Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Exhibits of the National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (2013) - 03

Exhibits of the National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History collects the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific, and military history. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and located on the National Mall.

The Historical Objects and Exhibits of the National Museum of American History include:

  • Star-Spangled Banner Flag
    • The Star-Spangled Banner was the garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem in 1814 which included the following lines:

      “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

      This poem gave the flag its name and later when the poem was set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven” by John Stafford Smith, it then evolved into the national anthem of the United States.

  • “George Washington” by Horatio Greenough
    • This statue of George Washington is a massive sculpture by Horatio Greenough commissioned for the 100th year anniversary of U.S President George Washington’s birth. Washington who was born in 1732, is depicted seated with his chest bare and with his right arm and hand gesturing with an index finger pointing towards the heavens. His left-hand cradles a sheathed sword, with the sword handle forward, symbolising Washington turning over power to the people at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War.
  • John Bull Locomotive
    • John Bull is a railroad steam locomotive that operated in the United States, it was built by Robert Stephenson and Company in Britain. Purchased and operated by the first railroad in New Jersey, which gave this locomotive the number 1 and its first name, “Stevens” after the president of Railroad at the time. It operated from 1833 until 1866, and through regular use of the engine, the crews began calling it the old John Bull, a reference to the cartoon personification of England, John Bull.
  • Greensboro sit-in Lunch Counter
    • This 4-seat section of what used to be the “Whites Only” lunch counter from the Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina is part of the Civil Rights history that was made in 1960. It is at this lunch counter where four black students sat down and were refused service when they asked for a cup of coffee. Following store policy, the Lunch Counter staff refused to serve the black men at the “whites only” counter, and the store manager asked them to leave.


“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
– Abraham Lincoln


Photo Credit: By Another Believer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons