The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects
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The Smithsonian Institution is America's largest, most important, and most beloved repository for the objects that define our common heritage. Now Under Secretary for Art, History, and Culture Richard Kurin, aided by a team of top Smithsonian curators and scholars, has assembled a literary exhibition of 101 objects from across the Smithsonian's museums that together offer a marvelous new perspective on the history of the United States.
Ranging from the earliest years of the pre-Columbian continent to the digital age, and from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each entry pairs the fascinating history surrounding each object with the story of its creation or discovery and the place it has come to occupy in our national memory. Kurin sheds remarkable new light on objects we think we know well, from Lincoln's hat to Dorothy's ruby slippers and Julia Child's kitchen, including the often astonishing tales of how each made its way into the collections of the Smithsonian. Other objects will be eye-opening new discoveries for many, but no less evocative of the most poignant and important moments of the American experience. Some objects, such as Harriet Tubman's hymnal, Sitting Bull's ledger, Cesar Chavez's union jacket, and the Enola Gay bomber, tell difficult stories from the nation's history, and inspire controversies when exhibited at the Smithsonian. Others, from George Washington's sword to the space shuttle Discovery, celebrate the richness and vitality of the American spirit. In Kurin's hands, each object comes to vivid life, providing a tactile connection to American history.
Beautifully designed and illustrated with color photographs throughout, The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects is a rich and fascinating journey through America's collective memory, and a beautiful object in its own right.
quickly realized he would have to sell a lot of tickets to adults to recoup his investment. Although eleven-year-old Shirley Temple was perhaps Mayer’s first choice for the role, she did not work out. Instead, the lead went to the sixteen-year-old and very adult-sounding Garland, which helped broaden the film’s appeal to teens and young adults. Mayer correctly sensed that the story would strike a particularly resonant chord in a country struggling with despair and uncertainty in the wake of
of Germany into an eastern zone, occupied by the Soviets, and a western zone, occupied by the other Allies, was to be temporary, an interim arrangement until the country could be reconstituted and reunified. That plan took longer than expected, as divisions between the democratic West and the Communist East hardened in the war’s aftermath. Soviet-backed Communist governments took power in Eastern Europe. Speaking in Fulton, Missouri, in March 1946, Winston Churchill provided a graphic image
included as an insert in the 1967 Columbia record album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. Some six million copies of the poster were hung everywhere listeners appreciated Dylan’s music. The combination of Bob Dylan’s songs and the poster captured the attention and the imagination of a generation. Born to a Jewish family and originally named Robert Zimmerman, Dylan was raised in the Iron Range region of Minnesota. In high school in the mid-1950s, he played the new rock-and-roll music that was then
and Space Museum, Inv. A19500100000, accession: 1988-0027, neg. SI-88551. 471 Aerial view from tail gunner’s position of Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay of cloud of smoke billowing twenty thousand feet above Hiroshima, Japan, after the explosion of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb, August 6, 1945. Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, SI-2003-18754. Photograph by S/Sgt George R. Caron. COLD WAR 68. FALLOUT SHELTER 474 Fallout shelter, Universal Tank & Iron
will certainly be heard in the rooms of the Smithsonian.” 30 HARRIET TUBMAN’S HYMNAL AND SHAWL ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AN AMERICAN HERO REFLECT THE DEPTH OF HER FAITH AND THE BREADTH OF THE ACCLAIM FOR HER ACCOMPLISH-MENTS. National Museum of African American History and Culture HARRIET TUBMAN’S HYMNAL AND SHAWL National Museum of African American History and Culture Harriet Tubman (c. 1822–1913) was an unlikely heroine. Petite, sickly, and enslaved