American History Museum

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While the west wing is currently undergoing renovations, current exhibits feature the restored Star-Spangled Banner, Julia Child’s kitchen, Dorthy’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, and Abraham Lincoln’s top hat worn the night of his assassination at Ford’s Theater.

First Floor: The National Museum of American History’s first floor exhibits include the following: Lighting a Revolution featuring Edison’s earliest bulbs; FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950–2000 featuring Julia Child’s preserved kitchen; On the Water: Stories from Maritime America; America on the Move featuring a Southern Railway locomotive and a Chicago L car; Power Machinery; and Stories on Money featuring a $20 gold coin. Don’t miss the first floor corridor’s artifact walls with rotating exhibits that have contained Bruce Lee’s suit from Enter the Dragon, a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Hogwarts Robe, and a collection of Firemen Top Hats from the 1800s.

Second Floor: After a decade of restoration, the Star-Spangled Banner was finally unveiled as the center of the museum’s 2008 renovation. The 42 foot flag that Francis Scott Key witnessed flying above Fort McHenry as he penned the national anthem during the War of 1812 now lays flat in a display protected from harmful light. The second floor also contains the American Stories exhibit which features items such as Dorthy’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, and a piece of Plymouth Rock.

Third Floor: The top floor of the National Museum of American History includes the First Ladies exhibit featuring gowns worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama among others. The third floor also contains the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit which features George Washington’s sword, Custer’s coat, a Huey Helicopter from Vietnam, and General Powell’s uniform from Desert Storm. Finally, visitors can find the Gunboat Philadelphia and the American Presidency exhibits on the third floor.

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