Object: Kimono


Mid- 20th Century
Materials: Silk

For many centuries in Japan the traditional style of dress was the square-cut body and sleeves of the kimono, which translates to ‘thing to wear’. It is believed the Japanese got the inspiration for this dress from the Chinese during the 8th century. However, it was during the Heian Dynasty (794-1185) that the Japanese began moving away from the Chinese styles and began to make their own dress style. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333) the samurai became the ruling class of Japan and simpler designs were used. However, towards the end of this period the demand for more luxurious textiles grew and large designs such as horses, birds and other pictures began appearing on commoners dresses. Textiles and designs continued to improve but it was during the Momoyama (1573–1615) and Edo (1615-1868) period that the kimonos design reached its peak.

Geisha being dressed in a kimono.

But why would the Japanese immigrate to Texas in the first place? In 1900 there were only 13 Japanese living in Texas. During this time rice farming was virtually nonexistent so Texas made it known that rice farmers would be welcome. By 1910 there were 312 Japanese living in Texas and almost 80% of them were cultivating rice in areas such as Houston and Beaumont and by 1930 those numbers had grown to 519. However, when World War II happened the Japanese population decreased due to hostilities and distrust from Americans. During this difficult time internment camps, also called relocation camps, where built and many Japanese were held in these camps until the end of the war. However, after the war Japanese slowly began to move back to Texas and by 1980 the population of Japanese in Texas had grown to 10,502.


Japanese Geisha performing in traditional kimono. Image taken by Jon Rawlinson.

So why, when immigrating to Texas, would a person from Japan bring something like a kimono with them? While some immigrants would have sold their kimonos or the reused the fabrics, many were brought and kept for sentimental value. The Japanese are a proud culture with a rich heritage and the kimono is part of that history. The kimonos brought over were and still are a reminder of who they are and where they have come from. [Carlise Ferguson, edited by Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Gluckman, Dale Carolyn, Hollis Goodall-Cristante, and Satoshi Kubota. 2008. Kimono as art: the landscapes of Itchiku Kubota. London: Thames & Hudson.

Kennedy, Alan. 1990. Japanese costume: history and tradition. Paris, France: A. Biro.

Michitsuna no Haha, and Edward Seidensticker. 1964. The gossamer years; the diary of a noblewoman of Heian, Japan. Tokyo:Rutland, Vt.

Munsterberg, Hugo. 1996. The Japanese kimono. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.

Nomura, Shojiro, and Tsutomu Ema. 2006. Japanese kimono designs. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover.

Photo Quiz

The answer to last month’s quiz is…


A tobacco cutter!

Can you guess what this object is?

I-0136nnn detail

We’ll post the answer on May 14th. Good luck!

Object: Chaps

I-0491a (3)

Leather chaps
Materials: Leather and brass studs

This item is a pair of worn leather chaps given to the museum in 1995. Chaps were and still are worn by cowboys and ranchers. This type of clothing is an essential piece of a cowboy’s attire that protect the legs of cowboys while riding horses and when walking through rough landscapes. Leather is a thick and durable material that is hard to penetrate. It makes it possible for a cowboy to walk safely through areas with thorns, burrs, stickers, and barbed wire. Chaps also help to protect the rider from friction related “saddle sores.”


1873 Map of Chisholm Trail with Subsidiary Trails in Texas. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

During cattle drives leather chaps would have been crucial for cowboys. A cattle drive is when a herd of cattle are transported by foot from one place to another. These drives became very important in the 1840′s and 1850′s during the California Gold Rush. Due to the increase of wealth in California the demand for beef raised dramatically. Cattle from Texas was being driven and sold to California citizens for 50 to 200 dollars per head (between 1,500 and 6,000 dollars in today’s currency). Drives from Texas could last between five to six months. Later on in the 19th century, the Chisholm Trail became known. This trail is considered to have been one of the largest cattle drives in the country. At the most it is estimated that 600,000 to 700,000 cattle were driven from Texas through Oklahoma to Kansas in a single year.

