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"

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...
Microscope
In the store-rooms of the museum, we recently discovered a small microscope made around 1750. The "I. CUFF Londini Inv. & Fec."...
One hundred years ago on May 7, 1915, the Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,195...
Pin with child's face and "I gave my tooth to science"
Who collects baby teeth? Most of us would say "the Tooth Fairy." But in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Tooth Fairy had a competitor in both...
Soldier sits posed in grass with fellow soldiers, wearing uniform and looking at camera
In 1922, four years after her American son was killed in action in World War I, Sallie Maxwell Bennett received a letter from Emil...
Students show off their letters on a bulletin board
My main memory as a fourth grader in 1972-73 was playing "Little Willy" by The Sweet on the classroom's record player while waiting...
Lincoln's hat
April 15 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Across the country, there will be numerous remembrances and...
Thursday, April 9, marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. In recognition of this...
An early self-portrait of inventor and businessman Robert Cornelius, taken in 1839. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
We often rely on our colleagues who have expertise in specific areas to guide us in our selection of objects for the American Enterprise...
"America" airplane and two men beside it
Ya just never know what you will be offered at the National Museum of American History!A few weeks ago, I accepted a small collection of...
Detail of image: two men with camera and hats
Boston-area photographer George K. Warren, with studios variously in Lowell, Cambridge, and Boston, started as a daguerreotypist in the...
Roy Rogers and Trigger yo-yo, yellow and red
April Fool's! It is not Yo-yo Heritage Month, so we unfortunately will not be sharing yo-yo facts all month. But...
Curator preparing “Abigail” doll for display in the “American Enterprise” exhibition.
A small, 11" cloth doll might seem like an incongruous object for discussing the issues of the American Great Depression. Yet enduring the...
Watercolor image of woman with red flowers
During the 1890s, just about any flat surface in the public eye might be covered with simple, bold, and colorful posters. They advertised...
Baseball players group photo
The year was 1944. A playoff series between two all-star baseball teams generated ample excitement. Gila River fought Heart Mountain...
Jefferson's Bible, open
What was the significance of religion in the early history of the United States? In the summer of 2017, we will open a new exhibition...
Boxing belt with Irish and American symbols
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, staff members have selected four objects that reveal facets of the Irish American experience.Dan Gifford,...
Illustration of an ambulance-style van with a red cross and text: "U.S.A. X-Ray Car No. 4"
In 1897, at the age of 22, Henry Lyman Saÿen's career in scientific instruments seemed to be set. Little did he know that his talents would...
Two women wearing hats in WWI photo
The scream of incoming shells would send French peasant women dashing to their cellars for safety, but then they would pick their...
Campaign badge with a photo of Grant and gold-colored frame
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Chelsea Hansen has been working with General Ulysses S. Grant's collection of...

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