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"An Alligator in the Coal Scuttle" and "She Felt Behind the Books," Illustrations for "Little April Fool" in "Pinafores and Pantalets"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for chapter 5 of, “Pinafores and Pantalets” by Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis. Two drawings on one page- one on upper left-hand corner marked: First picture, An Alligator in the Coal Scuttle!; the other, lower right-hand corner marked: She Felt Behind the Books, Second Picture; Alligator faces right with curved tail at left. The little girl, back view, fumbles in bookshelf, rising on toes.

"An Army Encampment"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Recto: Horizontal composite of various scenes in an army encampment.

Verso: Vertical sketches, a saluting Zouave, probably shown from the back; head is show in profile, at left. Partially drawn over a "wash" list.

"And Jesus Wept" (relief panel) [sculpture] / (photographed by De Witt Ward)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
On photo mount label: O. Ruotolo. "And Jesus wept." Ward. Classification number: 282. Accession: 57789. Lantern slide: E52048.

1 photographic print : b&w, 6 x 8 1/2 in. (trimmed), mounted on 9 3/4 x 13 7/8 in. board.

"And They Thought We Couldn't Fight"

National Museum of American History

"And They Thought We Couldn't Fight"

National Museum of American History

"Anduka from Bengela"/Portrait (Front) of Anduka, Tarwani? Man Originally from Zambezi (Zambeze) River Area (in Rhodesia, British Central Africa) and (in Mozambique, East Africa); Apparently a Slave Taken from Benguela, Portuguese West Africa (Angola) 1838 Painting

National Anthropological Archives
Published: Wilkes, Charles; Narrative, 1845, Vol 1, P 62 (Head Shown Only) Crew List Shows Artist's Name, "Alfred S. Agate" (On Storeship "Relief"); Signed by Artist: A. T. A., Del

Colored pencil Watercolor painting

"Angel Holding Trumpet" Engine Panel Painting

National Museum of American History
In the nineteenth century, volunteer fire companies often commissioned paintings to decorate their hand-pumped fire engines for parades, competitions, and community events. Sometimes framed with elaborate carvings, they adorned the tall air chamber located at the middle or rear of a pumper. The paintings would often feature patriotic, heroic, or allegorical images to associate the volunteer companies with these lofty ideals. This Angel Holding Trumpet panel painting was made by an unknown artist in the late 19th century. The character could possibly be a personification of Fame, celebrating the triumphing of the fire company.

"Antique" Pendant

Smithsonian American Art Museum

"Ape" (Carlo Pellegrini) [painting] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Negative marked: "39".

Gallatin, A. E., "The Portraits and Caricatures of James McNeill Whistler," London: John Lane, 1913.

Black-and-white study print (8x10).

Orig. negative: 8x10, Glass, BW.

Simpson, John W., New York.

"Are You 100% American?"

National Museum of American History

"Arlington Cemetery" by Vanessa Helder

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : col. ; 9 x 13 cm.

"Armenian Public Radio" Brings Nirvana Attitude to the Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Magazine

California is known as a melting pot of immigrants. People from Western Europe, Asia and Latin America are among the most visible in California's cultural landscape.

But Los Angeles also happens to hold the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia. One group of Armenian musicians is bringing the traditional sound of that community to Washington, D.C. for Smithsonian's 2016 Folklife Festival, Sounds of California. Armenian Public Radio will play two concerts on the National Mall during the festival.

“We're all first-generation born in the U.S.,” says Mher Vahakn Ajamian, percussionist and guitar player. “All of our parents were born not in the U.S., they were born in the Middle East. Lebanon or Syria.”

Most Armenians in California arrived as they fled various wars during the 20th century. “My grandfather was born in Syria. The reason my grandfather was born in Syria was the Armenian genocide,” when the Ottoman government that later became Turkey systematically exterminated around 1.5 million Armenians starting in 1915.

“My great-grandfather escaped during the genocide and ended up in Syria. My grandfather gets married, moves to Lebanon, has my dad and my aunt. They came to the U.S. due to the invasion of Lebanon in the Lebanese Civil War.”

Armenian-American culture and music has a distinctly multicultural flavor due to the experiences of so many refugees spending years (or even generations) in other countries before settling here.

