Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.
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"

A pair of children in period clothing stand next to a clapboard house
In 1962 Dr. Alixa Naff set out to tell the story of Arab immigrants from Syria and Lebanon. In addition to investigating an area that had...
Likeness of Ferdinand Foch in black, white and gray against a gray background surrounded by celebratory and commemorative details
Continuing our World War I series, discover an incredible portrait of a war hero.During World War I, several French textile manufacturers...
Two black-and-white photos of anniversary celebrations
We had a remarkable response to our contest to help the museum select photos for its display celebrating the opening of the National Museum...
An old woman, a young woman, a girl and a baby sitting in the living room of an 1860s home
Have you ever been to a bake sale? Or perhaps a craft fair or auction for charity? What about a raffle for charity with a beautiful quilt...
One woman kneels into a display case, placing glass objects onto a blue platform/display armature. Another woman holds design plans on paper and watches. In background, case is open to show objects and text panels.
Imagine you're setting a table with your finest glassware, and finding the best placement for each fragile and meaningful piece. Now...
Color photo of lots of red poppies growing in front of the Washington Memorial. Blue skies and green trees surround.
As Memorial Day approaches, enjoy three examples of how floral symbolism and military history are connected. Much like the Emojis of...
Postcard with photo of two young children wearing ballet shoes. Little boy holds top hat in his raised hand and an over-sized coat. The little girl strikes a pose with a fancy fan and wears a full-skirted tea length dress and a hat with many bows.
Cakewalks, for many, evoke visions of childhood and carnivals. Today, a cakewalk is where dancers promenade around a circle of numbers on...
(Detail) Indoor black and white photo of children gathered around a rectangular table, wearing party hats and waiting to eat cake. The birthday boy, in suit and tie, grins, standing with his hands behind his back with his two-tiered cake in front of him. Behind him, a patterned curtain. Wood-paneled room.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
(Detail) Many people in formal outfits sit at a long table with a white tablecloth. A couple smiles, wearing silly hats, about to cut a cake. Behind them, 15 or 16 people stand on a raised platform or stage, smiling for the photo. Streamers and other decorations are visible on the ceiling. There are tall candles in candle holders on some of the tables.
We're thrilled that our new neighbor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open its doors in September....
Purple fabric with geometric streaks of lavender, violet, pink, and white. Vignettes include figures, churches/grand buildings, etc.
Celebrities today have their own clothing lines, perfumes, and even cosmetic labels. What if the founders of our country had the same...
Poster with image of young woman in military uniform
“Wartime nursing is different,” The American Journal of Nursing soberly noted in 1943. As nurses well knew, wars always...
(Detail) Illustrated comic book cover with three planes and Superman, Batman, Robin saluting and smiling.
May 8 is the anniversary of V-E Day, the day that Germany unconditionally surrendered in 1945 to end World War II in Europe. Young American...
(Detail) Colorful carousel horse with pink saddle and light pink mane
"Unless something is done [the carousel] will turn the minds of people here, and no one would be surprised if in a few days, whole families...
1870s Remington typewriter, black with detailed flowers and patriotic emblems painted on it
The sound of clicking typewriter keys filled the museum's Innovation Wing recently during Type-O-Rama. This event, presented by the ...
Yellow guitar, dark blue background.
The museum will recognize the life and legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson (1958–2016) by displaying his "Yellow Cloud" electric guitar. The...
(Detail) Image of a nature scene with mountains in the background, rocks and a stream in foreground, and trees. Misty, cloud, but slightly sunny.
What would you have done if you saw your river burning? The Cuyahoga River that runs through the northeastern corner of Ohio was so...
(Detail) Black and white illustration of Lincoln's headstone. At his feet, a mythical beast lays half dead, near a scroll that says "Emancipation Act." A figure of Liberty(?) covers her eyes, leaning against it. A figure with dark skin holds his hand to his face. Owls and an American flag on top.
In recent weeks, historical sites and societies throughout the country have been marking the 151st anniversary of the end of the Civil War...
Photo of a stamp. There is a raised floral design, somewhat stylized. Parts that are not to be stamped are flush and not raised.
In the museum's textile collection are over 400 of these curious blocks. What were they used for and when did they come to us? During...
Color block print. High, purple cliffs with a little grass and spindly trees. Sky is green.
During Women's History Month we like to celebrate women represented in the museum's collections. The Gearhart sisters lived and worked in...
Photo of woman with short curly hair, blue dress, and large equipment
Creating art with unusual materials isn't a new idea, nor is combining art with science. But how about using a particle accelerator to...
Earlier this month, we sat down with curator Peter Liebhold, chair of the museum's Division of Work and Industry, to take a look at a...
