Today in 1982: Groundbreaking ceremonies take place in Washington, D.C., for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Have you visited it?

Even before the memorial opened, visitors began leaving tokens of remembrance. This note and beer were left with this note: "Hey Bro!, / Here's the beer I owe you - 24yrs late. You were right - I did make it back to the world. Great seeing you again. Sorry not to be...
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Women in eastern Kentucky relied on the Frontier Nursing Service and its nurse-midwives on horseback.

Midwives on horseback: Saddlebags and science
Today in 1911: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City kills 146 immigrant women workers. It was a major landmark in employment safety.

This is an advertisement published March 8, 1902, in the Saturday Evening Post.

Strikes were not labor’s only weapon. Unions also enlisted public support by organizing boycotts and issuing special union labels. Learn more: [ Link ]
Our project to transcribe a career full of jokes is almost complete! If you want to check our Phyllis Diller's "gag file" and help finish up transcription, head over to the Smithsonian Transcription Center now.

Phyllis Diller Gag File - Drawer No. 49, Part 2 | Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
Today in 1989: The oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound, off the coast of Alaska. Almost 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the sea. The resulting oil slick contaminated 1,300 miles of coastline and killed over 200,000 sea birds and sea mammals such as otters, seals, and killer whales. The clean-up cost over $2.2 billion.

Environmental disasters are often...
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"Give me liberty, or give me death!" Today in 1775: Patrick Henry says this quote in a speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention in Richmond, Virginia. This is a model of a World War II Liberty Ship named after Henry.

During the war, 2,710 Liberty ships were built. Whether in Europe, Africa, or the Pacific, most of the essential supplies arrived on ships, including tanks, ammunition,...
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James Cotton was born in 1935 into a sharecropping family in Tunica, Mississippi. By the time he was seven years old, Cotton was driving a tractor into the fields. In later years he would refer to those conditions as akin to those of what he called the "Old South," complete with overseers to coerce his family.

He sought salvation in music. Now, his harmonica is part of our collection.

Pure Cotton with a Berry on Top: The Legacies of Chuck Berry and James Cotton
Today in 1765: Britain enacts the Stamp Act to raise money from the American colonies. It was the first direct tax on the colonies and provoked an immediate, violent response. This teapot had something to say about it: [ Link ]
Today is National Agriculture Day, a good time to look at an innovative object in our collection. This is an ACCELL Gene Gun Protoype. Devices like this one introduce new genes into plant species by shooting DNA-covered microbullets into plant cells.

This gene gun prototype is currently on display in our "American Enterprise" exhibition. It is the brainchild of John Sanford, a plant...
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"You are special—just because you're you."

Today in 1928: Fred Rogers was born. The host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was seen by three generations of kids. This is his red knit cardigan. He began each episode by putting on a sweater and sneakers (to create a comfortable atmosphere and empathize with kids who were learning to zip sweaters and tie shoes) and singing "Won’t you be my...
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"The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade."

Happy National Poetry Day! These lines from "The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott. This lock of hair was cut from the head of the Scottish poet and historical novelist during his last illness. Scott's physician gave the lock to Hew Ainslie, a...
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On the blog, our Curator of American Music reflects on the legacy of rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry and blues harmonica player James Cotton. Crank up the tunes and give this one a read.

Pure Cotton with a Berry on Top: The Legacies of Chuck Berry and James Cotton
It may be the first day of spring, but we're big fans of sports that let us play in the snow. On the blog, curator Jane Rogers shares four pieces of winter sports gear used by athletes with disabilities.

The last day to see "Everyone Plays! Sports and Disabilities" is Sunday, March 26.

4 favorite pieces of adaptive winter sports gear
Our guide for history teachers. Let us know how these work in your classroom!

How (not) to teach with drama
Today in 1904: Psychologist B. F. Skinner is born. This is his pigeon-guided missile system (yes, really).

Here's the story: During World War II, the US military needed to find accurate ways to guide missiles to their targets. University of Minnesota psychologist B. F. Skinner suggested that a missile nose cone be supplied with three compartments, each with a window.

A pigeon would be...
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Medical ultrasound technology has come a long way!

My ultrasound used to look like what?
Despite the very LOUD dresses of hers in our collection, comedian Phyllis Diller wasn't a one-note performer.

The evolution of Phyllis Diller's career in 7 objects
Today in 1860: William Jennings Bryan is born. Learn about this presidential nominee's most spellbinding and famous speech as well as his possible connection to "The Wizard of Oz."

Did the Cowardly Lion give the greatest campaign speech of all time? Quite possibly.
Today we remember musician Chuck Berry. He drove this Cadillac on stage at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, the same theater that turned him away as a child because he was African American. It's now in our Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Who's ready for #MarchMadness? Our curators, that's who.

A curator's top NCAA picks among basketball history