A literary exhibition of 101 objects from across the Smithsonian's museums that together offer a new perspective on the history of the United States, including Lincoln's hat, Dorothy's ruby red slippers, and Harriet Tubman's hymnal.
The Smithsonian is called, rightly, America's attic; it is the country's largest, most beloved and important repository for the objects that define its common heritage. How fitting then that the Smithsonian is bringing its best together, to arrive at a list of 101 objects through which to tell the great story of America's history. From Abraham Lincoln's top hat to Dorothy's ruby slippers, Harriet Tubman's hymnal to the first computer, these gorgeously photographed objects and artworks touch on every hallmark of the American story.
Dr. Richard Kurin is the director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage where he oversees the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and other cultural heritage programs. A former Fulbright fellow with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, he is the author of "Reflections of a Culture Broker: A View from the Smithsonian". Dr. Kurin has been awarded the Smithsonian Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service and the American Folklore Society's Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement.
Publishers Weekly (starred): "Kurin [has] done a masterful job. Even... well-known items have surprising and significant back stories. Unexpected selections... make the book even more engrossing, and... can make for some emotional reading. Kurin does a terrific job of expanding upon the story of each object, whether it's a pair of slave shackles or a damaged door from one of the New York City fire trucks that responded to 9/11. This humanistic approach to storytelling makes for immersive, addictive reading." Kirkus Reviews "Smithsonian Undersecretary Kurin's tales are abundant, so much so that it seems almost a shame to stop at a mere 101 items....A well-conceived and well-illustrated pleasure to read, combining narrative history and keepsake volume."
Library Journal "A guide like this is all the more useful since such a small percentage of the Smithsonian's holdings can ever be on exhibit. The book is much more descriptive than analytical, as Kurin sets each object, beautifully photographed, in its historical and institutional context."