Projects

This page lists major research and outreach projects currently underway at the National Museum of American History.

Smithsonian Jazz

Musicians play their instruments onstage at the museum

Through world-class collections, scholarship, concerts, exhibitions, and programs, Smithsonian Jazz at the National Museum of American History explores and celebrates the American experience through the transformative power of jazz.
 

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The Philanthropy Initiative

white star over blue circle with the text: The Philanthropy Initiative at the National Museum of American History

The Philanthropy Initiative at the National Museum of American History collects, documents, researches, and creates exhibitions and online content relating to the history of American giving. Convening conversations with historic perspectives about philanthropy’s impact across a wide spectrum of issues is central to the project.
 

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Gunboat Philadelphia Preservation

The USS Philadelphia, a Revolutionary War-era gunboar, on display at the National Museum of American History, 2019

A multiyear project is underway to preserve the Philadelphia, an iconic reminder of the spirit of the American Revolution.

 

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Trauma-Based Knowledge Work

A group of men contemplating a 9/11 display

In order to fulfill its mission, the National Museum of American History sometimes shares histories that can be challenging and traumatic, such as the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Exploring these moments is an important part of the museum's work to examine the complexities of the past.  

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Chicanas Changing History

Blue flower with white text in the middle that reads "The First 100". Behind the flower are pink, green, and orange flowers in front of a gradient blue background.

This Chicanas Changing History initiative documents how, over the last 50 years, Chicana historians have transformed the way we do and understand history, as well as who is included in U.S. history.

 

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Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like

Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like with artistic rendering of organizers

The Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like video series explores the experiences of organizers working in today's undocumented movement, documenting history as it happens.
 

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Time Trials

An actor portraying Benedict Arnold speaks to an audience

How should history remember Benedict Arnold? John Brown? In the Time Trials video series, students act as jurors in the Court of Public History. Watch as controversial figures in history discuss their actions and use the videos to debate their legacy.
 

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