mary bunton

Photo via: Hill Country Books

On this trail a woman by the name of Mary O. Taylor Bunton (known as Mollie) made the ride with her husband James Howell Bunton, from Sweetwater, Texas to Coolidge, Kansas in 1886. Out of fear of being left alone on their ranch she decided that she would join the cattle drive. During that time it was considered inappropriate for a woman to ride on a cattle drive, making her one of the few cowgirls of the Old West. Despite speculation and doubt Mollie was determined to make the drive. She was one of few women (possibly the only) to make this drive and was named the “Queen of the Old Chisholm Trail” when it was over. Years later in 1915 Mollie made her cattle drive experiences into a book, “A Bride on the Old Chisholm Trail in 1886.” Years later in 1948 at the motion picture premier of “Red River” Mollie was honored since it was believed that she was the only woman to make it up the dangerous trail.

“Red River” is one of countless movies based on cowboy life and cattle drives. These motion pictures became extremely popular in the 20th century, later they were known as western movies. The star of this movie was the famous John Wayne, considered to some as the face of western films. Wayne’s career thrived for over 50 years, making an appearance in nearly 200 films and starring in 142 of them. Most of his movies Wayne is either a cowboy, a ranger, or something of the sort. In the early 1970′s he was offered a role in Larry McMurtry’s “The Streets of Laredo“. However, Wayne turned down the role and the film was forgotten until 1985 when McMurtry wrote a prequel novel called “Lonesome Dove.”


Photo via: IMP Awards

“Lonesome Dove” was turned into a minseries in 1989. It starred Robert Duvall and Tommy-Lee Jones as two retired Texas Rangers who decide to drive a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. The story is inspired by the real life accounts of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. The tale features the two men and their partners’ experiences on the trail. They face numerous life threatening adventures including floods, snakes, and Indians. These experiences plus many more would have been incidents that other real life cowboys went through. [McKayla McCarty, edited by Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Bailey, Jack, and David Dary. 2006. A Texas cowboy’s journal: up the trail to Kansas in 1868. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Davis, Ronald L. 1998. Duke: the life and image of John Wayne. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Gard, Wayne. 1954. Chisholm Trail.

Kraisinger, Gary, and Margaret Kraisinger. 2004. The Western: the greatest Texas cattle trail, 1874-1886. Newton, Kan: Mennonite Press.

Massey, Sara R. 2006. Texas women on the cattle trails. College Station: Texas A & M University.

McMurtry, Larry. 1985. Lonesome Dove: a novel. New York: Simon and Schuster.


Object: Painting


“Kiamta Long and Jane Long”
Artist: John Rogers
Date: 20th Century
Materials: Paper, watercolor

This painting is a watercolor entitled “Kiamta Long and Jane Long” by artist John Rogers. The painting references the life of Jane Long (1798- 1880) and her time at Fort Las Casas on Bolivar Peninsula with Kiamta Long, her slave. The painting shows Jane Long loading the fort’s cannon, which she used to trick a group of Karankawa Indians, who greatly out-numbered her on the bay of at the fort. Cannon balls, water, a barrel of gunpowder, and a lighting stick are also featured in the painting which Jane would have used to prepare the cannon. Kiamta also referred to as Kian or Ki, stands near Jane holding the signal horn given to Jane by the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. In the background of the painting stands the fort’s wooden walls and the opening reveals the gulf behind the fort. The painting also features Jane’s red flannel petticoat she used to represent a presence of many people at the fort to the Indians. The painting also features baby Mary James Long who was born at the fort.

Jane Long (1798-1880). Image via Isjunction.com

Jane Long (1798-1880). Image via Isjunction.com

Jane Long was born Jane Herbert Wilkinson in Charles County, Maryland on her family’s land called “the Heights” on July 23, 1798. Jane was the 10th child born to Captain William Mackall Wilkinson and Anne Herbert Dent Wilkinson. When Jane was only one year old her father died leaving her mother, a widow with many children. Jane’s mother then moved the family to Mississippi to be closer to her relatives. Shortly after the move Janes’ mother also died, leaving Jane and her siblings as orphans. Luckily for Jane, one of her elder sister’s, Barbara Wilkinson Calvit, was able to take her in. Jane’s sister lived in Washington, Mississippi near Natchez. It was in Natchez, that Jane met Dr. James Long returning from the Battle of New Orleans, the last major battle of the War of 1812.

