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Note: While history shouldn’t require a spoiler alert, this blog does contain some minor ones regarding the HBO series Watchmen.“You know...
Maybe this painting looks familiar. A long row of red-coated soldiers. A cloud of gun smoke engulfing the street. Falling bodies.Detail of...
The Stonewall uprising began June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, and has since...

Blog Posts in "From the Collections"

Portrait of Madam C. J. Walker, taken in 1915
A former laundress who became a millionaire from her hair-care company, Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) was a leading philanthropist of the...
A white background with a black electric guitar.
James Smithson might be surprised to learn about some of the objects in the collections at the institution he established. The Englishman...
Woodcut showing figures playing baseball
She found symmetry in baseball. She made a triptych celebrating American agriculture. Her portraits featured the work of human hands, her...
A blue vase with art nouveau style flowers around the lip.
I didn't drool on the objects, but exploring the ceramics storage room as an intern at the National Museum of American History was pretty...
A white debutante gown with an empire waste and fabric flowers around the neckline.
"I was 17 years old at the time and the dress made me feel so grown up and beautiful," Pauline "Polly" Carver Duxbury wrote about the dress...
Composite of four images, all showing streets and buildings in New Orleans
Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its founding this year, New Orleans is a city whose culture and cuisine have captivated the American...
Wooden Gavel
Museums are full of “firsts”—objects that represent the first person to complete a task, to win an award, to hold a position, to achieve a...
A statue of Lucretia Mott
January 3, 2018, would have been Lucretia Coffin Mott’s 225th birthday. When it came to birthdays, Mott had a particular way of celebrating...
Mail cache decorated with illustration showing a sled dog team from the perspective of a musher
In this social media world of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, everyone has heard of email (and even those of us who aren’t tech savvy...
Coin with image of braying elephant
Beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss celebrated the importance of small things in the book Horton Hears a Who! with his famous declaration...
A grey skirt suit, with a bolero jacket and a black belt.
What was life like for women in the workforce over the past 150 years? To help answer that question, I turned to the museum’s...
A red tractor
2018 is the Year of the Tractor at the museum. Curator Peter Liebhold explored gems of the museum's tractor collection and what they can...
Two Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders uniforms, complete with blue and white tops and shorts, decorated with stars
In 1976, I was an 11-year-old girl who had always wanted to be a cheerleader, and the only part of Super Bowl X that caught my attention...
A round coin with a square removed from the center. One side is marked with the color orange.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea. I cannot wait to watch the competitions and see some of the...
Two outdoor graves and urns sit side by side, shaded by trees
The trauma of losing its first leader, George Washington, was greatly felt by a new nation. Ezra Stiles, a pastor of the Second...
A red box shaped like a fire house station with a pull handle. The box is decorated with the company logo of Gamewell, complete with a hand gripping bolts of electricity.
At 2 p.m. on February 16, 1968, a special red telephone rang at the police station in Haleyville, Alabama. Rather than a police officer, U....
Two lightbulbs, the bulb on the left has a blue cast
People tend to be creatures of habit. That tendency often shows up when we’re faced with an odd-looking new technology that replaces...
An image of a violet fraternal collar--opulently decorated with golden embroidery and a hand painted eye
Artists have long been major players in American philanthropy. If that surprises you to learn, you might be further surprised to learn that...
Green and brown military uniform with red beret. Owner’s name, Redding, written on left breast
This post is part two in a series. In part one, curator Frank Blazich introduced U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel James K. Redding, who served...
Shoulder patch with image of an eagle in flight and a parachute in the background
A year ago, a visitor to the exhibition The Price of Freedom: Americans at War wrote me that an American advisor’s uniform from the Army of...
Jean Stapleton stands at a podium addressing the crowd wearing a banner that says "Honored." A sign behind her reads: "ERA Yes"
February 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of  the professional debut of Jean Stapleton (1923 to 2013) at the Equity Library Theater in...
Cartoon drawing with title "The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street" shows several men drifting to sleep beneath a large tree whose leaves are made of gold coins.
Peek through a partially opened door in a new exhibition exploring the grandness, boldness, and complexity of America’s democracy. You’ll...
A scientific device sits against a black background. A thick shield of glass obscures the details of the device. It sits on a silver pedestal.
Twenty years before the start of World War I, a new "light" that could pass through a human body revealing its underlying structures caused...
Three books showing different dyes, as well as viles of organic matter.
