Notice for Sunday, January 16: Due to inclement weather, the National Museum of American History will close at 2 p.m..
It’s late winter of 2006 and an ornate silver speaking trumpet is on offer at a prestigious New York City auction house. The engraved...
Piano maker William Steinway woke up on March 12, 1888, and discovered "the most fearful snowstorm . . . I ever experienced" had buried New...
Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio, curator of Latino History and Culture in the Home and Community Life division, and intern Jonathan Borda...

Blog Posts in "From the Collections"

Eight insignia patches decorated with symbols, including elk, moons, swords, and stars.
Like many around the world, I spent the afternoon of January 6, 2021, watching the news and absorbing the chaotic events unfolding at the U...
U.S. map. One large arrow beginning in Jamestown, Virginia cuts through the U.S. South, labeled “God’s Curse Slavery.” Another arrow, starting in Plymouth, Massachusetts, cuts through the U.S. North, labeled “God’s Blessing Liberty.”
Is there room in Americans’ Thanksgiving celebrations for both thankfulness and mourning?That challenging question arose as my colleagues...
Gordo comic strip. Uncle Mio (wearing a suit and carrying a box of chocolates bouquet of flowers) talks to his nephew, who explains the qualities of different types of flowers. Behind the two figures appear precise, scientific diagrams of flowers.
On February 3, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle writer Wyatt Buchanan reflected on the life of Gustavo "Gus" Arriola, creator of the comic...
Martha Raye in conversation with members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Raye and the soldiers sit outside on benches.
Around 1966, Dr. Carl Bartecchi was serving as an army flight surgeon in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. When units in his area engaged...
Conservator sews linen thread along the spine of the Caramelo Deportivo album
In preparation for an exhibition, all objects undergo a thorough assessment of their condition. Conservators determine whether the objects...
Cover of the Caramelo Deportivo baseball card album decorated with illustrations of player and related baseball ephemera
Caramelo Deportivo baseball card album after treatment by conservation technician Verónica Mercado Oliveras. The album contains cards of...
Four images. Leather pants and jeans, orange and white Cuban rumba dress, a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball jersey with the player number 21, and a margarita machine decorated with faux-wood paneling.
The National Museum of American History has over 2 million items in its collections, spanning every topic you could think of. And from...
Wagon panels with faded artwork advertising a traveling production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, leaning against a wall outside a building
During my time at the museum’s object conservation lab, I discovered that a set of painted panels in the museum’s collection had quite a...
Los Boricuas jersey, with initials SS, the team name, and the the team's cartoon mascot, a stylized coqui frog in a baseball uniform and helmet, standing at bat
Custom uniforms display cultural pride and signal Latino presence and excellence in baseball, America’s pastime. The colorful jerseys and...
Cartoon illustration of the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall buried underneath stacks of crates and barrels marked with the initials, "TR."
“The East African Express is Arriving” pen and ink drawing by Clifford Kennedy Berryman, dated August 25, 1909 (GA.12195)This pen and ink...
Glass tube with label for helium inside a wooden box, adjacent to the box's removed lid
This glass tube, part of the museum’s collection, once contained a sample of helium. Its paper label reads, “HELIUM / SIR W. RAMSAY, K.C.B...
Cher Ami
This summer marks the centennial of a bird—possibly the most famous pigeon in history—going on display at the Smithsonian. A representative...
Group of people led by Dr. Marie Curie and President Harding walking down steps at the White House
One hundred years ago Marie Curie stood among the rose bushes, the press, and a crowd of White House guests, holding a golden key. The key...
Case showing changes in girls' uniforms in exhibition, Girlhood: It's complicated
"Girlhood (It’s complicated)" opened to the public on October 9, 2020.Three years ago our museum convened a diverse group of scholars and...
Detail of ten dollar note showing illustration of an interiror iron foundry with figures working
A sudden tragedy thrust Rebecca Lukens into the family business and into history, making her the nation’s first woman industrialist and the...
Photo of the Capitol Building from the National Mall, with a person in a military uniform walking in the foreground
On January 6, my wife and I watched the live news broadcasts in disbelief at the scenes unfolding on television, as a violent mob stormed...
