Sesame Street was an innovative and radical children's television program when it premiered in 1969. In the 1960s, many parents were...
Suffering from "shell shock and a general breakdown," Charles Mackall and James Randall arrived in Philadelphia in September 1918 from...
As our Philanthropy Initiative continues to explore the history of giving, we're eager to share stories of success and failure. This story...

Blog Posts in "From the Collections"

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,...
A long history of attempts at treating plague are represented in the museum's collections. Clockwise: a bottle to hold a preparation of scorzonera, or viper’s grass; a container used to store a paste of eggs, honey, and other ingredients; a jar intended for pulverized bezoars; and a bezoar formed from ingested hair in the stomach of an ox.
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...
An open brown box. The top of the box has a label reading "via air mail" and a stamp that says refrigerate, but no other markings. Insides the open box, there is a pipette and other components of the pregnancy test.
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...
On a boat with waves in the background, a young man with blonde hair holds a video camera to his face. He wears a military vest and pants with bare arms. In front of him--the subject he is filming--is a gun or other military equipment on the boat. An operator's forearm is visible holding/manipulating the gun or equipment.
The Vietnam War was the nation's first televised war. Within hours, combat footage of young Americans in uniform in the jungles of South...
An elaborate outfit comprising a crimson robe with matching skirt with gold lace overlay. There is a sloping sash placed around the shoulders and a hat with four points.
In reflecting on National Coming Out Day, Curator Kenneth Cohen was reminded of the fascinating story of Charlotte Cushman that we've...
A model of the head and decolletage of what used to be a woman but is now a creature with leathery and deteriorating skin opening its lipless maw hungrily. It doesn't have arms.
When my daughter, Katelyn, told me I would like a new TV show that had aired on Halloween night in 2010, I was skeptical. I'm not a big fan...
A folded white cloth napkin with writing on it. The notes and graph demonstrate Laffer's theory of supply side economics.
Every museum curator searches for that incredible iconic object, a fabulous artifact that is both physically interesting and represents a...
Newspaper clippings, white cards with handwritten text, and a photograph on old, faded paper. There are dark streaks on some of the clippings and the page.
October is American Archives Month—a great time to flip through the old family scrapbooks and spend time preserving these homemade albums...
Cover of Leopoldo Martinez's red leather scrapbook. The embroidered book has features the text: Scrap Book.
Leopoldo “Polín” Martinez was a highly talented semiprofessional baseball player who toured with clubs in Mexico, Texas, and Southern...
Four figurines lined up against a background. They wear colorful clothing, carry different items and have objects on their heads
When Janice Hatfield, a collector of Mexican American folk art, first visited Mexico in the 1960s, she had an instantaneous feeling of home...
A black and white photograph of a wall inside a building covered in a line of photographs with text panels and large lettering.
As frightening reports of North Korea's nuclear missile tests fill the news, many of us long for the days when the only television coverage...
A dark-haired woman in a gold hat and top holds up a bottle of Coca Cola and smiles. There is a dark border created by the visible film strip around the photograph.
From the 1950s to 1970s, U.S. advertising started to shift from mass marketing to recognizing and defining distinct target markets. A...
A colorful mask with red antlers, a black face covered in yellow dashes with two yellow horns. The eyes are exaggeratedly large and the mouth is open with many thin white teeth. There are bells attached all over the mask.
Getting to handle and study treasured artifacts, pursuing fascinating research adventures all day, and building inspirational exhibitions—...
Photo of World Trade Center site after attacks of September 11, 2001. Two or three workers in hard hats and uniforms are in the cherrypicker of a crane, shooting a fire hose downward in a gentle arch. A battered wall or part of a building visible left.
About a month after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, I received a phone call from a colleague asking if I wanted to take a trip up to New...
On a white background lies a rectangular piece of paper with chunks missing. It looks like a puzzle because some pieces are lined up next to each other. There is a second partially destroyed document laying to the right.
The history behind a single object can often tell many stories. In 2004 the museum acquired a stock certificate from an early Internet...
Photograph of lunch counter with four chairs
"I walked away with an attitude that, if our country is screwed up, don't give up. Unscrew it, but don't give up."   ...
An object that appears to be made of a rolled piece of crimped paper with accordion folds that is sat upright. There is a painted design on it that appears to be an eagle with American imagery.
Even before they got the vote, young people were historically involved in politics, particularly in the last half of the 19th century. From...
(Zoom/Detail) Black and white photo of a woman on a stage. On stage are six fridges, two lamps, and a big banner that says "REA." On a table on the floor in front of the stage, a lamp. There are decorative tassels.
Before Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Giada De Laurentiis, there was Louisan Mamer (1910–2005). An early employee of the Rural...
A shiny metal object with a round base and small wooden handles. There is an object resembling a covered bowl with white material inlaid bearing an illustration
Americans eat a lot of waffles. According to the restaurant chain Waffle House, approximately 145 waffles are sold at the eatery throughout...
A woman stands inside a case with metal objects attached to poles, and there are lanterns hung up. She holds a white cloth out and attempts to clean the glass in front of her.
As collections managers and museum specialists, our job is to care, physically and intellectually, for the museum's objects. We research...

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