Valentine is a name not just for a saint, but also for a fabric dyer! I gingerly lifted a stiff cardboard case out of its cold, gray...
Gold coin marked 1838 decorated with stars and the profile of Liberty's head. Liberty wears a head-band that reads "Liberty."
This year marks the 170th anniversary of the California Gold rush! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill...
Collage of images related to military history
The sound of a cart rolling down my hallway always makes my ears perk up. My desk is near the workspace for the Division of Armed Forces...
Black and white photo of a two-story house. Part of a car is visible in the foreground.
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Collage of images taken from various blog posts, from photos of gowns to a portrait of a soldier in World War 1
2017 was another incredible year on the museum’s blog. More than a few of our most-read posts focused on how the museum continues to grow...
Image of what looks like a cell phone with one of its panels removed so that insides are visible.
New inventions always build on inventions of the past—and sometimes more than one. Few devices demonstrate that more clearly than...
Painting of a dark, naval scene with explosions
The calm Southern Pacific night sky distorts in an instant into a maelstrom of fire and thunder. Torpedoes and gunfire hit their mark....
A blue mop bucket.
A bucket from the Ice Bucket Challenge. A collection box from the 19th century. A toolbelt from a volunteer...
Natalia Flores’s pink quinceañera gown
Light pink and very full, the organza and tulle gown took up a major portion of the sofa. Beside it, Natalia had placed her glittery high...
A black plaster bust of George III depicts the king with an engaged expression, complete with open eyes and an open mouth. The bust’s base is inscribed with the latin phrase “pater patriae,” loosely translated as “Father of the Country.”
Several decades after the American Revolution, George had come to be known to many of his countrymen as “pater patriae,” or “the father of...
Gold coin featuring a fierce image of a dragon. Its eyes make eye contact with the viewer. Its body is snake-like. It looks angry. Text: "Szechuen Province."
Imagine a 1,000-square-foot room holding thousands of tiny records of the past. You would probably assume such a room was part of a museum...
A green three piece suit, white tights, and black buckle shoes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical turned international attention to the story of founding...
Rectangular piece of tile with geometric shapes in various colors: black, white, red, yellow, and pink
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. In Part 1 of this...
Weathered top hat
The best documented presidential deaths in the Political History collections are those associated with assassinations. Though the nation...
A rust-colored coin with two lines of text, a frond around the edge and a depiction of a nose, whiskers and beard
 [[{"fid":"23821","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"A rust-...
A dried rose
Collecting souvenirs is often part of happy times in our lives. Who among us doesn’t have a shelf with a shell picked up on the beach, a...
Photograph of the opening of the New York City subway system. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.
William Steinway's diary resides in the National Museum of American History's Archives Center as part of the Steinway and Sons...
Mourning card for Abraham Lincoln that includes excerpts from his second inaugural address. The text is written on a white design made to look like a decorated altar.
When you think about it, funerals and other major life events are not all that different—well, aside from the obvious, that generally...
Last moments of famous people fascinate us. Perhaps as a holdover of the Victorian notion of “making a good death” as a way to ensure...
Commemorative ribbon decorated with a golden eagle, the U.S. flag, and a circular seal depicting Columbus’s arrival in the New World, complete with the text “Landing of Columbus.” At the bottom of the ribon is the following text: National Public School
Since October 1892, countless schoolchildren across the nation have begun their school day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as a daily...
Selena laughs and holds a Coke. She wears a silver vest, white t-shirt, and black pants.
Advertising agencies have relied on images to engage consumers since the late 19th century. Images convey both information and emotion in a...
Photo of white gown in front of black background. It's off-the-shoulder with a cross-body sash in front along with red/maroon tie at waist. Narrow silhouette and slit cascading on one side. Glossy and matte fabric in subtle layers.
Have you heard? We have a new dress on exhibition. It's true. There has been an addition to the First Ladies exhibition. First Lady Melania...
Gold locket with black onyx stones along its border and brown hair embedded in the center under glass.
Just in time for Halloween, your favorite collections managers from the Division of Political History bring you a new blog series: "Death...
Rectangular cardboard box labeled "Rabies Vaccine (Duck Embryo)" in a printed label. It is half open. Inside, vials with liquid are visible.
Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have...
A grainy, black and white photograph of a shirtless man with dark hair being led down a hallway by two uniformed police officers
A note to our readers: This blog post contains imagery that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.Between 50,000 and 150,...

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