American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith
What happens when a people decide to govern themselves?
America’s national treasures come to life in this compelling exhibition that examines the bold experiment to create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith explores the history of citizen participation, debate, and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. Through objects such as Thomas Jefferson’s portable desk, used to draft the Declaration of Independence; the inkstand Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation; and the table on which Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, the exhibition focuses on the changing political ideals and principles of the nation, citizenship in a pluralistic society, and political participation and engagement.
The National Museum of American History is home to more than 1.8 million objects and more than three shelf-miles of archival collections. On behalf of the nation, we preserve and share this extraordinary national collection encompassing everything from the original Star-Spangled Banner to Abraham Lincoln’s top hat; from the first computer bug to the first artificial heart; from Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet to Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Our archival collections include a remarkable array of American history in documents, photographs, and other works, including major holdings on the histories of American business and music.