Imagine having to choose 101 representative items from a collection of more than 137 million pieces found in the largest museum complex in the world—the Smithsonian Institution. That’s exactly what Richard Kurin, undersecretary for history, art, and culture for the Smithsonian Institution, set out to do in The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects (The Penguin Press). Kurin worked with a team of top Smithsonian curators and scholars to create a book that lends something special to the objects it portrays—a link to the wider American story.
The book highlights objects great and small, ancient and modern, from Burgess Shale fossils, the Declaration of Independence, President Lincoln’s hat, Julia Child’s kitchen, and the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk Flyer, to vials of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, and a New York City fire truck’s door that was damaged responding to 9/11.
If you think you are already familiar with everything Smithsonian, prepare to be surprised as Kurin shows you glimpses of our heritage--with a special Smithsonian focus. A book signing follows the program.
See some of the highlighted Smithsonian objects in this Smithsonian magazine post.
Richard Kurin recently appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss the
year-in-the-making project, watch now>>