The National Museum of American History
After an extensive 18 month, $85 million dollar renovation, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is set to re-open on November 21. This is a significant event because A) it's a great place to visit and B) I'll be working as a volunteer Docent at the Museum! That's right...on the first and third Saturdays of every month, I'll be leading "Highlight" Tours of the NMAH. Stop by if you are in the area.
A look at what will be the main hall in the NMAH.
The Smithsonian is a unique institution, funded by both federal funds and money from the original funding endowment. The nominal head of the Institution is the Chancellor, an office which has always been held by the Chief Justice of the United States at the time. The Smithsonian has a 17-member Board of Regents; eight of the Regents are United States officials: the Vice President (one of his few official legal duties) and the Chief Justice of the United States, three United States Senators, and three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Smithsonian Institute has 19 museums, 9 research centers, and one zoo (The National Zoo, here in DC).
The original Smithsonian building, known as "The Castle"
In 1980, the Museum's name was changed to the National Museum of American History to better represent its basic mission-the collection, care, and study of objects that reflect the experience of the American people.
The National Museum of American History opened to the public in January 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology. It was the sixth Smithsonian building to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On June 28, 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill authorizing $36 million for the museum. Groundbreaking took place on August 22, 1958 and the building is approximately 750,000 square feet. The building's location on the National Mall also qualifies it as a National Historic Landmark.
The Museum has more than 3 million artifacts in their collection (only a small percentage is shown at any time). The collection is diverse and extremely broad, covering subjects in Science/Medicine, Entertainment, History, Pop Culture, Sports and Military, among others.
Here's some of the most famous and widely viewed items:
You can visit the Museum's extensive website here:
You can see some photos and more details about the renovation here: