The Smithsonian Institute is a collection of museums run by the US Government. These museums feature countless exhibits on a wide variety of historical aspects. There are several displays connected to pop culture.
National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History is located in Washington DC and is one of the Smithsonian’s most visited facilities. The museum features many exhibits covering much of American History. The 3rd floor has a permanent exhibit honouring entertainment and sports.
The Ruby Slippers
Archie Bunker’s Chair
Another permanent exhibit is Archie Bunker’s famous chair from All In The Family. This groundbreaking sitcom donated the iconic chair after the show ended. According to the Smithsonian, a replica of the chair was made and used on the spinoff, Archie Bunker’s Place.
Muhammad Ali’s Boxing Gloves
Another display in this section of the museum features a pair of boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali.
Kelly Slater’s Surfboard
On one of my visits, a rotating display featured a surfboard belonging to Kelly Slater. An 11 time world champion, Slater is widely regarded as the best surfer of all time.
This hat was worn by Lonnie Burr, who was in the original cast of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club. The original show debuted in 1955 and was a huge hit, making stars of many of the cast, including the legendary Annette Funicello.
Dumbo The Flying Elephant
This Dumbo car comes from Disneyland’s Dumbo The Flying Elephant ride in Anaheim, California. The fibreglass car was donated to the Smithsonian to mark Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary.
Harry Potter’s Robe
Another item of great importance to pop culture is Harry Potter’s robe. It was worn by Daniel Radcliffe in the Harry Potter movies.
This is the straw hat that Joel Grey wore in the 1972 musical film Cabaret.
Julia Child’s Kitchen
As part of the Museum’s Food Exhibit, you can see iconic chef Julia Child’s kitchen from her Cambridge Massachusett’s home. It displays tools, equipment, and appliances used throughout her career.
The Smithsonian also has a number of displays featuring how entertainment-related technology has changed over the years.
The National Air And Space Museum
While the National Air and Space Museum doesn’t focus on pop culture, many of it’s displays have been part of monumental news. The main facility is located in downtown Washington DC.
This main facility is where you can visit the Apollo 11 Command Module, The Spirit of St. Louis, The Wright Flyer, and many other exhibits.
The USS Enterprise
The main museum does have one display related to pop culture. It’s the original model of the USS Enterprise. The model was used during the production of Star Trek, which aired from 1966 to 1969.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The Museum also features a second location, the Steven. F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Virginia. This large facility allows the museum to display aircraft too big to bring into the main facility in the city. Some of the aircraft on display here include the Space Shuttle Discover, An Air France Concorde, The Enola Gay, and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
No matter what your interests are, you’ll find the Smithsonian museums to be fascinating. Make sure you plan lots of time, as you could easily spend days going through the various exhibits.