Sponges of diverse shapes and colors arranged in a line
While the iconic egg-shaped Beautyblender sponge is wildly popular and used by makeup professionals and everyday people from all...
Theodore Roosevelt on a beach
Within a gallery stands a rifle once presented to Theodore Roosevelt. It is perhaps an odd gift, considering that it was given to him with...
Boycott Grapes button
Until the successes of the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the 1960s, agriculture was one of the last industries to hold out on unionization...
Bate Baret personalizado
Custom Baret bat, Woodbridge, Virginia, 2018Gift of Juan Baret Bate Baret personalizado, Woodbridge, Virginia, 2018Donación de Juan...
Medal with Christopher Columbus
In October 1792, the United States of America was still a new country, not even a decade old, fresh from a complete government overhaul...
Debate chairs from the 1960 election
Presidential debates first became part of the campaign landscape when John Kennedy and Richard Nixon sat across from each other in 1960. It...
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
Last year I began working as a stage manager for Join the Student Sit-Ins, an interactive theater program at the museum set in 1960. The...
Frank A. Taylor examines the construction of the National Museum of History
A mere 75 years ago aboard the battleship Missouri, representatives of the Japanese Emperor, his government, and the Imperial General...
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could not rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA...
After months of uncertainty, Major League Baseball will begin a shortened season at Nationals Park. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the...
For John Lewis, activism for social change was a communal activity. He believed that people coming together to mentor, protest, and learn...
For Michael and Robert, the quick peck before a walk around the lake with Michael’s son was an ordinary moment. For J. Ross Baughman, it...
Newspaper clipping
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...
Mary Walker
Mary Edwards Walker defied convention in just about everything she did. Walker was uncompromising in her beliefs about herself and the...
In March 1995, Ladies Home Journal named Dr. Florence Haseltine one of the ten most important women in medicine. Haseltine, currently...
Maggie Lena Walker was one of the most important Black businesswomen in the nation, and today too few people have heard of her.Maggie Lena...
An illustration of Civil War-era African American troops in the U.S. military posing with the U.S. flag in the background
Every election season in the United States revolves around a set of issues—health care, foreign affairs, the economy. In 1868, at the...
Costume monarch butterfly wings
The museum has created a new collecting initiative focused on how undocumented activists are leading fights for political representation....
A line of people wait outside the Baltimore branch of the NAACP in 1843
In 2020, the Fifteenth Amendment—the first voting rights amendment added to the U.S. Constitution—celebrates its 150th anniversary. You’ve...
This week, the third impeachment trial of a sitting U.S. president begins. As we prepare to bear witness to this historic moment, we...
Happy days are here again banner.
January 17, 1920, was an important day in American history. Why? Because on that day the grand social experiment called Prohibition was...
Have you ever wondered how companies pick their holiday card designs? How do they know what will sell? During the 1880s, Boston...
What weighs a quarter ton, has four wheels, was the first of its kind, and was built in Pennsylvania? The Bantam Jeep Prototype of course!...
An etching of a man with a musket.
“About the prints … I make no comment, save that they were made from the indelible impressions of war. They are not imaginary. I saw them...
A group of people by what appears to be a hot-air balloon.
Q: What’s cylindrical, made of wax, and part of one of history’s great showdowns?A: These records in the museum collection with audio...
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II. After almost constant...
Codex costume and staff, as worn by Felicia Day in The Guild
Codex costume and staff, as worn by Felicia Day in "The Guild." Costume designed by Sarah Trost; staff designed by Greg Aronowitz....
Tinted portrait of a man.
In November 2019, Private First Class Francis X. McGraw’s Medal of Honor will go on display in our Price of Freedom exhibition. This is his...
You know Kermit, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. But you might be surprised to learn their...
If you were to buy a donut and cup of coffee at the Donut Bar in the Royal Grand Hotel in Monrovia, Liberia, you would more than likely pay...
Imagine a dark and stormy night. A headless horseman chases a frantic school teacher through the woods. What do you picture? Is it...

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