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National Museum of American History
National Mall, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. N.W.,
Washington, DC, USA,
The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History dedicates its collections and scholarship to inspiring a broader understanding of our nation and its many peoples. We create opportunities for learning, stimulate imaginations, and present challenging ideas about our country's past.
The Museum collects and preserves more than 3 million artifacts - all true national treasures. We take care of everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner and Abraham Lincoln's top hat to Dizzy Gillespie's angled trumpet and Dorothy's ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Our collections form a fascinating mosaic of American life and comprise the greatest single collection of American history.
Our exhibitions explore major themes in American history and culture, from the War of Independence to the present day. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War surveys the history of U.S. military conflicts and examines ways in which wars have been defining episodes in American history. America on the Move immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and sensations of transportation in the United States from 1870 to the present. Familiar favourites back on view include The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden, Within These Walls and First Ladies at the Smithsonian. New artifact walls and special cases mean that a larger selection of our objects are on display, creating a new way of experiencing history. A schedule of temporary and travelling exhibitions will offer visitors something new on almost every visit.
The Museum hosts a full roster of public programs, from demonstrations, lectures and tours to storytelling and festivals. Music programs offer performances by chamber music ensembles, a jazz orchestra, gospel choirs, folk and blues artists, Native American singers, dancers, and more. In Spark!Lab, the Lemelson Center's newest hands-on science and invention space, visitors can experiment with dry ice, invent new uses for paper bags and discover the story behind inventions like the boxed cake mix, among other activities. The brand new Nina and Ivan Selin Welcome Center allows for expanded visitor information services with increased one-on-one contact.
The Museum's Archives Center houses a remarkable array of American history in documents, photographs and other works. These include the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, advertising histories of major U.S. corporations, and the Duke Ellington Collection sheet music, correspondence and photographs related to the life and career of the great composer and jazz musician.
Our website offers virtual exhibitions, behind-the-scenes glimpses into our collections and an overview of Museum programs and activities. Using the website, you can plan your visit to the Museum or go on a tour from your home. The Smithsonian's History Explorer, the Museum's new education website, offers free, standards-based, innovative resources for teaching and learning American history. We even have our own blog, Oh Say Can You See, where you can stay updated on what's happening at the Museum.
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