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 "Music"

A graphic with a red background and a white illustration of the neck of a guitar with a bird resting on it.
The weekend of August 15 through 18, 1969, approximately 400,000 revelers traveled from near and far to inhabit the rolling fields of Max...
Music blasts toward the audience as concertgoers dance to Steve Aoki's pounding bass rhythms and bright LED displays. The DJ throws cakes...
Musical inspiration abounds in the collections and exhibitions around us. As interns in the Making American Music project, we get to follow...
Photo of album cover featuring Aretha Franklin shown in four reflections with stained glass background
Today we're reflecting on the life of singer, songwriter, diva, civil rights activist, and cultural icon Aretha Franklin. Over 100 of...
Sheet music cover, 'Get off the track!'
Turn right at the Batmobile. Take the elevator behind the John Bull locomotive. If you hit Julia Child's kitchen, you've gone too far. My...
An illustration showing crowds of well-dressed people gathering beside their seats in Madison Square Garden, as well as crowds approaching the building from the outside
Piano manufacturer William Steinway kept a diary from 1861 to 1896. It resides in the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center...
A yellowed page with black text announcing the "Grand Concert in aid of the Russian Jewish Refugees"
The arts are "a space where we can give dignity to others while interrogating our own circumstances," Darren Walker, president of the...
Norman Granz and Ella Fitzgerald stand side-by-side in front of a microphone
A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
A white background with a black electric guitar.
James Smithson might be surprised to learn about some of the objects in the collections at the institution he established. The Englishman...
In a black and white photo, a woman stands behind a microphone and sings in a dark room. A jazz band is behind her, and they are smiling.
"They're swingin' everything else—why not nursery rhymes?" stated Ella Fitzgerald while dancing around the room showcasing some new dance...
A photograph of a smiling man, his arms outstretched, in front of an exhibit with images on the wall, objects against it, and signs with captions on them.
Only a few days after the passing of James Cotton, one of the country's greatest blues harmonica players, we lost one of our greatest...
Photo of a large space with high ceilings. Tables in the center include space for inventing. Cabinets on both sides contain cases with museum objects, including what looks like a guitar. Above, in lights, is a sign that says "Spark Lab."
Around age eight I decided I wanted to play the violin. Fortunately, my parents had the access and money to buy a new instrument for me....
Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald sit in front of a microphone
Within the Ella Fitzgerald Papers collection, a hidden gem reveals a surprising connection between Fitzgerald and President John F. Kennedy...
Illustration for sheet music that says "Fair Hawaii" at the top in yellow text atop green palm trees. A woman in a lei and grass skirt sits in the center looking at a red, setting sun
In recent years, the ukulele, or jumping (lele) flea (‘uku) in Hawaiian, has received a renewed appeal. I've heard the instrument make...
Image from stage showing multiple tiers of audience packed into the seats
Are you a Wagner fan? If so, you were likely excited by the Washington National Opera's presentation of The Ring of the Nibelungen, a cycle...
Sheet music cover with witches
How would you describe a witch? Black pointy hats probably spring to mind, as well as a range of distinguishing ugly features like crooked...
Latin Jazz postage stamp
On October 16 and 17, the museum's own big-band-in-residence, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will kick off their 25th...
Document listing radio stations
Independence Day is often celebrated with picnics, parades, fireworks, and music. While I can't help with the first three, music is...
Black and white photo of people of all ages exiting through a door, some holding programs. Signage advertises upcoming concerts and shows.
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation's Places of Invention explores what happens when the right mix of...
D.C.-area musicians Little Benny on saxophone and and MeShell Ndegeocello on bass. Photograph by Thomas Sayers Ellis, used with permission.
Experience live go-go music on Thursday, June 11, 2015, as part of our America Now! Music Festival.In the early 1970s, musical pioneer...
3 guitar heads
Happy 100th Birthday, Les Paul!June 9, 2015, is an important day for the guitar and music world: It is the centennial of the birth of...
Dole pineapple ad in very saturated color with can, fruit, and ukulele
The ‘ukulele, or ukulele, as it's spelled in American English ("uke" for short), is one of the first things that many people associate with...
Watercolor of Strayhorn in progress
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), with a variety of events and programs throughout the museum and country designed to...
Sheet music cover
On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a congressional act that made Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" the...
Queen Elizabeth II meets Duke Ellington
Smithsonian Jazz Intern Jake Huss shares the stories behind the selections heard at the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's holiday...
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...
You can learn a note or two of jazz history every day, just by reading @CelebrateJAM's tweets. Adam Whitehurst, the intern behind the...
Slack key guitar
What do cows have to do with slack key guitar music? Sarah Coffee from our education outreach team explains.For this month's episode of the...
Sheet music titled "Southern Collection"
On certain days this winter, you could hear fiddle music coming from the Civil War section of our Price of Freedom exhibition. It...
Signed leather with silver studs
Rocking leather jackets, teased hair, and loud music, Nova Rex traveled across America in the 1980s and early 1990s, living the rock 'n...
Record album with black and white photo of the Beatles
Eric Jentsch in our Division of Culture and the Arts shares the story of the first Beatles concert in America, which took place right here...
For a good part of the twentieth century, Harlem’s Apollo Theater was one of the most prestigious, important, and well-known venues for...