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MUSEUM OF AMERICA HISTORY, WASHINGTON DC

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The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The museum is administered by the Smithsonian Institution and located in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall.

The museum first opened in 1964 as the Museum of History and Technology. The building was one of the last structures designed by renowned architectural firm McKim Mead & White. In 1980 the museum was renamed The National Museum of American History to better represent its basic mission—the collection, care and study of objects that reflect the experience of the American people. It once had a large pendulum in the center of the building that has since been removed. The museum displays the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key and Dorothy's ruby slippers from the film The Wizard of Oz.

The museum temporarily closed on September 5, 2006 for a two-year renovation. The architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) of New York and Turner Construction are responsible for the overall design and construction. New York-based design firm Chermayeff & Geismar will work with SOM on the new permanent gallery for the Star-Spangled Banner A grand reopening festival was November 21, 2008.

After being closed for two years of renovations, the National Museum of American History reopened to shed new light on American history, literally and figuratively. The renovated museum includes a five-story sky-lit atrium, surrounded by artifact displays showcasing the breadth of the museum's three million objects from the cultural, social, technological and political history of the United States. A grand staircase now links the museum's first and second floors and six landmark objects located in the wings of each of the three exhibition floors help orient visitors. New galleries such as the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention join old ones like "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" and "America on the Move". The Star-Spangled Banner Flag has been given a new state of the art home at the heart of the museum. The grand reopening starts off a year of new exhibition openings culminating in summer 2009.

January 2009

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