American History Museum

Over the span of two years, Washington visited all 13 original states (14 if you count Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts), traveling on horseback and by carriage along rutted dirt roads and over rising rivers.

When George Washington Took a Road Trip to Unify the U.S.

Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book follows the first president on his 1789 journey across America

The stock certificate pieced back together and encased in mylar

Smithsonian Voices

How Conservators Preserved This Stock Certificate Destroyed on 9/11

The certificate arrived in the Smithsonian's Paper Conservation Lab as a pile of paper bits stored in an envelope

Flight 93 fuselage and call button, now housed in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

September 11

These Free Online Resources Tell the Story of 9/11 and Its Aftermath

Browse 12 archives, databases and portals that help users deepen their understanding of the attacks

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Flight attendant Lorraine Bay carefully recorded every flight she worked in this log book, found near the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

September 11

Thirty-One Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11

From a Pentagon rescuer's uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy

Breakup albums take listeners through the stages of a breakup much like the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The Heart-Wrenching History of the Breakup Album

From Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' to Olivia Rodrigo's 'Sour,' love and loss has an ever evolving soundtrack

Smithsonian Voices

How the Smithsonian Collected Artifacts That Told the Story of Hurricane Katrina

“The history of racial violence is often erased and highly contested in the battle to define American memory," says the museum's director Anthea Hartig, "and this vandalized sign demonstrates the ramifications of ongoing efforts of remembrance and social justice."

Smithsonian Displays Bullet-Riddled Sign That Documented Emmett Till's Horrific Murder

A month-long exhibition invites conversations addressing ongoing racism in America

R2-D2 droid costume featured in the movie Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, currently not on display at the museum

Smithsonian Voices

Why Isn't My Favorite Artifact on View at the Smithsonian?

These are just a few of the many reasons a specific object might not be on display at a museum

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

SpongeBob on a stick is the closest we come today to the forgotten fad of molded ice cream.

The Lost Art of Molding Ice Cream Into Eagles, Tugboats and Pineapples

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ice cream makers used metal casts to create fanciful desserts

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

An interactive lunch counter at the African American History Museum lets visitors grapple with moral dilemmas of the civil rights movement.

Race in America

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on Why the Smithsonian Is Talking About Race

In a deeply divided moment, a new initiative aims to bring Americans together by reckoning with our racial past

Helina Metaferia, Crowning Care 1, 2021

Innovation for Good

Pioneering Project Explores Motherhood Through the Lens of Design

A new exhibition and book series offers an intimate view of reproductive history

Rebecca Lukens

Smithsonian Voices

How Rebecca Lukens Became the Nation's First Woman Industrialist

A sudden tragedy thrust this pioneer into the family business and into history, making her the first woman to run an iron mill in the United States

This glass tube, part of the museum’s collection, once contained a sample of helium. Its paper label reads, “HELIUM / SIR W. RAMSAY, K.C.B., LL.D., F.R.S. / THOMAS TRYER & CO., Ltd. / STRATFORD, LONDON, ENGLAND.”

Smithsonian Voices

The History of How to Store Helium

With large and easily tapped natural supplies, the United States became the world’s leading helium producer

Del Martin, left, and Phyllis Lyon were officially wed June 16, 2008 in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after legalization.

The Incredible Story of Lesbian Activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

After first meeting in 1950, the couple was instrumental in founding the nation’s first organization for gay women

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

Team USA Stamps

Smithsonian Voices

The Science Behind a Faster, Higher, Stronger Team U.S.A.

The unsung heroes behind the Summer Olympics are the scientists and engineers whose inventions and innovations help athletes

Babe Didrickson’s brash behavior along with her decorated athleticism (above: second from right in the 80-meter hurdle) challenged every imagined ideal for a woman athlete in the 1930s.

The Tokyo Olympics

Olympian Babe Didrikson Cleared the Same Hurdles Women Athletes Face Today

The star track and field athlete of the 1930s boisterously challenged gender expectations with her record-setting athleticism

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