Smithsonian Institute


National Museum of American History
Washington, DC  
Website: Smithsonian Institute

The Popular Entertainment Collection contains some of the Smithsonian's most beloved artifacts. The ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz reside here, along with the Muppet character Kermit the Frog, and props from popular television series such as M*A*S*H and All in the Family. But as in many of the Museum's collections, the best-known objects are a small part of the story. The collection also encompasses many other artifacts of 19th- and 20th-century commercial theater, film, radio, and TV—some 50,000 sound recordings dating back to 1903; posters, publicity stills, and programs from films and performances; puppets; numerous items from World's Fairs from 1851 to 1992; and audiovisual materials on Groucho Marx, to name only a few.

About the Smithsonian Institute (Popular Entertainment Collection): National Museum of American History Washington DC

The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Among the items on display are the original Star-Spangled Banner and Archie Bunker's chair. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and located in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall.

Each wing of the museum's three exhibition floors is anchored by a landmark object?a large, significant artifact that highlights the theme of that wing. Landmark objects include the John Bull locomotive, the 1865 Vassar Telescope, the Greensboro lunch counter, George Washington Statue, a Red Cross ambulance and a Dumbo ride car.

Artifact walls consisting of 275 feet (84 m) of glass-fronted cases line the first and second floor center core. The artifact walls are organized around themes including: arts; popular culture; business, work and economy; home and family; community; land and natural resources; peopling American; politics and reform; science; medicine; technology; and America's role in the world.

The exhibitions in the west wing of the third floor are focused on entertainment, sports and music and include "Thanks for the Memories: Music, Sports and Entertainment History," the Hall of Musical Instruments and "The Dolls' House." A Dumbo ride car is the signature artifact for this section of the museum.

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Smithsonian Institute: National Museum of American History, Washington, DC