Close up image of part of a bill. Image of woman weaving.
"How often, when man abandons the helm in despair, woman seizes it, and carries the home-ship through the storm! Man often flies from home...
Photo two nuns walk with a line of students. The girls, at the front of the line, wear white dresses and have headbands on. The boys, in the back of the line, wear blue suits. They're on a sidewalk outside a building.
Over the past few months, I have been cataloging a Catholic school uniform and related Catholic school material for the museum's education...
Photo of red and white basketball with Nike swoosh symbol. Autographed. "NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS."
We asked Eric Jentsch, deputy chair and curator in our Division of Culture and the Arts, for his NCAA bracket picks. Then he disappeared...
Photo of two rifles
Recently, CBS Sunday Morning went behind the scenes in our firearms collection to learn about the history of firearms in the...
Detail image of larger map. Black and white artwork depicting products of Alabama on a map of the state. Icons are included with the products. For example, "paints" is next to a paint can." Other products include writing ink, instant coffee, spiced vinegar, mock cocoanut, breakfast foods, and peanut tofu sauce.
When we blogged about the intriguing Psycho Beautigraph etching of Dr. George Washington Carver created by African American...
Gold coin with eye in center
In May 1848, a boisterous man named Sam Brannan charged down a San Francisco street, hollering, "Gold! Gold! Gold on the American River!"...
Detail of marine chart showing an island
To most people, bird poop is just something they scrape off the windshield of their cars, but it's more important than we may think. In...
Black and white photo of woman smiling in front of sign that says "What makes good lighting" and a model of a house
Imagine your daily life without electricity. Cooking and heating clothes irons on wood stoves, pumping water by hand, reading and working...
Light yellow and white dress, tea-length, short sleeves, scoop neck, delicate pattern
During my internship at the museum, I had the immense pleasure of working with a collection of objects donated by Minnijean Brown Trickey....
President Johnson sits at a desk outdoors with a view of the New York coastline in the background. Many people gather around him watching. American flag on pole beside desk.
The 1960s are known as a tumultuous decade of activism, populated by larger-than-life figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby...
Blue jacket with yellow sleeves, buttons, zippers, and details. Patch on left says "EWBA Champions."
William "Ray" Werner joined the Marine Corps on December 8, 1941. Two years later Ray's mother received the official Marine Corps letter...
Small television with handle and turquoise frame around screen, which is slightly curved
For Super Bowl 50, we're sharing some 1960s objects from the museum's collections to add a little retro flare to any game watching party...
Display in which figures hold up contemporary campaign signs for presidential candidates while standing among historic objects related to voting, such as 1940s voting booths
As I walk into the museum each morning, I notice which figures in our Hooray for Politics display are holding their signs for presidential...
Man with beard facing camera and holding coloring book page with text "Cruz"
Two of the museum's curators, Lisa Kathleen Graddy and Jon Grinspan, are collecting objects at key moments in the 2016 election. We're...
1700s copper chocolate pot
With an intense snow storm bearing down on the mid-Atlantic, we're looking to history and our collections to inspire us about how to eat,...
Khaki uniform with skirt and collared jacket. Large brown buttons and two breast pockets. Brown lace-up boots with small heel. Brown hate with ribbon around it.
I came back from my eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., with a Rosie the Riveter poster from the museum store here (not...
Group of small wooden carved figures, some with painted details.
The first job I had at the museum was working with a collection of more than 3,000 objects from Puerto Rico, all collected by Teodoro Vidal...
Black and white ad with photo of woman in dress with polka dots and umbrella with polka dots. Text: "Silks that express the spirit of sport."
Next in our World War I series this month, a look at what we now consider a go-to, neutral fabric for almost any season.In 1915 American...
Photo of panels of quilt, one with American flag in center
This week, we're exploring how participation—people joining together to accomplish shared goals—shapes American life by exploring our...
Photo of quilt panels
Americans have often banded together for the common good. That could mean marching on the National Mall to protest injustice or...
Photo of fabric. Dark blue background. Images of small children wearing pink, brown, white, and blue outfits. Attached together with string.
Some dolls, some dogs, and a charming Parisian story from our textile collections, part of our World War I series this month.In July 1918,...
Patter with wide white strips, thin black stripes, and stylized bird and anti illustrations
On December 18, 1915, Edith Bolling Galt married President Woodrow Wilson in a ceremony at her home in Washington, D.C. This very private...
Bright red silk top hat, decorated with a silver band and blue stars
When people think of costumes, they tend to think of elaborate, old-fashioned gowns, like the ones in Victorian novel adaptations....
In late December 1915, a century ago, 104 mathematicians and mathematics teachers assembled at The Ohio State University to form the...
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...

Pages