Julie Mason celebrates American History Museum Week with Smithsonian scholars

‘Julie Mason Mornings’ on POTUS Politics hosts six Smithsonian scholars from the National Museum of American History in honor of American History Museum Week.

Jackie Kolgraf
April 12, 2022

(Getty Images)

It’s one of the most popular of the many museums lining that National Mall in the nation’s capital, and POTUS Politics (Ch. 124) gets you inside access! Julie Mason Mornings hosted six Smithsonian scholars from the National Museum of American History whose work spans hundreds of years and looks to open millions of minds. It’s the latest of Julie Mason’s Smithsonian features — let’s dive in.

With the historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, it’s the perfect time to take in deeply personal artifacts donated by the family of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Lisa Kathleen, Curator in the Division of Political and Military History, said this exhibit never would have happened had RBG’s family not invited the Smithsonian into her chambers, helping the museum tell the stories of objects like those ubiquitous black robes.

Want something cerebral? Peter Manseau, Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History in the Division of Cultural and Community Life, stopped by to chat about the mysterious intersections of religion and science throughout 300 years of American history — and in outer space.

Big questions like liberation and representation are at the center of the work of Dr. Crystal Moten, Curator of African American History in the Division of Work and Industry, and Dr. Krystal Klingenberg, Curator of Music in the Division of Cultural and Community Life. They spoke with Julie about their new podcast Collected, which centers on Black women’s history in ways that challenge preconceptions about feminism.

Dr. Moten and Dr. Klingenberg make it clear that the Smithsonian’s mission is ever-evolving. It’s also not just for adults! Just ask Ellen Feingold, Curator at the National Numismatic Collection. She added her 10 cents on the fascinating world of coins and bills in a new kid-centric exhibit, “Really BIG Money.”

Jazz is the quintessential American art form, and the National Museum of American History doesn’t skimp on honoring it during Jazz Appreciation Month. The work of Ken Kimery, Program Director for Smithsonian Jazz, helps bring to life greats like Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.

Want more Smithsonian appreciation? Try here. Or here! And stay tuned for more VIP tours behind the museum curtains on Julie Mason Mornings, weekdays 6-9am ET on POTUS Politics or any time on the SXM App.

Read more about the POTUS Politics channel.