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A History of America in 101 Objects and Pittsburgh's Contributions

The Smithsonian Institution has been referred to as "America's attic." It is home to many iconic objects that have shaped the history of our nation, from industry to culture. In his book, History of America in 101 Objects, author and Smithsonian curator Dr. Richard Kurin chronicles and pinpoints these national treasures by focusing on key objects in the vast collection. 

Here are some of Kurin’s favorite objects related to the Pittsburgh region:

Salk Vaccine

  • The Trials began here in the Pittsburgh area and the vaccine was discovered at the University of Pittsburgh

Conestoga Wagon

  • They were used as transportation on the early trails in Western Pennsylvania.

George Washington's sword

  • Used to review the troops in Bedford, PA after the Whiskey Rebellion

Andy Warhol's Painting of Marilyn Monroe

  • Warhol's most famous painting was the silkscreen image of Monroe. Kurin notes that this image helped define Pop Culture
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