Today, the Washington Senators are most remembered for their ability to finish in last place. Despite their successful early history marked...
José Feliciano will remain forever celebrated for his perennial Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad," one of his many hit recordings that have...
Advertising agencies have relied on images to engage consumers since the late 19th century. Images convey both information and emotion in a...

Blog Posts in "Invention & Innovation"

"There is no subject attracting more attention at the present time among men of science throughout the world, than the newly discovered...
Lightbulb patent
If time-travel were possible and I could pick a moment, I'd choose Menlo Park, New Jersey, for my destination on New Year's Eve in 1879.As...
For me, it's almost hard to imagine a holiday season without Coca-Cola. The adorable polar bear commercials, the penguins romantically...
Atari E.T. cartridge in landfill dirt
The video game history collection at the museum has some amazing objects in it that represent big moments in the development of the...
"Health corsets" and ready-to-wear clothing will be a part of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, opening July...
Ralph Baer passed away on December 7. The world will remember him as the inventor of the first video game. Here at the Smithsonian, we also...
Tarima and shoes used by Martha Gonzalez in California, 1999
As the Museum gears up to open new exhibitions in 2015, 2016, and 2017, our curators have combed the country, looking for the richest...
Two documents reveal the high tech significance of merchant and entrepreneur Cyrus W. Field's anniversary party, 124 years ago today....
An early ready-mixed paint can at Sherwin-Williams in Cleveland, OH.
Editor/Writer Leslie Poster took one for the Object Project team by adding a little detour to her family visit in Cleveland, Ohio...
Alexander Calder's Gwenfritz on the day of its rededication On Halloween day, a gorgeous 40-foot-tall black specter...
Spitz Junior Planetarium
On November 17 and 18, I'll be in my backyard hoping for clear skies as the Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky. Here in the museum's...
15th century painting depicts hand cannons in action
The 620-year-old solid piece of iron is as heavy as it looks. Examining this brutally simple hand cannon, it's hard to imagine that...
North Korea is sometimes called The Hermit Kingdom due to the secretive nature of its government and its closed society. I never expected...
Cover of Tetris game
When one thinks of symbols or images of the Cold War, one might say nuclear missiles, Sputnik, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev's shoe...
Suzy Homemaker children's toy from 1950s-1960s, turquoise, with fake food inside
It was like Christmas morning in 1968 when our Suzy Homemaker toy refrigerator arrived at the museum (new in box, with original staples!)....
Fogleman's vehicle registration
On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened for business with the passage of the American steamship SS Ancon, which had...
Cartoon designed cover of BASIC book on computer games
Fifty years ago, mathematicians John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire introduced BASIC, a new language for...
A pine tree shilling coin from the Massachusetts Bay colony
Educator Victoria Altman introduces a new book-based summer activity to share with youngsters, especially budding entrepreneurs.Most...
A curly blond wig with short hair
You may love the Marx Brothers' Horsefeathers, Duck Soup, and Animal Crackers, but did you know the comedy group was once...
On the left, a 1966 Ford Mustang (yellow). On the right, a young man holding keys. Photo is from 1970s.
In the early 1960s, activists, professionals, and idealists changed America, making headlines and history. In 1964, the year of the New...
math device
The logarithm is 400 this year. Glen Van Brummelen, a fellow in the Dibner Library of History of Science and Technology, explains...
3 old cell phones
Cell phones have come a long way since the "gray brick" that many of us remember. Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation...
pin that says "Conservationists for Jimmy Carter"
As we celebrate Earth Day amidst increased public attention to the implications of human-induced climate change, Curator Jeffrey K. Stine...
Young man posing on a bike with low handle bars. He wears short shorts and t-shirt with stripes, perhaps racing clothes. He is African American.
Can you imagine not knowing Babe Ruth? What if Muhammad Ali and his accomplishments had been lost to history? What if you didn't know who...
a spirograph kit is open, revealing plastic wheels and instructions
Remember that fun, spiral-drawing toy from the 1960s called the Spirograph? Turns out, those cool curves you made as a kid actually...
A woman in a yellow sweater prepares a document for digitization
Have you ever seen a box full of money—well, not exactly, money, but certified plate proofs? What about stacks of boxes? Stacks on stacks?...
Sean White clothing and snowboard
"Citius, Altius, Fortius"—translated as "faster, higher, stronger"—is the motto of the modern Olympic Games. This phrase could also sum up...
Trade card for a heart remedy featuring illustration of heart
Valentine's Day is traditionally for those whose hearts are all aglow with love, but the cardio-obsession also led the Center for Disease...
Theologian and chemist Joseph Priestley immigrated to the United States in 1794 after a mob destroyed his house and laboratory in...
Apple Macintosh (“classic” 128K version), 1984
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Apple's famous "1984" television ad that aired on January 22, 1984, during the third quarter of the...
The Museum of History and Technology (our previous name) was dedicated on today’s date 50 years ago, opening to the public on the following...
teapot
In honor of Benjamin Franklin's 307th birthday, curator Deborah Warner shares an experiment Franklin isn't known for—and, no, there's no...
He's watching you Darth helmet
The National Museum of American History's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation recently hosted its annual symposium,...
Portrait of Joseph Henry in suit
Today, scientists grapple with tension between two types of research: applied research that attempts to solve specific real-world problems...
Radio
Fifty years ago tomorrow, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Curator Hal Wallace looks at how Americans would...
3 perfusion pumps
Judy Chelnick, a curator in the Division of Medicine and Science, chats with us about the museum's collection of artificial hearts and...
To kick off National Diabetes Month, pharmacy curator Diane Wendt shares how the Smithsonian has covered the history of insulin...
Electrophoresis set-up (two boxes, wires, probe)
Science history is an integral part of the American story. Mallory Warner, a project assistant in the Division of Medicine and Science,...
Pigeon in jacket blueprint
Exploring our Archive Center's Maidenform collection, intern Lindsay Keating found an interesting story about how pigeons supported World...
Medal with man's face in profile
While exploring a collection of portraits of leading thinkers in mathematics and computing, curator Art Molella became curious about the...
William Hammer sitting in his lab. This black and white photoprint is part of the William J. Hammer Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
While cataloging a collection of electrical artifacts, curator Hal Wallace noticed one with an odd burn mark. His curiosity led him to this...
intubation kit
As part of her work on a partnership between this museum and the National Library of Medicine, Project Assistant Mallory Warner researched...
New York Journal cover with Lindy's face and plane
A 1936 article in The Literary Digest claimed that aviator Charles Lindbergh's scientific work "would probably be remembered long after his...
Ford's house with green lawn, columns
For Henry Ford's 150th birthday today, Christopher Wilson, Director of the Program in African American History and Culture, shares a...
Edward Wadsworth. "Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool," 1919.
Last week, Intern Joseph Brichacek explained how one World War I artist found inspiration from colorful camouflage. Today, he examines how...
Vest with gold buttons
Scholar Sarah Weicksel continues her exploration of Civil War clothing with a look at the bullet proof vest.In late March 1862,...
Photo of man demonstrating the jaws of life on wrecked car
In today's post, Roger White, Associate Curator for Road Transportation with the Division of Work and Industry, shares the stories behind...
Art in a library, examining documents
James Smithson is the reason why we're called the "Smithsonian Institution," but much of his papers and mineral collections were destroyed...

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