Today’s turbulent financial times have created renewed interest in “Made in America” campaigns. Yesterday, Director Brent D. Glass met with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to discuss selling "Made in the USA" products in the museum’s gift shops. Yesterday evening, ABC News featured Dr. Glass in a segment exploring the issue of where souvenirs in Washington, D.C., gift shops are manufactured. The result of yesterday’s meeting is the Smithsonian’s commitment to offer only made-in-America merchandise at its “Price of Freedom” museum store by July 4th weekend. The store will include labels on the history of “Made-in-America” reflecting the museum’s curatorial research on the subject. See the Smithsonian press release.
Last month, Curator Peter Liebhold used this blog to reflect on a January 18 letter from Sen. Sanders chastising the museum for selling Chinese-made busts of the U.S. presidents. In his post, Peter reviewed the history of imported goods in the U.S. and asked, what does it mean to be “Made in America”?
Tell us: What was the last souvenir you purchased? Do you know where it was made?
Stay tuned for a more detailed historical analysis of “Made in America” by curators working on the forthcoming business history exhibition, American Enterprise.
Dana Allen-Greil is the new media project manager at the National Museum of American History.