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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"

Frank Sinatra in hat and tie stands at microphone with music stand in front of him, mouth slightly open
Do you think of Frank Sinatra as a jazz singer? As we celebrate his 100th birthday, guest author Eric Felten explores this question.When...
Case with objects inside
"In the United States associations are established to promote public order, commerce, industry, morality, and religion; for there is no end...
Hat with portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin's reputation for invention and inventiveness looms large in our national imagination: Franklin stoves, Poor Richard's...
"Park and Shop" board game
 This November 27, 2015, the day after Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will kick off the holiday shopping season with what has...
Small brown puppet with big white eyes, photo
Does this puppet look familiar? Remind you of anyone you know? Does he bear a striking resemblance to a famous frog? This is one of Jim...
Football, 1912
"The thud of the cleated boot on pigskin will soon be heard." It's football season! The Ten Thousand Men of Harvard! The Fighting Irish!...
Detail from scrapbook with photo of Saigon and clips of text
When I started my internship in the museum's Division of Armed Forces History, I expected to see reminders of what it was like to be a U.S...
Black and white portrait of George Pal, holding puppet
The National Museum of American History has a number of artifacts donated in 1983 by Elisabeth Pal, the widow of brilliant animation...
A photo of the bicycle in front of a palm tree
An 1896 Columbia woman's bicycle, made by Pope Manufacturing Company and embellished with gems and gold by Tiffany & Co., is currently...
"I call it my diamond dress," cooed Broadway star Carol Channing in her distinctive voice, which combined little-girl innocence with great-...
KCOR Radio Microphone, early 1950s
In the U.S. today, Hispanic media is big business. In 2013, Advertising Age reported that spending in the U.S. Hispanic media market...
Olympia Mills, Columbia, South Carolina, about 1905. The all-electric Olympia Mills opened in 1899 about one mile down river from Columbia Mills. Explosive cotton dust in the air made the switch from open gas lamps to electric lights desirable. Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, 1895-1921
Engineering infrastructure usually isn't the most compelling topic for a blog post—except when it fails dramatically. In the wake of a 1,...
This tin lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1978. Released on the heels of the 1978 "Superman" movie, this lunch box shows Superman flying high above Metropolis in all his costumed glory. Not currently on display.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a suit! And not just any suit! It's the signature blue, red, and yellow suit...
Photo of three boxes of crayons
The kids are back to school and parents have done their best to fill seemingly endless lists of new school supplies. But what did children...
Photo of white overalls splattered with paint
As a curator at the National Museum of American History, I find that exhibitions are one space in which I can bring history to the public....
Image of political cartoon
You may not have heard about the Hart-Celler Act, but as the foundation of our current immigration laws it has had a dramatic impact on U.S...
Political cartoon
The amazing thing about running for president is how many people are actually willing to attempt it. The 2016 campaign's big crop is...
Coin with "1939" and "New York World's Fair" on it
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Scott St. Louis has been working on a cataloging project for a collection of coins and...
A slow disco melody spins on the turntable, interrupted by the metallic sound of symbols. Right after that, the running sounds of bongo...
Place setting and tray used by the Kim family to serve Korean food
Entrepreneurial success and innovative spirit can come in many forms, and emerge from innumerable paths. The same can be said for stories...
Photo from a scene in the television show "EMERGENCY!" with five actors
The pre-reality television show EMERGENCY! premiered in January 1972. Health- and medical-themed programs such as the radio and...
Ben Kuroki was born on May 16, 1917, in Gothenburg, Nebraska, to Japanese immigrant parents. With the onset of World War II, Kuroki and...
Black and white photo of building
Guest blogger Sarah Weatherwax, a photography curator at the Library Company of Philadelphia, brings her expertise to bear on several...
Detail of the cover of "The Quest," which includes illustrations of a baby and a dog
In 1926 seven-year-old Belema Siegfried was turned away from school. The reason? Her parents had refused to submit paperwork proving that...
Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the...
Colorful poster with cartoon-like people traveling to be vaccinated in comic-like scenes. WHO logo in center.
At the height of the Cold War, Soviet and American scientists and physicians united to call for a new and very different war—one on...
Photo of round, wooden table
You've just won voting rights for the women of America. What do you do next? Go to the Smithsonian!The women of The National American Woman...
Titled sign, knocked over half way. Blue circular sign with arrow saying "HURRICANE EVACUATION ROUTE." Below that is square sign with AM FM radio stations for information. There is a dirty plastic bag on the ground.
Late curator David Shayt of the museum's Work and Industry division once said, "All museum work in one form or another is digging in the...
Photo of coin with swirly-bodied dragon thing in center
Ever wonder what it feels like to discover an object not seen for over 1,000 years? Ever been curious about the ancient world? Beginning...
Square shaped lace example, white on black background
"War" and "lace" are not often part of the same sentence. However, laces made in Belgium during World War I are an exception. About 50 of...
Dog look at camera, mouth open
In September 2012, I wrote a blog post about a contract working dog, Fausto, and his handler Jimmy Moore. We were introduced to...
Green pocketbook
In the colonial era, a certain type of pocketbook was all the rage from 1740 to 1790. Both women and men used them to carry valuables such...
Microscope, bronze in color, on small tripod. Small glass in viewer.
"Whoever at the seaside has not had a microscope and an aquarium has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the seaside are." So said...
Photo of bicycle
An 1896 women's safety bicycle, currently on view in the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, has proven to be one of the...
Woman leans over table with white covering and flag in many pieces
In our textile conservation lab, the final pieces of a million piece jigsaw puzzle have just been put into place. The "puzzle" in question...
Lobster on a plate
Our American Food History Project recently introduced Food Fridays, a new cooking demonstration series on the Wallace H...
Circular white button with bold, capitalized text saying "I [heart symbol] ADA"
Activist Justin Dart, Jr. called it a "commandment." Some people think of it as a tangle of regulations, standards, and guidelines. Above...
Photo of display case that says "Consumer Era 1940s-1970s" featuring historic objects. One sign on display says "Sorry! Last car in this line."
On July 1, 2015, we will open a new exhibition: American Enterprise, in the Mars Hall of American Business. It is the...
Consul the Educated Monkey, Smithsonian image AHB2015r00132. Gift of Richard Lodish.
Educator Richard Lodish has just given the museum an example of a computing device called Consul the Educated Monkey. This is one of the...
Pick pack in circle shape
It's often said that necessity is the mother of invention, but it can be the father of invention too. Here’s the story of an innovative...
When you combine the right people and a mix of useful resources in a special place, invention and innovation often result. Here at the...
Milling machine with cranks and gears and four feet, table sized
Having worked at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation for seven years, I see invention and innovation...
Photograph of an America Online installation disk, 1990s
On June 11, 2015, we present America Now, a nationwide celebration of America's innovative spirit. As part of the day's festivities,...
9-11 pin showing Twin Towers and Salvation Army badge
On September 11, 2001, many people watched tragedy unfold on television, dismayed that there was little they could do to help. At her...
Textile object with text in white on red, with blue border
In April 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May to be Jewish American Heritage Month. Jewish American objects in our collections...
Carved wooden temporary grave marker of Lieutenant Charles R. Carville
The first appearance of the "battlefield cross" is a matter of conjecture. It might have been during the Civil War, to signify a dead...
Portrait of Caroline Jones at the start of her career as an advertising executive
A fedora, Lucky Strike cigarettes, and a set of cocktail-ready tumblers: all the hallmarks of a 1960s ad agency were on display Thursday...
Musical device with Dolby system
"'I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy.'"'All right,' said the Cat; and this time it...

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