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Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Princeton Architectural Press

By William L. Bird, Jr.

7 x 8.5 in; 176 pp;
Hardcover
May 2013
ISBN 9781616891350
ISBN10 1616891351

SKU# 9781616891350

$24.95
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Quick Overview

Buried within the collection of the Smithsonian
Institution’s National Museum of American History
exists an astonishing group of historical relics from the
pre–Revolutionary War era to the present day, many
of which have never been on display. Donated to the
museum by generations of souvenir collectors, these
ordinary objects of extraordinary circumstance all
have amazing tales to tell about their roles in American
history.
Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History


Description

Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes, and Curios from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Buried within the collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History exists an astonishing group of historical relics from the pre–Revolutionary War era to the present day, many of which have never been on display. Donated to the museum by generations of souvenir collectors, these ordinary objects of extraordinary circumstance all have amazing tales to tell about their roles in American history. Souvenir Nation presents fifty of the museum’s most eccentric objects—from a chunk broken off Plymouth Rock to the magnifying glass used to examine the infamous hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election. Smithsonian curator William L. Bird, Jr., regales us with the story of each artifact’s origins and the quirks of fate that brought it to the Smithsonian. Strikingly photographed, these curious objects form a uniquely American narrative: a cabinet of curiosities representing our nation’s most fascinating individuals, both celebrated and obscure, and the keepsakes they left behind.

• Objects include a lock of Andrew Jackson’s hair, a dish towel used as the flag of truce to end the Civil War, the microphones used by FDR for his Fireside Chats, and the chairs that seated Nixon and Kennedy in their 1960 television debate
• Many of the objects have never been exhibited
• An accompanying exhibition opens in Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian Castle in fall 2013
• Includes an introductory essay on America’s passion for souvenir collecting, as well as a brief history and a glimpse behind the scenes of the Smithsonian
• William L. Bird Jr., a Washington, D.C.–based curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, is the author of the PAPress books Paint by Number, Holidays on Display, and America’s Doll House

 

More Details

7 x 8.5 in; 176 pp;
Hardcover
May 2013
ISBN 9781616891350
ISBN10 1616891351
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