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Smithsonian Accepts Congressman Sam Johnson’s POW Possessions

Tin Cup, Toothpaste From Vietnam War Join National Museum of American History’s Collections
February 9, 2018
A large helicopter sits in a large space behind low railings on fake ground

Media Advisory

WHAT:     Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will accept Rep. Sam Johnson’s (R-Texas) Vietnam Prisoner of War objects in a special donation ceremony.

WHEN:     Tuesday, Feb. 13
                   1:45 p.m.: Media registration opens
                   2:30 p.m.: Ceremony begins

WHERE:  Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
                   National Mall entrance, Madison Drive between 12th and 14th streets N.W.
                   “Price of Freedom,” exhibition, third floor, at the Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter

WHO:       John Gray, director, National Museum of American History
                   Jennifer Jones, chair, Armed Forces History Division, National Museum of American History
                   Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Smithsonian Regent

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will acquire two objects from Rep. Sam Johnson that represent his seven-year imprisonment as a POW in North Vietnam. A tube of toothpaste and Johnson’s tin cup from the Hỏa Lò Prison dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by American captives in Vietnam, will join the collections. In his autobiography, Captive Warriors: A Vietnam POW’s Story, Johnson said the toothpaste “defied description” and spoke of his cup as being a vessel that represented communication and survival. He will sign a deed of gift and deliver remarks in front of the museum’s Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter that was deployed to Vietnam in 1966.