A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
"They're swingin' everything else—why not nursery rhymes?" stated Ella Fitzgerald while dancing around the room showcasing some new dance...
Smithsonian Jazz Intern Jake Huss shares the stories behind the selections heard at the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's holiday...

Blog

It's an odd thing to eat an omelet while holding back tears. But that's how I felt prior to the Creativity Round Table, held at...
Black base with Pac-Man logo. On top, large yellow Pac-Man.
A few weeks ago, I discovered, like millions of others, that Google had changed their online logo again to commemorate another special...
As a film archivist at the museum’s Archives Center, I have seen our collections used in many ways. Of course, the most traditional use is...
What causes a hot spot of innovation like Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Silicon Valley to form? There clearly is no magic formula, though...
Los Angeles. The Entertainment Capital of the World. What better place could there be for a presentation on the Smithsonian’s comedy...
Technicolor camera with large lens, camera casing, and four wheels
Every day can be an adventure for the curators, specialists, interns, and volunteers who spend their days digging and researching in the...
One of the best ironic gifts I ever received is a paper bag vase. It’s a ceramic vase in the classic, flat-bottomed shape and classic brown...
This past weekend the iconic actor and member of the counter culture Dennis Hopper passed away. In 2006, Robert Weingarten had the...
Cameras are everywhere. I currently have three devices in my purse that I can take a picture with. We love it when our visitors take photos...
Because our History Explorer team develops K-12 lesson plans and interactives as well as professional development opportunities...
The White House Correspondents Dinner brought quite a number of celebrities to Washington this month. One of the museum’s board members was...
incunabula… incunabula…incunabula… That is the word that that was proclaimed all around me the first day of my internship. I had no idea...
I’ll admit it. Working at the National Museum of American History has some pretty great benefits. I get to meet famous Civil Rights leaders...
Black and white photo of a man and woman looking at pages of paper.
Lena Horne was an American treasure, a cultural icon whose career achievements and social legacy challenged and transformed America’s...
How long is a long bean? And who was General Tsao? These are questions you might ask after you visit our Stars and Stripes Cafe during the...
One of the fun parts of being a curator is deciding exactly what to collect. Sometimes it’s easy—the original helium-neon laser that was...
"I just got a call from the White House and they want us to perform Sing for Freedom for their visitors one day during Black History...
In February of this year, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the sit-in at the F. W. Woolworth lunchcounter in Greensboro, NC. In 1960...
Throughout the spring, the blog has offered up a variety of topics related to freedom. We often use the term to indicate political...
You may know that the museum has around 3 million objects in its collections. You may have guessed—especially if you’ve been here on a busy...
Margarita machine
Why is this homely little brown box, with its sign that identifies it as the "World's First Margarita Machine," living at the Smithsonian?...
Do you like Chinese food? What is your favorite dish? Me, I love za jiang mein, it’s an eastern version of spaghetti with meat sauce. For...
Silicon Valley—we know it’s there, but its borders elude us. The region is synonymous with innovation, collaboration, and the cutting edge...
On Monday, April 26, 2010 we wrapped up our special eleven day program to commemorate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln on...
Who among us hasn’t had to memorize or study Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address? To this day, it is Lincoln’s words that...
So many of the sustainable environmental technologies of today hold promise but are distinctly futuristic—from nanotechnology-based...
What do you think of when you see the name “Abraham Lincoln”? Do you think of the Gettysburg Address? How about the Civil War? Do you get a...
The museum continues its commemoration (April 14-26) of the extraordinary life of Abraham Lincoln on the anniversary of his assassination...
In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s resident big band orchestra, traveled...
That is the question we are asking all week. In collaboration with Ford’s Theatre and President Lincoln’s Cottage, we are choosing one...
This weekend the museum, along with Ford’s Theatre and President Lincoln’s Cottage, continued the commemoration of the...
Album cover
Women in music have always struggled with recognition for their talent but during the mid-1900’s jazz music was a hardly receptive place...
I couldn’t help but laugh. Seriously, I was allowed to watch this at work? My office mate and I huddled around my computer with the...
“Lincoln was such a simple man yet had such a big impact,” reflected museum visitor David Goodman. “It just goes to show you don’t have to...
There is a lot of history in this museum but it is not always alive. It was a different case last Friday, when Maurice Hines was here for a...
In Washington, spring means cherry blossoms and teenagers. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, the city is flooded by tour groups of...
Our picture of the universe has changed dramatically during human history. 500 years ago we knew that the Earth was at the center of the...
You never know what to expect when you head into the Lemelson Center’s Spark!Lab. Visitors might be learning about electricity...
A railroad spike…A 45 RPM record adapter…Baleen as long as my arm… Our netbook… And a whole bunch of handouts. We were ready...
Science? Not really my thing. It’s not that I don’t appreciate science, I just don’t happen to be blessed with the aptitude for it. This is...
The cover of The Daily Graphic of New York, 9 July 1879, pronounced Edison a “wizard.” SI negative #80-18655 New Jersey, or at least that...
Editor’s note: This post was written by Amy Trenkle, a middle school teacher in Washington, D.C. She and her students—along with 200 other...
Just imagine: you live in a time before electricity. No sewing machines, no lights, certainly no America’s Funniest Home Videos ...
Recently I had occasion to read a new biography of James Smithson, the Englishman whose bequest led to the founding of the Smithsonian...
In 1997, a Washington Post article suggested that “For one evening, the inaugural ball gown is the most important dress in the country.”...
Feeling groovy? You will be if you visit the newly renovated store at the National Mall entrance to the museum. Its new look is a tribute...
On February 1, 1960, four African American college students—Jibreel Khazan (formerly Ezell Blair Jr.), Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and...
The stress. The mental focus. Getting your mind "in the zone." Fear, worry, doubt.  The waiting! The anticipation! With...

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