The Smithsonian, Trying to Stay Cool and Collected - washingtonpost.com This is a pretty interesting article that describes what the Smithsonian, our nations museum, must go through to get memorabilia for its collection. They must compete against the likes of eBay, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Sotheby's, and others.
I have been to the American History Museum several times and have enjoyed it every-time. You can see Dorthy's Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Archie Bunker's Chair, Kermit the Frog and other Muppet's, and many other things. It is a great place to visit.
But they are struggling these days because of all the outlets and opportunities for others to get the items. For example, a lot of people like to sell items on eBay and the themed restaurants wanting them to decorate their restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood do. They have a bunch more money than the government run Smithsonian has.
The curators are always working to convince people to turn their collectibles over to them, but it does not always happen or is delayed. The story points out they are trying to get the bottle from the TV show, I Dream of Jeannie. But Barbara Eden does not want to part ways with it yet.
The story mentions the reasons why these must be protected in some way. For example, the statue from the Maltese Falcon was stolen from its second story perch in a restaurant in San Francisco call John's Grill.
These artifacts are icons and history of the United States and need to be protected for future generations. The Smithsonian is doing some great work in trying to preserve these great items of our history and we need to do whatever we can to support them in their endeavors.
The American History Museum is currently undergoing renovations and will be closed until Summer, 2008. This was a much needed renovation. I don't think it had changed too much in 20 years. But if you are visiting Washington, DC, during the winter, you can catch the Treasures of American History at the National Air and Space Museum.