Learn more about the Battle of New Orleans in song!

Galveston fort map

Map via: Galveston County Historical Markers, forttours.com

Quickly, James and Jane fell in love and married on May 14, 1815 and she became Mrs. Jane Long. The newly married couple moved to a plantation at Walnut Hills, Mississippi where Jane gave birth to their first daughter Ann Herbert Long. While living in Walnut Hills, James became a merchant, opened a store and stopped practicing medicine. In 1819 the couple again moved back to Natchez, a great trading center at the time where James could expand his business. During the same year, residents of Natchez were outraged by the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 which relinquishing the United States claims on Texas, in exchange for Spain ceding Florida to the US. James Long joined the cause and soon became leader of this group of outraged citizens. The citizens appointed James Long the commander of an expedition to free Texas from Spain. As part of this expedition, James Long was able to capture Nacogdoches, where he declared Texas a free nation, with himself as President. Needing supplies and support for his expedition, Long sought out the French pirate, Jean Lafitte, near Galveston. Jane eventually followed her husband to the settlement he founded along Galveston Bay, Fort Las Casas.

Learn more about the pirate Jean Lafitte in the following video.

The cause of Texas’ Independence soon called Long again from his wife to San Antonio then, Mexico City where he was killed. While waiting for news of Long’s death, Jane continued to stay at the fort as her husband’s men, and many of the other settlers abandoned the fort. Determined her husband would return for her, a pregnant Jane stayed with Kiamta, and her daughter Ann. Winter bought a terrible blizzard, which the women survived by living in a tent eating corn meal, salted fish and oysters they caught. In addition to the hardships of weather and lack of food, the women were also routinely threatened by the nearby Karankawa tribe of Native Americans. In order to maintain the illusion of a well manned fort, the women would dress as soldiers and use their petticoats as flags. On at least one occasion, the women were forced to use the fort’s cannon to scare off the potential attackers.

Eventually, Jane and her family left the fort with a family who happened to be passing by. Years later Jane moved back to Texas with her married daughter, opening her house as a boarding house. Jane’s boarding house included such famous guests as Stephen F. Austin, Ben Milam, William Travis, Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar, many of whom also were legendary suitors of Mrs. Jane Long. After many years, Jane eventually closed her boarding house and moved in with her grandchildren who cared for her until her death on December 30, 1880. [Elizabeth Volz, edited by Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Hardin, Stephen L. 1994. Texian iliad: a military history of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Johnson, Benjamin Heber. 2003. Revolution in Texas: how a forgotten rebellion and its bloody suppression turned Mexicans into Americans. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Morgan, Elizabeth Dearing, and Nancy Dearing Johnson. 1996. Jane Long a child’s pictorial history. Austin, Tex: Eakin Press.

Petrick, Neila Skinner, and Joyce Haynes. 2004. Jane Wilkinson Long: Texas pioneer. Gretna, La: Pelican Pub.

Ramsay, Jack C. 2001. Texas sinners and revolutionaries: Jane Long and her fellow conspirators. Plano, Tex: Republic of Texas Press.

Object: Obi


Mid- 20th Century
Materials: Silk


Photo via: National Museum of Denmark @ Flickr Commons, WikiMedia Commons

This garment is called an obi and it first appeared in Japan during the Heian Period (794-1185). It was first designed as a narrow sash that was used as an undergarment for a women’s kimono. It wasn’t until the Muromachi Period (1392-1573) that women of the samurai class began to wear the obi on the outside of their kimonos tied at the front or to the side. As time went by the obi grew wider and started to be made from silk with simple patterns on them. It wasn’t until the Edo Period (1600-1868) that the obi gained it most recent and modern design. Also during this time the obi became integral to the kimono. While before it was largely a fashion accessory, it now became necessary in order to keep a kimono closed and together. During the early years of the Edo Period women still wore the obi on the front or to the side but it eventually became more popular and practical to wear them in the back. The obi also became much more decorative and elaborate and women began wearing it in many different ways leading to a number of different types of decorative knots.

