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Category Archives: History

Remembering Neil Armstrong

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I first heard the sad news while having a late lunch with friends at a seafood restaurant on the water in Annapolis, Maryland. Neil Armstrong passed away today, August 25, 2012, from complications resulting from heart bypass surgery. He was 82 years old. We will all miss him, not just because he was the first   …Continue Reading


Telstar and the world of 1962

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Last week, the Museum recognized the 50th anniversary of Telstar, the first “active” satellite (one that can receive a radio signal from a ground station and then immediately re-transmit it to another) and the first technology of any kind that enabled transatlantic television transmissions.  In 1962, both accomplishments generated intense interest, excitement, and commentary.  Telstar   …Continue Reading


Watching the War From Above

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The nation is in the process of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and those of us at the Smithsonian are very much involved, searching our collections for items that will help our visitors better understand the conflict that divided 19th century America. As might be expected, the National Museum of American History,   …Continue Reading


Birds of a Feather

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This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and on Saturday, June 9th there will be an estimated 200,000 girls coming to Washington DC for the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall event.  There are many famous women, including First Ladies, a Supreme Court justice, CEOs, and even astronauts who remember their days in   …Continue Reading


Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s “The Wings of Eagles” (1957)

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Introduction During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration. In Sailing on the Silver Screen: Hollywood and the U.S. Navy, Lawrence Suid has observed   …Continue Reading