Explore Great Museums

With the success of the Model T and the assembly line, Henry Ford was in the business of making history and mobilizing the 20th century. By the time he opened his museum in 1929, Ford had amassed tens of thousands of seemingly ordinary objects to document the genius of… more >

Made in America: The Henry Ford

A patron with exquisite taste and a zest for life, Isabella Stewart Gardner traveled the world for over three decades, assembling piece by piece one of the world’s most remarkable art collections. Her interests ranged from Rembrandt, Titian, Sargent, Whistler, and Matisse to… more >

Collective Vision: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:

Great Museums’ The Smithsonian National Zoo: Wild Thing! showcases the role of the National Zoo in preserving endangered species on the edge of extinction. The stars of this show - Giant Pandas, Cheetahs, Orangutans, and other animals on display at the Zoo - are “ambassadors”… more >

Wild Thing! The Smithsonian National Zoo
Wild Thing! The Smithsonian National Zoo

Discover the commanding and charismatic characters whose fervor fueled the 20th-century revolution that changed America’s museums from dusty and elitist to dynamic and democratic! This landmark public television special features museum stories coast-to-coast. Riches, Rivals,… more >

Riches, Rivals, and Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America

The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., offers the single most important collection of art by women in the world. The museum provides an astonishing survey of women artists representing every major artistic period, from 16th-century Dutch and Flemish… more >

A Woman’s Touch: National Museum of Women in the Arts

Established in 1800 as a small research library for the new Congress, today’s Library is considered the repository of the nation’s life story and arguably the “ultimate American museum.” Its holdings include Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, marked up by… more >

Volumes to Speak: 
The Library of Congress

Founded to commemorate and continue the inventive spirit and scientific genius of Benjamin Franklin, the imposing Franklin Institute stands solid as a rock on 20th Street in Philadelphia. Science is a phenomenon—a process. You can’t put it in a museum display case. On… more >

Wonderland of Science: The Franklin Institute

Located in an old depot in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where Muddy Waters boarded the train to carry the Blues to the world, this small museum tells the powerful story of the origins of the Delta Blues and its ultimate transformation into Rock-n-Roll. Interviews include actor and… more >

The Blues Lives On! The Delta Blues Museum

At this Denver museum, the key players in the Colorado drama come to life: The cliff-dwelling Anasazi Indians; the Spanish, who named it Colorado, meaning red; the 19th century ranchers, miners, missionaries and Native Americans. Highlights include the reality of the Black… more >

Crossroads of Culture: Colorado History Museum

This D.C. and New York-based museum approaches the native story in an enlightened and exciting way, using the native voice to demonstrate that native history, culture, art and life are part of the shared cultural heritage of all Americans. Behind the scenes at the… more >

Native Voice: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Founded when Thomas Jefferson was president and the Revolutionary War was still a part of living memory, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia is America’s first art museum and school, and is home to more than two centuries of American art. Its mission is… more >

Art Gets a Start in America:  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Between 1897 and 1938, immigration changed the face of America. More than 100 million citizens in the United States can trace their ancestry to an immigrant who landed at New York’s Ellis Island. Ellis Island is more than a museum, it is hallowed ground; it is the place where… more >

Face of America: Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Housed in a 1904 firehouse — the former home of Engine 30 — this museum chronicles the history of firefighting from colonial times to the present. The museum features horse and hand-drawn fire carriages, fire buckets and parade hats and modern day equipment. Firefighters —… more >

Trial by Fire: The New York City Fire Museum

The railroads helped shape the unique culture of the West and reunite a Civil War-torn nation. Through meticulously restored locomotives, archival photographs, and artifacts, this Sacramento museum illustrates the diverse experiences of those who built the railroads and those… more >

Binding Ties: The California State Railroad Museum

Thoroughbred racing is one of America’s oldest sports, and it has a colorful history. Seabiscuit, Man o’ War, Secretariat, Arcaro, and the Jones Boys are all heroes of the turf and names that evoke the clang of the starting gate, the thunder of pounding hooves—the sights and… more >

Horse Power: The National Museum of Racing

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