The Smithsonian Institution is a sprawling cultural force in Washington, DC, and one of its most impressive elements is the National Museum of American History. From universally known Hollywood paraphernalia to a look back in time at White House fashion, here are five cool artifacts at the National Museum of History.
The man behind the telephone dabbled in some of the earliest sound recordings in human history. A demonstration of phenomenal sound recovery, the Smithsonian has some of his original audio recordings alongside documents and notes from his workplace, the Volta Laboratory.
America on the Move is an ongoing exhibit at the National Museum of American History with artifacts spanning from the railroad to the highway levitating railcars. Check out the 1903 Winton that Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson drove from San Francisco to New York City—the first transcontinental automobile trip ever. Also in the exhibition? A 4-foot piece of Route 66.
A piece of the American Stories exhibit, Dorothy’s iconic shiny ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz brighten up a display case as one of the museum’s most recognizable artifacts. The exhibit also features a section of the first transatlantic cable and Apolo Ohno’s skates from the 2002 Olympics.
An enlightening and utterly American exhibit, The First Ladies looks at the women married to America’s historic presidents. Jacqueline Kennedy, Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover and even Michelle Obama have gowns and other personal items on display here creating an aesthetic timeline of this unique women.
A section of a lunch counter from Woolworth’s restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina was the impetus for a landmark civil rights event from 1960, when four African American students performed a historic sit-in at the whites-only restaurant.. This landmark artifact at the National Museum of American History is a tangible connection to an act of solidarity that would help shape the decade and our country forever.