Curators' Corner

A toy Statue of Liberty was one of thousands sold to raise funds to build the real statue's pedestal.

America’s Got a Case of Souvenir Mania

A new book from a Smithsonian curator looks at the culture and business of memorabilia


Why the Department Store Brought Freedom for the Turn of the Century Woman

Harry Selfridge, a London department store owner, may have opened the doors to more than just his retail store when he gave women a chance to power shop


Oscar Redux: Life is a Cabaret; An Old Friend is Back

For the 40th anniversary of the Oscars that made Cabaret a classic, actor Joel Grey stops by the Smithsonian for a special donation and screening


Poetry Matters: Phillis Wheatley, The Slave Girl Who Became a Literary Sensation

Enslaved at age 8, America's first black woman poet won her freedom with verse

Barack and Michelle Obama walk down Pennsylvania Avenue together on Inauguration day, 2013.

Bangs, Bobs and Bouffants: The Roots of the First Lady’s Tresses

Michelle Obama's modern look has a long history

Inauguration History

If Only Hollywood Would Show Us Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

Our pop culture curator Amy Henderson strolls the halls of the Old Patent Building imagining the scene of Lincoln's 1865 inaugural ball

Shirley MacLaine makes her debut as Martha Levinson this Sunday in “Downton Abbey.”

Are You Ready for Shirley MacLaine’s Entrance on Downton Abbey?

The stage is set. Enter Martha Levinson, a character described as rich, crass and brassy.


Amy Henderson

Amy Henderson

Actor Bing Crosby, Actresses Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, and Actor Danny Kaye, during the 1954 Paramount production of “White Christmas.”

Is White Christmas the Best Popular Song Ever Written?

The idyllic scenes of the dreamy holiday tune were painted by a Russian Jewish immigrant named Israel Baline, better known as Irving Berlin

Kinstler’s character sketch of Plummer is being given to the National Portrait Gallery.

Amy Henderson: A Portrait is a Story Unfolding

Artist Everett Raymond Kinstler's portrait of the legendary performer Christopher Plummer joins the collection as Kinstler is honored in New York City


Amy Henderson: Red Hot Kathleen Turner

The beloved actress takes to the stage as a witty Molly Ivins just in time for election season

Diana Vreeland brought a unique perspective to the fashion world.

Amy Henderson: The Fashion-Forward Life of Diana Vreeland

It was Diana Vreeland, whose skill, imagination and discipline, defined the job of a modern fashion editor

Walter Cronkite, Robert Vickrey, 1966, watercolor, gouache and graphite pencil on paper, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time Magazine

That’s The Way It Was: Remembering Walter Cronkite

A look back at the most-trusted man in news

Duke Kahanamoku, pictured here circa 1915, helped popularize surfing on the mainland and won several Olympic medals for swimming.

Amy Henderson: Team USA!

Guest blogger and Portrait Gallery historian Amy Henderson reflects on the Gallery's Olympian collection


Remembering Doc Watson, Folk Guitar Hero (1923-2012)

Smithsonian Folkways honors the blind folk musician who died yesterday at the age of 89

Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Douglas Granville Chandor

Amy Henderson: The Shock of the Old

For generations immersed in social media, culture means a different thing than it did in 1940

Louis Armstrong embodied stardom in jazz. Photo courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Willoughby

Amy Henderson: Satchmo at the National Press Club

Guest blogger and Portrait Gallery historian Amy Henderson discusses Louis Armstrong and the meaning of stardom


Portrait Gallery Exhibition Named Best Thematic Museum Show in the Country

Lady Mary Leiter Curzon by Franz Von Lenbach, 1901

Amy Henderson: “Downton Abbey” and the Dollar Princesses

A curator tells of 19th-century American socialites, who like Cora Crowley, found noble husbands and flushed Britain with cash

Elvis at 21: Presley reads fan mail on March 17, 1956

Amy Henderson: The Medium is the Message

The Portrait Gallery's Cultural Historian Amy Henderson discusses the museum's vision—to tell America's stories as "visual biography"

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