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. They 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. They 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.” Their collections form a fascinating mosaic of American life and comprise the greatest single collection of American history.
The exhibits 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 favorites 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 objects are on display, creating a new way of experiencing history. A schedule of temporary and traveling exhibitions will offer visitors something new on almost every visit.
The National Museum of American History opened to the public in January 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology. It was the sixth Smithsonian building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Since then, some 4 million visitors a year have passed through the doors to enjoy the Museum’s exhibitions, public programs, educational activities, collections, and research facilities.
The building’s location on the National Mall qualifies it as a National Historic Landmark. In 1980, the Museum’s names was changed to the National Museum of American History to better represent its basic mission – the collection, care and study of objects that reflect the experience of the American people.
Throughout its reopening year, the museum will present new exhibitions and programs.