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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Historical Preservation Efforts at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History.

January 25, 2012

January 23, 2012; Washington, DC
Contact: Franklin Fellow Jonathan Turner, Washington Foreign Press Center
Telephone: 202-504-6355; email:

The Washington Foreign Press Center accompanied international media from China, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Romania, Spain and Turkey on a Reporting Tour to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). NMAH is the official collection of over 3 million artifacts representing every epoch and aspect of American history and houses some of the world’s most advanced preservation laboratories and other conservation facilities, which are responsible for conserving the most important parts of our nation’s heritage. This rare, special behind-the-scenes event featured a tour of the NMAH’s Objects Conservation Lab and presentations by Smithsonian staff including the Senior Objects Conservator on the conservation work at NMAH with Q & A sessions on their background, the preserving process, how funding for these projects is secured and the selection and acquisition processes for artifacts that are added to the NMAH’s collection. The tour also included a series of special lectures and presentations on several NMAH exhibits, among them the original Star-Spangled Banner, American Popular Culture, Jefferson’s Bible, the Presidency and the immensely popular “First Ladies” exhibition. The journalists were especially interested in historical preservation and the political history of the United States, and asked many questions regarding the techniques and processes used to help conserve historical artifacts, the Second World War, modern American history, the Cold War, the 1814 Battle of Baltimore and our national anthem.