Tag Archives: National Museum of American History

101 awesome Smithsonian artifacts, plus a set of Spidey tights

If you were wondering which artifacts made The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects but didn’t want to shell out the shekels for the book, you’re in luck.  Here’s the whole list, plus an interview with author Richard Kurin.

Speaking of the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American History is getting a costume from that Spider-Man musical.  Seems like an odd addition for the NMAH.  I saw that show when I was in New York this past summer, and it was pretty meh.

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Pilgrims, iPods, and everything between

A new exhibit at the National Museum of American History covers pretty much everything from the first English colonies to the present day.

Highlights include Benjamin Franklin’s walking stick and a genuine Kermit the Frog puppet.  Anyone who wields both items simultaneously cannot be killed in battle, save by the hand of the Archangel Gabriel.

You can read more about the exhibition at the Smithsonian’s website.

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Storage conditions at the Smithsonian need improvement

…according to a new report.  Read it and weep.

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The Smithsonian should’ve jumped on this

Take a look at these sample ads produced as a portfolio project by Jenny Burrows and Matt Kappler.

These things have been circulating online, originally with the Smithsonian’s name and logo.  A lot of folks assumed that they were actually part of a Smithsonian ad campaign.  I thought this was some of the best public history PR I’d ever seen.  It turns out the Smithsonian wasn’t aware of them until they went viral, and then asked one of the creators to remove the name and logo.

I think they’re awesome.  The folks at the National Museum of American History should’ve snapped this up in a heartbeat.

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Benedict Arnold is getting the trial he never had

…courtesy of the National Museum of American History, and you can be on the jury.  It’s a neat idea for a program.

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National Museum of American History almost ready to re-open

Large ImageAfter extensive renovations, the National Museum of American History re-opens on Nov. 21.  You can follow the progress on a fascinating blog that’s running on the museum’s website.
The NMAH is one of the newer buildings in the Smithsonian chain, but this revamped interior was badly needed.  I’ve always found the old floor plan extremely hard to navigate.  From what I’ve seen online, the new design promises to be much more open than the old interior’s dark corridors and low ceilings.
When I was a kid, the Smithsonian was about as close to Mecca as you could get, although I was usually more interested in the Nationl Museum of Natural History than the NMAH.  For a five-year-old, a fossil gallery and a preserved squid carcass in the same building is pretty hard to beat.  I’m still a dinosaur fanatic, but I’ve mellowed enough to spend a few hours with the historical artifacts down the road.
Museums serve their visitors by teaching them, but also by simply bringing them face-to-face with the raw materials of history.  In terms of the significance of its holdings, the NMAH isn’t just a museum, it’s our national temple.
(The image of the Star-Spangled Banner is from the NMAH’s website.)

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