The following video shows a simple way to tie and obi.


Photo via: שנילי Eli Shany , WikiMedia Commons

Today most obi are made in Nishijin, a district in Kyoto, Japan and is one of the most expensive parts to the kimono. It is a common misconception that only Geisha still wear the traditional kimonos and obi but this far from the truth. Kimonos and obi are still an important part of Japanese attire. There are many types of obi but some of the better known types include the maru obi fukuro obi, and Nagoya obi. The maru obi is usually only worn at weddings. It is a very expensive and heavy type and is the most formal of all the obi. Another type is the fukuro obi, which is less formal than the maru obi but is formal enough that is only worn at ceremonies and festivals. The most commonly worn type today is the Nagoya obi, named after the city of Nagoya, Japan. This obi is designed to be quick to put on, light weight and inexpensive, perfect for more casual wear.  [Carlise Ferguson, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Dalby, Liza Crihfield. Geisha. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Kanagawa, Diane Wiltshire, and Ann Wiltshire. Design with Japanese Obi. Rutland, Vt: C.E. Tuttle, 1997.

Minnich, Helen Benton, and Shojiro Nomura. Japanese Costume and the Makers of Its Elegant Tradition. Rutland, Vt: C.E. Tuttle Co, 1963.

Munsterberg, Hugo. The Japanese Kimono. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1996.




Object: Medallion

Materials: Metal, Cardboard, Paper, Plastic

This object is a commemorative medallion issued by the United States Department of the Treasury in honor of the Bicentennial of the American Revolutionary War. This is the fifth medallion issued in a series of five, for information about the other 4 medallions, please see out blog posts from March 20, March 24, March 27, and March 31, 2014. This medallion features an image of Thomas Jefferson on one side and an image of a handwritten document, representing the Declaration of Independence, with Independence Hall in the background on the other. Next to Independence Hall it reads, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” which is a quote from the Declaration of Independence. Like the previous four medallions, it was issued with two information cards and another medallion inside an envelope with four commemorative stamps on it. The second medallion is made of plastic and shows the official logo of the American Revolution Bicentennial.


Miniature portrait of Jefferson (1788) by John Trumbull. Image via Monticello.org.

Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743 in Virginia, his parents owned a great deal of land and had standing in high society. Jefferson was well educated and had studied law. He was not an orator by any means, but was a very eloquent writer. Jefferson joined the Second Continental Congress in 1775 and this is where his life-long friendship with John Adams started. It was during this Congress that Jefferson was appointed to the five-man committee that was to construct the Declaration of Independence. The committee consisted of Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.


Inside the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. Image via archives.gov.

It was during the Second Continental Congress that a resolution for independence was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, it was seconded by John Adams, and approved by the congress. After being appointed to the committee in charge of drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson spent June 12-27 writing the declaration. On June 28, 1776 a copy of Jefferson’s declaration was read  to Congress and on July 2, Congress voted in favor of independence and then made edits to the wording and phrasing of Jefferson’s declaration. On July 4, 1776 all 56 delegates in attendance signed the Declaration of Independence, in Independence Hall. Today the Declaration of Independence is on exhibit in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom in Washington, DC.

After the American Revolution ended Jefferson served in the Virginian legislature and then as governor of Virginia from 1779-1881. In 1784, Jefferson served in France, first as trade commissioner and then as Benjamin Franklin’s successor as Minister to France. In 1790 Jefferson became the first Secretary of State under George Washington. He then served as Vice President (1796-1800) under John Adams and then served as the third President of the United States for two terms (1801-1809). His term in office is best known for the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. After the end of his second term as President, he retired to his home in Virgina, called Monticello. Jefferson was a committed supporter of literature and education. He donated his own extensive library to the government, this donation would become the foundation for the Library of Congress and he also founded the University of Virginia. On July 4, 1826, Jefferson died at Monticello a few hours before John Adams; it was the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

This is the final medallion issued in the celebration of the American Revolution and was issued in 1976 which was the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. [Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Adams, William Howard. 1983. Jefferson’s Monticello. New York: Abbeville Press.

