A historic transaction

By Kathy Sklar

A national museum opens to great fanfare after being closed for 2 years. People clamor to get in, to see the Star-Spangled Banner in its new state-of-the-art chamber, to marvel at the newly renovated public spaces . . . and to shop?

Store Who makes a bee-line to a store when there is so much history to see? Believe it or not, there were some regular visitors in the store at 10:01 a.m. But the very first customer was Jim Gardner, our Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs. That makes sense, as he is more than a little familiar with the exhibits, but the store was all new to him. Turns out Jim is writing an article about memorials and the book Letters on the Wall was just what he needed for his research.

That’s what I love about our stores. There are souvenirs, toys, T shirts and jewelry, but also a wonderfully rich and diverse selection of books, reproductions of historical documents, maps, and memorabilia. Whether you are a history buff, a teacher or just a shopper looking for the perfect gift, our stores are bound have something you just can’t resist. (Plus, all income from sales supports the educational activities of the Smithsonian Institution.)

Kathy Sklar is the business program manager at the National Museum of American History.