Our museum is temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.


The Emergence of Modern America

How did Americans in the Progressive Era use philanthropy to address the issues resulting from industrial capitalism, urbanization, and the United States’s increasing role in world affairs?

How did philanthropy impact American lives during World War One?

Madam C. J. Walker & Pin from the charitable organization The Fatherless Children of France

2015 Theme: Launch of the Philanthropy Initiative

Caption: Clockwise from top right: Bill Gates; Nina Easton, Melinda Gates, Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn; Henry Timms, Premal Shah, Diana Morris, David J. Skorton, Carka Hayden, Sarah Hemminger. Photos courtesy of the National Museum of American History. 

How Evelyn Lauder took on breast cancer at the cosmetics counter

Evelyn H. Lauder help lead a global cosmetics company and used the business to launch a philanthropic campaign that has a worldwide reach.

A Scout By Any Other Name

In 1913, the Girl Guides of America had changed its name to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. To James E. West, Chief Boy Scout Executive, that meant trouble.

How black Philadelphians fought for soldiers during World War I

Worried wounded African American soldiers weren't receiving the same level of care as white soldiers, the Crispus Attucks Circle took matters into their own hands.

Why do we have a National Lace Collection?

Smithsonian volunteers literally traveled the globe to create a breathtaking collection.

Madam C. J. Walker’s philanthropy

A former laundress who became a millionaire from her hair-care company, Madam C. J. Walker was a leading philanthropist of the early 1900s.

A story in clay: Sara Galner and the Saturday Evening Girls

When intern Ella Scheuerell discovered of a shelf labeled Saturday Evening Girls, she found herself falling in love with the story she'd uncovered.