The Power of Objects: Civil Rights Collections at the National Museum of American History

Start time: Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 @ 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm Eastern Time
Duration: 45 minutes

The National Museum of American History’s civil rights collections grew out of the political turmoil of the 1960s that engulfed the nation’s capital and the country. Some material was collected by curators, several of whom were personally active in local civil rights organizations, and other items were literally left behind on the Smithsonian’s doorsteps. The collection today includes items ranging from 19th century abolitionists broadsides to contemporary protest signs. This presentation will explore how this collection was first formed, look at some of the most significant items in the collection, and discuss what new directions the museum is considering.


rubenstein_60Harry R. Rubenstein

National Museum of American History

Harry R. Rubenstein is the Chair of the Division of Political History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.  As a curator, Rubenstein shares responsibility for the political history, reform movements, civil rights, and labor history collections.  He has curated or co-curated more than twenty exhibitions including Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of EducationAbraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life; and most recently, Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.

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