Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
The Smithsonian Institution is America's largest, most important and most beloved repository for the objects that define our common heritage. Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research Richard Kurin, aided by a team of top Smithsonian curators and scholars, has assembled a literary exhibition of 101 objects from across the Smithsonian's museums that together offer a marvelous new perspective on the history of the United States.
Ranging from the earliest years of the pre-Columbian continent to the digital age, and from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each entry pairs the fascinating history surrounding each object with the story of its creation or discovery and the place it has come to occupy in our national memory. Kurin sheds remarkable new light on objects we think we know well, from Lincoln's hat to Dorothy's ruby slippers and Julia Child's kitchen, including the often astonishing tales of how each made its way into the collections of the Smithsonian. Other objects will be eye-opening new discoveries for many, but no less evocative of the most poignant and important moments of the American experience. Some objects, such as Harriet Tubman's hymnal, Sitting Bull's ledger, Cesar Chavez's union jacket and the Enola Gay bomber, tell difficult stories from the nation's history, and inspire controversies when exhibited at the Smithsonian. Others, from George Washington's sword to the space shuttle Discovery, celebrate the richness and vitality of the American spirit. In Kurin's hands, each object comes to vivid life, providing a tactile connection to American history.
About the Speaker
Richard Kurin is the Under Secretary and Acting Provost of the Smithsonian responsible for all of its national museums and scientific research centers. A cultural anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, he’s the author of seven books and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has worked closely with the Museum of American Finance since its beginning.