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Director's Welcome

Anthea Hartig
Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D.
Elizabeth MacMillan Director
National Museum of American History

Warmest greetings and bienvenidos!

Our museum’s doors have reopened after six months, and we are ready to welcome those of you seeking a place of respite, learning, and reflection. When you visit, you will find safety signage, social-distancing reminders, a new contactless security system, enhanced filtration with our HVAC system, and plenty of hand-sanitizing stations. The Smithsonian is placing the health and safety of our visitors and staff at the forefront.

Since March, Americans have seen almost every aspect of their lives impacted dramatically by numerous crises, as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic as well as economic hardships and lasting racial disparities. We are a nation and a people that have lived through two world wars, the devastating flu of 1918, the Great Depression, and the struggle for civil rights, and history tells us that we can get through this together.

Thus, let us all embrace the nation’s unifying motto: e pluribus unum, out of many, we are one.

Our exhibitions American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith and Many Voices, One Nation show us how that motto and the great experiment of our shared democracy have evolved and expanded over our nearly 250 years as a country. With the 100th anniversary of woman suffrage, we explore the complex, complicated, and often incomplete story in Creating Icons: How We Remember Woman Suffrage. And beginning October 9, Girlhood (It’s complicated) will position girls at the front lines of change, using their voices—even if they don’t have a vote.

For those not able to travel, we have enhanced our online offerings, ranging from support for teachers, parents, and caregivers with learning resources and live Social Studies workshops in English and Spanish to our first collaboration with Google Arts and Culture, which makes available 15,000 digitized posters from our military and political history collections.

Whether you come through the door or through, I know that you will find a story that resonates with you, and that together, we will look at the deep and rich complexities of our past, so we can create a more informed, just, and compassionate future together. 



Anthea M. Hartig, Ph.D.
The Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of American History