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August 15, 2022 Bucky Turco

Above: Tony Hawk’s first skateboard. (ūüď∑: National Museum of American History) In the newish Tony Hawk documentary, the often-spotted but identity-mistaken skater casually mentions how he donated his first skateboard to the Smithsonian. It was a “Bahne skateboard with red Stoker urethane wheels on metal trucks” according to its listing in the government’s colossal collection […]

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July 21, 2014 Marina Galperina

The late rapper J Dilla‚Äôs¬†custom-made Minamoog Voyager synthesizer has been recently donated to the¬†Smithsonian‚Äôs National Museum of African American History and Culture. The synth — along with 11 other objects used by¬†the contributors to American¬†music history, from Chuck Berry to Chuck D — will be shown at the ‚ÄúMusical Crossroads‚ÄĚ exhibition, to¬†inaugurate the opening of […]

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June 24, 2014 Marina Galperina

Gone are the days of¬†Lincoln and Washington’s¬†plaster casts. President Obama’s portrait 3D-printed. Recently produced by the¬†Smithsonian Institution and a team of experts form the¬†University of Southern California, the bust only required five minutes of the president sitting to get his face scanned by¬†handheld 3-D cameras. Then, after an additional¬†40-hour-long process of digitally programmed plastic-melting, ta-da: […]

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October 2, 2013 Kyle Chayka

The Smithsonian‚Äôs¬†National Museum of American History¬†recently received over twenty of Jim Henson’s puppets and props on the anniversary of what would have been the Muppets creator’s seventy-seventh birthday. Acquisitions include characters from¬†The Muppet Show,¬†Sesame Street¬†and¬†Fraggle Rock.¬†According to the museum‚Äôs blog, the collection will not be on display until many of them undergo several small repairs […]

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August 28, 2013 Kyle Chayka

The unique¬†iPad app¬†Planetary¬†has just been added to the Smithsonian’s¬†Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s collection.¬†The institution has gone one step further by acquiring the app’s source code as well. This is the first time the Smithsonian has attained a piece of code. The institution has also¬†made this code available¬†to everyone, in an attempt to preserve software as […]

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May 2, 2013 Julia Dawidowicz

Ah, historic Jamestowne. The very first settlement of our great colonial ancestors. The glorious Chesapeake Bay, the mighty James Fort, the abundance of lush wildlife! It must have been a wonderful place to live, save for a couple teensy kinks — like rampant disease, constant rape and pillaging,¬†decimation¬†of Native Americans and,¬†apparently, CANNIBALISM. Whether the early […]

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