Cunningham, Noble E. 1987. In pursuit of reason: the life of Thomas Jefferson. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Fleming, Thomas J. 2003. The Louisiana Purchase. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley.

Randall, Henry S. 1858. The life of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Derby & Jackson.

Wills, Garry. 1978. Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of independence. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.

Object: Medallion


Materials: Metal, Cardboard, Paper, Plastic

This object is a commemorative medallion issued by the United States Department of the Treasury in honor of the Bicentennial of the American Revolutionary War. This is the fourth medallion issued in a series of five, for information about the first, second, and third medallions, please see out blog posts from March 20, March 24, and March 27, 2014. The front side of the medallion has a profile of Paul Revere and on the backside is an image of the Minuteman Statue that stands on Lexington Common. Around the edges of the back, the top reads, “Lexington – Concord” and on the bottom reads, “The Shot Heard Round The World.” The medallion was issued with two information cards and another medallion inside an envelope that had four commemorative stamps on the front. The second medallion is made of plastic and shows the official logo of the American Revolution Bicentennial.


Portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley. 1768. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Revere was born in 1734 in Boston, MA. Revere learned the art of gold and silversmithing from his father. When Paul was nineteen (and nearly finished with his apprenticeship) his father died, leaving Paul as the family’s main source of income. Two years later, in 1756, Revere volunteered to fight the French at Lake George, New York, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the colonial artillery. During the years prior to the Revolutionary War, Revere was a rider for the Committees of Correspondence in Boston. Committees of Correspondence were colonial groups that organized events and information needed to work against the British and their policies. Revere was also a prominent member of the “Sons of Liberty.”

Revere is most famous for his “Midnight Ride” where he warned the Colonial Minutemen that the “British were coming.” While this makes an exciting story it is an exaggeration of the real events that took place. The story was written by Henry Wadworth Longfellow and he started the legend that Revere rode to warn the colonials about the British. The actual events were less dramatic, Revere was not the only one to ride the night of April 18, 1775, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott also were riding to warn that the British were advancing. Revere was able to get to Lexington where he warned Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. Dawes, Revere and Prescott then decided to ride ahead to Concord where munitions and arms were being stored. All three men were captured by the British, but Prescott was able to escape almost immediately and he was the one to finish the ride and warn Concord. Revere was released much later, but he made it back to Lexington in time to see part of the battle on the Lexington Green. Revere had 16 children and died on  May 10, 1818 at the age of 83.


This is a photograph of the statue representing Captain John Parker sculpted by Henry Hudson Kitson and erected in 1900. This statue in Lexington, Massachusetts is commonly called “The Lexington Minuteman.” Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord changed everything in the fight for Independence. Both battles were fought on April 19, 1775, with the first one taking place at Lexington and the second at Concord.  At dawn around 700 British troops arrived on the Lexington Green and ordered the 77 colonial militiamen to drop their weapons. The commander of the militiamen had ordered them to disperse when a shot rang out. The British fired several volleys and when order was restored there were 8 dead colonials, with 9 injured, only one British soldier dead. No one knows who fired the first shot and both sides accused the other. The British continued on to Concord to recover the munitions depot they had been informed about. When the British arrived at Concord almost all of the colonial arms and munitions had been removed and secured elsewhere. The British decided to burn what was left; the fire got slightly out of control. The Concord militiamen were watching from higher ground and they thought the British meant to burn the town, so they headed to Concord’s North Bridge. The British fired first, but when the militiamen returned fire the British started to retreat. This return of fire is known as the “Shot heard round the world” and this phrase was coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson who penned the poem “Concord Hymn.” As the British were heading back to Boston, the colonial militiamen attacked from behind trees, walls, and buildings. The British suffered only 250 casualties, while the militiamen had around 90 casualties. The image on the back of the coin is “The Lexington Minuteman” statue designed by Henry Hudson Kitson and erected in 1900.

