exhibitions last forever? Where do they go when we take them down? Intern Elisabeth Warsinske reports on the afterlife of a...
These 1961 Richard Avedon photographs capture First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wearing a dress designed in collaboration with Oleg Cassini, her official White House couturier
As staff of the National Museum of American History, we're often told that we have "the coolest jobs." We know we're lucky! But what's it...
At the Super Bowl, Renee Fleming prepares to sing in a black and white dress
As part of our blog series about the Star-Spangled Banner leading up to Raise It Up! Anthem for America on Flag Day 2014, curator...
In this 1911 postcard created by the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the stars on the flag represent states that have voted for suffrage.
Hat on or off? Right or left hand? What if it gets dirty? These are some typical questions people have about customs and rules surrounding...
Here in the museum's Division of Medicine and Science, we're undertaking an inventory of the museum's dental collection, and we discovered...
Flag in dark room at angle
The Star-Spangled Banner is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States. Huge, vibrant, and rich in history, most Americans are...
This watercolor by Akio Ujihara depicts snowy Manzanar War Relocation Center in California
As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Project Assistant Christy Wallover shares three meaningful objects from the museum's...
A curly blond wig with short hair
You may love the Marx Brothers' Horsefeathers, Duck Soup, and Animal Crackers, but did you know the comedy group was once...
On the left, a 1966 Ford Mustang (yellow). On the right, a young man holding keys. Photo is from 1970s.
In the early 1960s, activists, professionals, and idealists changed America, making headlines and history. In 1964, the year of the New...
Man and woman in historic Abercrombie & Fitch camping and fishing outfits
Abercrombie & Fitch might be best known today for its teen casual clothing and risqué window displays. But the company was once the go-...
Brown shredded tree stump, black background
On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania, Museum Fellow Jesse Gant shares the story of one dramatic Civil War relic.On May 12...

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