Traditional Armenian folk music was all around as Ajamian was growing up. As was other music from the family's history. “At weddings, we also listen to Arabic music and Greek music being played. You'll hear the Gypsy Kings and Latin music.” Ajamian's father grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Simon and Garfunkel while in Lebanon.

Armenian Public Radio, a trio consisting of Ajamian along with Ryan Demirjian, guitarist and Saro Koujakian on lead vocals and guitar, exclusively performs traditional Armenian folk songs with a modern American sensibility and on modern acoustic guitars. “The Nirvana Unplugged album, the Alice in Chains Unplugged album. Those are things we listened to over and over again,” says Ajamian. “What we want to be is Armenian music, but sounding like Nirvana playing.”

The easy comparison with Armenian Public Radio is the well-known metal band, System of a Down, led by fellow L.A. County-raised Armenian-American, Serj Tankian. “System of a Down did some great things for our culture, especially as far as getting recognition for the genocide,” says Ajamian. “But I'm not into heavy metal. The other two [band members] listen to them, some albums more than others. I don't know that it has influenced us musically. The Armenian musicians who influenced [SOAD] also influenced us. Definitely in our audience, most people our age here and even a little bit younger, they love System of a Down.”

Armenian folk music is filled with references to the nation's history. During the past century, much of that music evolved with lyrics about what happened starting in 1915. But Armenian Public Radio prefers to maintain a different attitude. “Are we affected by the genocide, yeah, obviously,” says Ajamian. “But we also come from the philosophy that our history goes back thousands of years with folklore and tradition. As much as the genocide history is important, I don't want our entire cultural narrative to become about that.”

“We're a very proud culture.”

Armenian Public Radio performs July 7 and July 8 at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for its "Sound of California" program, running from June 29 to July 4 and July 7 to July, 10 on the National Mall. Other performers include Quetzal, an “East LA Chicana rock group;” Grupo Nuu Yuku, a large ensemble of Oaxacan Mixteco immigrant farmworkers from the Madera area; for a total of 16 world renowned bands and artistic organizations.

"Armor of 1440; Best Epoch"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
A knight in full armor on horseback is seen facing half left, his visor closed, and set against a simulated parchment scroll. Famous battles listed on ribbons and military trophies form the border.

"Armor of 800. Time of Charlemagne"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Two armored knights are seen frontally, astride their horses.

"Around the World"

National Museum of American History
This sheet music is for the song "Around the World," with lyrics by Harold Adamson and music by Victor Young. It was published by Chappell and Co., Inc. in New York, New York in 1956. The song was featured in the United Artists 1956 adventure-comedy film Around the World in 80 Days, directed by Michael Anderson and starred Cantinflas, David Niven, Robert Newman, and Shirley MacLaine.

"Arrival of 54th at Olustee, Florida" sketch in The True Story of Glory Continues

National Museum of American History

"Arrival of 54th at Olustee, Florida" painted sketch from artist's sketchbook used in documentary The True Story of Glory Continues. The sketch depicts a regiment marching and preparing to march, with two officers on horseback. This is part of a set of sketches from "A Swamp Angel's Sketchbook,” which contains concepts for the film Glory.

Glory was the first film to illustrate the involvement of African American soldiers in the Civil War. The film follows the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first African American Union regiment organized in the North during the Civil War, and culminates in the Battle at Fort Wagner.

"Art Students at Paris" Thanksgiving dinner place card for Louis Eilshemius

Archives of American Art
1 place card : ill. ; 17 x 22 cm. Date based on penciled note, lower left corner.
Sheet features blank box in which Eilshemius' name is written in pen; surrounded by an illustration of two young men, presumably artists, pointing at chefs and waiters bearing platters of food. Surrounding text reads: Thanksgiving dinnner of ye Art Students at Paris, Restaurant Lepérouse [i.e. Lapérouse], 51 quai des Grands Augustins.
This item served most likely either as a place card at the dinner table or perhaps as an invitation to the dinner.

"Art and Money; or, the Story of the Room": Whistler, the Peacock Room, and the Artist as Magus

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
"Art and Money; or, the Story of the Room": Whistler, the Peacock Room, and the Artist as Magus Sally-Anne Huxtable Lecturer in Design History, Department of Arts University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art October 27--28, 2011

"As a Man Thinks"

National Portrait Gallery

"Ash Nest; Hai no su"

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
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