The commemorative stamps on the front of the envelope are in honor of the 200th anniversary of the United States Armed Forces. On June 15,  1775 the Continental Congress commissioned George Washington as the “Commander in Chief” to ready the Continental militia into a fighting force that could stand against the British. Each stamp shows the typical uniform that was associated with each branch during the Revolutionary War and for sometime after.

This medallion was launched in 1975, which was the 200th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, as well as the 200th anniversary of the Armed Forces. There were a total of five medallions issued with one medallion being issued for each year of the American Revolution. [Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Cain, Alexander R. 2008. We stood our ground: Lexington in the first year of the American Revolution. Westminster, Md: Heritage Books.

Fischer, David Hackett. 1994. Paul Revere’s ride. New York: Oxford University Press.

Galvin, John R. 1989. The minute men: the first fight : myths & realities of the American revolution. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey’s International Defense Publisher.

Kleeb, Arlene Phillips. 1975. Lexington and Concord: rationale for independence : an exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the battle. [Ann Arbor]: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Tourtellot, Arthur Bernon. 1963. Lexington and Concord; the beginning of the War of the American Revolution. New York: W. W. Norton.

Object: Medallion

Materials: Metal, Cardboard, Paper, Plastic

This object is a commemorative medallion issued by the United States Department of the Treasury in honor of the Bicentennial of the American Revolutionary War. This is the third medallion issued in a series of five, for information about the first and second medallions, please see out blog posts from March 20 and March 24, 2014. The front side of the medallion shows a profile of John Adams and on the backside is a relief of the coastline of the United States with a man superimposed on the relief holding out a bundle of papers towards the east. Around the top edge of the coin the words “First Continental Congress” are printed and on the bottom is “For The Recovery Of Our Just Rights.” The medallion was issued with two information cards and another medallion inside an envelope that had four commemorative stamps on the front. The second medallion is made of plastic and shows the official logo of the American Revolution Bicentennial.

John Adams

John Adams. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

John Adams was a lawyer from Boston who became an important leader in the fight for independence. Adams was originally a moderate to revolutionary activities and instead based his opposition to British policies on a legal basis. He was elected to the First Continental Congress and served in each succeeding Congress until 1777. Adams was part of those who helped draft the Declaration of Rights and an address to King George III himself. During the Second Continental Congress, Adams was a partisan for complete Independence from Great Britain and served with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and two others on a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. During the war Adams dealt with the problems of military administration and also with the international politics of the emerging nation.  Adams served as the second president of the United States with Jefferson as his Vice President. He died the same day as Jefferson on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

When the First Continental Congress convened on September 5, 1774; there were 56 delegates from twelve colonies. The Congress issued two documents which were the Declaration of Rights and the personal letter to King George III. They resolved to meet in May of 1775 if Parliament failed to address the issues presented by the colonies. The backside of the coin is meant to represent the First Continental Congress as a united body represented by the man. The papers represent the Declaration of Rights and the personal letter to King George III, which were the product of the Congress. The outline of the coast of the United States only shows the original British colonies (Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations).

independence hall

Independence Hall Located in Philadelphia. Image via USHistory.org

The commemorative stamps on the front of the envelope include an image of Carpenter’s Hall in the top left, a stamp with “We ask but for Peace, Liberty and Safety. First Continental Congress – 1774″ printed on it in the top right, another with “Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Declaration of Independence – 1776″ in the bottom left, and an image of Independence Hall in the bottom right. Carpenter’s Hall was where the First Continental Congress met and is located in Philadelphia. Independence Hall was where the Declaration of Independence was drafted, debated, and signed. Independence Hall is also located in Philadelphia a couple of blocks away from Carpenter’s Hall.

