Buried within the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History exists an astonishing group of historical relics from the pre-Revolutionary War era to the present day, many of which have never been on display. Donated to the museum by generations of souvenir collectors, these ordinary objects of extraordinary circumstance all have amazing tales to tell about their roles in American history. Souvenir Nation presents fifty of the museum's most eccentric objects—from a chunk broken off Plymouth Rock to the magnifying glass used to examine the infamous hanging chads of the 2000 presidential election. Smithsonian curator William L. Bird, Jr., regales us with the story of each artifact's origins and the quirks of fate that brought it to the Smithsonian. Strikingly photographed, these curious objects form a uniquely American narrative: a cabinet of curiosities representing our nation's most fascinating individuals, both celebrated and obscure, and the keepsakes they left behind.
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William L. Bird Jr., a Washington, D.C.–based curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, is the author of the PAPress books Paint by Number, Holidays on Display, and America's Doll HouseReview:
"A fascinating peek at times gone by, when the concept of preserving a moment or memory meant something way different than picking up a few postcards." - Gizmodo
"Smithsonian curator William L. Bird Jr. takes us on a guided tour of these uniquely fascinating treasures." -- ForeWord Reviews
"Showcases the weird and wonderful relics that tell the story of U.S. history." - FastCoCreate.com
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