Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian establishment has been America's museum considering 1846. What do its large collections -- from the ruby slippers to a section of Plymouth Rock, first women' robes to patchwork quilts, a version T Ford to a personalised Ford LTD low rider -- inform americans approximately themselves? during this lavishly illustrated advisor to the Smithsonian's nationwide Museum of yank heritage, Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick inform the tales in the back of greater than 250 of the museum's treasures, a lot of them by no means sooner than photographed for book. those tales not just exhibit what the US as a state has made up our minds to save lots of and why but additionally converse to altering visions of nationwide identity.

As the authors show, perspectives of heritage switch through the years, tools of ancient research evolve and increase, and America's realizing of the earlier matures. Shifts in concentration and perspective lie on the fireplace of Legacies, that is equipped round 4 innovations of what a countrywide museum of historical past should be: a treasure condominium, a shrine to the well-known, a palace of development, and a replicate of the kingdom. therefore, the museum collects loved or useful gadgets, homes superstar memorabilia, files technological advances, and displays viewers' personal lives. Taking examples from technological know-how and know-how, politics, ornamental arts, army historical past, ethnic background, pop culture and daily life, the authors supply ancient context for the paintings of the Smithsonian and shed new gentle on what's vital, and who's incorporated, in American historical past. all through its background, Lubar and Kendrick finish, the museum has performed a necessary position in either shaping and reflecting America's feel of itself as a nation.

From the Hardcover edition.

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