25 random things about me

By Dana Allen-Greil

If you’re on Facebook, chances are you were one of the 5 million+ people who shared their oddball habits and remarkable personal experiences as part of the “25 Random Things about Me” phenomenon. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the meme, here’s the gist: “You are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.” Here’s a list of random things about the museum--from the museum’s perspective, of course. 

C-3POC-3PO. Flickr photo by Meaghan Gay

  1. I had a makeover last year and I’ve been really popular ever since. More than a million people have visited me since November 2008. 
  2. Forget MTV’s Cribs, I’ve got 23 rides on view in the America on the Move exhibition alone. 
  3. I heart popular culture. I’ve collected lots of cool movie and TV objects. Right now, in the artifact walls, you can see a C-3PO costume from Return of the Jedi and the laptop computer that Sarah Jessica Parker used as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City.  I’ve even starred in the movies myself—check out some of my collections in the upcoming film, Night at the Museum 2, for example.  
  4. 45 pounds: No, not my target weight loss! That’s how much the Star-Spangled Banner (the flag that inspired the national anthem) weighs. 
  5. Favorite movie quote: “Show me the money!” from “Jerry McGuire.” Must have something to do with the 1.6 million objects in my numismatics collection
  6. I’m apparently very photogenic. 159 people have taken 1,732 photos of me and added them to my Flickr group
  7. I love Julia Child so much I put her kitchen in my house. Literally. Including more than 900 objects from appliances to cookbooks. 
  8. I’m a clothes horse. Would you believe my closet contains over 30,000 artifacts of clothing and accessories? I’ve spent a lot of time finding cool vintage stuff—I’ve got pieces from the 1700s! 
  9. Before you come and visit me you should know something very important: Admission is always free. Oh, and I welcome visitors every day of the year except December 25. 
  10. My first tweet was: “ What hath God wrought! http://tinyurl.com/6bkmwo” on November 13, 2008. Since then I’ve tweeted over 230 times and have almost 800 people following me on Twitter
  11. I have more than a dozen sisters. The Smithsonian family includes 19 museums, 9 research centers, and a zoo.  
  12. The heaviest artifact on display is the 1401 locomotive at 189 tons. That’s the equivalent of about 38 elephants. 
  13. The largest artifact on display is a Georgian-style, two-and-a-half-story timber-framed house. Yes, a house! 
  14. Over 450 volunteers have helped welcome visitors, lead tours, assist behind-the-scenes and otherwise support my work. They’ve donated over 15,000 hours in just over 4 months.
  15. I love to play and I get a huge kick out of hanging out with kids. They seem to really like learning to windsurf in “Invention at Play” and conducting science experiments in Spark!Lab
  16. I’ve got over 3 million objects in my collections. About 4,700 of them are currently on view in the building. There are lots of interesting artifacts on the Web too and I’m working hard to share even more with you online. 
  17. My military history exhibition, “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” is 18,200 square feet and includes 850 artifacts and graphic images in its examination of 250 years of American military conflicts. You can see everything from George Washington’s sword to Gen. Colin Powell’s Operation Desert Storm uniform. 
  18. The most-read post on my “O Say Can You See?” blog is “A Secret Message Inside Lincoln’s watch?” After that it’s “The First Ladies at the Smithsonian: more than dresses,” “A real national treasure,” and “Night at the museum.” Maybe this post will surpass all of them? 
  19. I opened to the public in January 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology, the sixth Smithsonian building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. I’m a National Historic Landmark! 
  20. 70 degrees and…dark! That’s the kind of weather the Star-Spangled Banner likes in its new specially-designed, state-of-the-art chamber
  21. In the last year, people from 213 countries and territories have visited my Web site including 1 from the Vatican. 
  22. Barack Obama wasn’t the only thing that was popular on Inauguration Day. January 20, 2009 was also my most-visited day since my reopening: over 42,000 people came to see me! 
  23. My friends are connected to the Web in all kinds of interesting ways. In 2009, almost 4,000 visits to my Web site came from people using an iPhone or iPod, 216 from an Android, and 38 from a Nintendo Wii. 
  24. I have a five-story doll house with 23 rooms. It houses 19 people, 20 pets, and over 1300 miniature pieces! 
  25. After the usual suspects like “american history museum” and “museum of American history,” “lactogen” came in #27 as the term that people search before landing on my Web site. Random enough for you? 
Dana Allen-Greil is the new media project manager at the National Museum of American History.