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Smithsonian National Museum of American History
1300 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC  20560

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is a museum located on the National Mall dedicated to American history and culture. Opened in 1964, the museum collects and preserves over 1.8 million objects from military history, American history, pop culture, innovations, Presidents, First Ladies, and more.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Star-Spangled Banner exhibit contains the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland during the War of 1812. The tattered flag was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s lyrics for the Star-Spangled Banner, which became the National Anthem. Read more about it here.
  • The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden exhibit contains over 900 artifacts from the U.S. Presidents, some personal and some related to public office. One of the most popular items is the portable, wooden desk on which Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence while in Philadelphia, PA. Find out more here.
  • The First Ladies collection includes some of their original Inaugural Ball gowns, their White House china and other of their personal artifacts. Check out the Interactive Gallery to see more.
  • The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibition features military artifacts dating back to George Washington. Learn more about the exhibit here.
  • You’ll also see the enormous and controversial marble statue of George Washington in a toga by artist Horatio Greenough.
  • Other famous cultural items such as Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz and famous TV chef Julia Child’s kitchen.

Admission into the museum is free. Self-guides and audio guides are available, as well as an variety of school trips. There are also interactive displays for little ones, daily programs and special exhibits. Find out more on the website.