This medallion was launched in 1974, which was the 200th anniversary of the First Continental Congress. There were a total of five medallions issued with one medallion being issued for each year of the American Revolution. [Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:

Black, Jeremy. 2006. George III: America’s last king. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.

Burnett, Edmund Cody. 1964. The Continental Congress. New York: W.W. Norton.

Henderson, H. James. 1974. Party politics in the Continental Congress. New York: McGraw-Hill.

McCullough, David G. 2001. John Adams. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sneak Peek

The Research, Exhibits & Collections Department has just a few days to put all the finishing touches on the Hats Off to Fiesta! exhibit, that opens on March 28th. Below are a few sneak peek images of the exhibit, to tide you over until the big reveal.

Help us spread the word about the exhibit by using the hashtag #hatsofftoitc when you tweet! As a bonus, you can receive 10% off an ITC membership when you use the hash tag, see the ITC Gift Shop on your next visit for details on this great deal.

Also, be sure to mark your calendar for the Fiesta® Family Day on April 26th!

Object: Medallion


Materials: Metal, Cardboard, Paper, Plastic

Portrait Of Governor Samuel Adams

Photo via: Major John Johnston, Wikimedia Commons

This object is a commemorative medallion issued by the United States Department of the Treasury in honor of the Bicentennial of the American Revolutionary War. This is the second medallion issued in a series of five, for information about the first medallion, please see out blog post from March 20, 2014. The front side of the medallion shows a profile of Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry, while on the other side there is an image of a man on horseback speaking to two individuals. Around the edge on the backside it reads “Committees of Correspondence to Unite the Colonies.” The medallion was issued with two information cards and another medallion inside an envelope that had four commemorative stamps on the front. The second medallion is made of plastic and shows the official logo of the American Revolution Bicentennial.


Photo via: George Bagby Matthews, Wikimedia Commons

Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry were both important in the protest movement that was going on in the American Colonies during 1773. Adams was a leader of the “Sons of Liberty” as well as a leader of the Committees of Correspondence. Henry was also a member of the Committees of Correspondence, as well as a statesman from Virginia. Both Adams and Henry were great orators (public speakers) and both delivered many public addresses to encourage and show their support for Independence from Britain. One of the most famous speeches is Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech which he delivered on March 23, 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond Virginia. Below is a video narration of the speech.

The Committees of Correspondence was created in March of 1773 and was a way for those who believed in independence to inform each other and the populace as to what the British policies were. The first meeting was held in Boston in November of 1772 and was formed by Samuel Adams and others. The meeting in 1773 took place in the Virginia House of Burgesses and had such members as Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee. It was also a way for the populace to organize against the British. By 1774 all but two colonies had such committees operating. These committees were instrumental in paving the way for Independence from the British.


Photo via: W.D. Cooper, Wikimedia Commons

The four commemorative stamps that are on the front of the envelope are in honor of The Boston Tea Party which took place on December 13, 1773. During the early part of 1773 the British passed the Tea Act which was another taxation that the patriots feared would make colonial governors less accountable to the legislators.  The patriots dressed as Native Americans, went on board the ships at night, and broke open the tea chests on board the ships and dumped it into the bay. There were several such tea parties held on down the coast, but  the one in Boston is the most famous of these as it was the first.

This medallion was launched in 1973, which was the 200th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. There were a total of five medallions issued with one medallion being issued for each year of the American Revolution. [Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Butler, Jon. 2000. Becoming America: the revolution before 1776. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Stoll, Ira. 2008. Samuel Adams: a life. New York: Free Press.

Unger, Harlow G. 2011. American tempest: how the Boston Tea Party sparked a revolution. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

 Unger, Harlow G. 2010. Lion of liberty: Patrick Henry and the call to a new nation. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Institute of Texan Cultures Collections Blog

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Museum Anthropology

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Center for the Future of Museums

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Smithsonian Collections Blog

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

Exploring the digital humanities

ethnology @ snomnh

experimenting with social microexhibitions since 2007


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