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National Treasures of Popular Culture

National Treasures of Popular Culture

Please note: In preparation for the renovation of the museum’s West Exhibition Wing, this gallery is now closed. Visitors will be able to see Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Kermit from the Muppets, Archie Bunker’s chair, and other items beginning April 12 when a new signature exhibition, American Stories opens. See the Scarecrow's hat and boots from The Wizard of Oz in 1939.

Music, sports and entertainment play major roles in American life, shaping our national memory and often defining what is American to the nation and to the world. The infinite variety of popular culture offers a democracy of choices. The memorable objects and ideas in this exhibition were a sampling of more than a century of collecting at the Smithsonian.

This exhibition featured:

  • Farrah Fawcett's swimsuit
  • Eddie Van Halen's guitar
  • Characters from "Sam & Friends"
  • Olympics-related treasures, including Brian Boitano's ice skates, Nastia Luikin's leotard, Bobby Morrow's 1956 gold medal, and an  Olympic torch from the 1984 Summer Games
  • Objects from Charles Schulz, the cartoonist who created “Peanuts” 60 years ago, including drawing utensils, an animation cell from the television special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and two comic strip panels that show the cartoonist’s progression from rough pencil sketches to finished ink strips
  • Chairs and other props from the television show "All in the Family"
  • Simba mask from "The Lion King"
  • Michael Jackson's hat