Fragment of Plymouth Rock

Souvenir Nation

Relics, Keepsakes and Curios

Closed January 28, 2015

Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes and Curios featured a selection of diminutive and personal objects that Americans have taken, made and saved as historical mementos from the Early Republic up to the present day. Many of the postcards, structural fragments such as a brick from George Washington’s childhood home, consumer goods, locks of hair and other keepsakes on display are part of the earliest Smithsonian collections now in the museum’s Division of Political History. Highlights included a fragment of Plymouth Rock, presidential hair, wood from George Washington’s coffin and pieces from Joan of Arc’s dungeon, the Bastille and the Berlin Wall.

A companion book, Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, is available from Princeton Architectural Press.