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Test Your Knowledge of The Smithsonian

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Can you identify this object from the Smithsonian's collection?
  • hatCORRECT ANSWER Abraham Lincoln's top hat. Abraham Lincoln wore this top hat to Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865. That morning, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth had learned that the president planned to attend the theater's evening performance of "Our American Cousin." During the third act of the play, Booth shot Lincoln through the back of the head. Leaping down onto the stage, he shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" (the motto of the state of Virginia, meaning "Thus always to tyrants!") and "The South is avenged!" Lincoln died shortly after seven o'clock the next morning.

  • Wooden headrest from the Tellem peoples of Mali, Africa.
  • An Acme Voting Machine from 1880.
  • A Shoshone moccasin.
7549 responses
Which of the following is not part of the Smithsonian's collection?
  • A model of the alien Mother Ship used in the filming of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

  • The dining room from the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy ship owner, painted from floor to ceiling by the American-born artist James McNeill Whistler.
  • CORRECT ANSWER A portrait of Stephen Colbert, host and mock pundit of the television show, The Colbert Report. Although Colbert's portrait did hang in the National Portrait Gallery for six weeks, it was not accessioned into its permanent collection. In three episodes of The Colbert Report, Colbert tried to convince the Smithsonian that he should be considered a national treasure. An appropriate place to hang Colbert's portrait was eventually found, in between the bathrooms and above the water fountain.
  • Owney the dog a stray turned postal mascot that traveled the world on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service.
7549 responses
Can you identify this object from the Smithsonian's collection?
  • Bottle of Bromo's Soda, a mix of bromide sodium and caffeine, used to treat many conditions such as sleeplessness, migraine, and sea sickness in the early 1900's.

  • CORRECT ANSWER The Hope Diamond, a 45.52 carat blue diamond. The Hope Diamond has a long and romantic history owned by royalty like King Louis XIV of France and King George IV of England and then changed hands until it was donated by Harry Winston, Inc. in 1958. Surrounding the Hope Diamond are 16 white diamonds, both pear-shapes and cushion cuts.
  • Smithsonite, the mineral discovered by and named for Smithsonian benefactor, James Smithson.
  • Image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon.
7549 responses
How much bamboo do the National Zoo's giant pandas eat every day?
  • 5 pounds.

  • 10 pounds.
  • CORRECT ANSWER 50 pounds. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, parents of cub Tai Shan, each consume 50 pounds of bamboo a day about ten times more food than an average person consumes. In the wild, giant pandas eat bamboo almost exclusively. They need all that bamboo because bamboo, which is a grass, contains very few nutrients. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they are fed bamboo as well as highly nutritious biscuits and carrots and apples.
  • 100 pounds.
7549 responses
Can you identify this object from the Smithsonian's collection?
  • CORRECT ANSWER Jerry Seinfeld's "puffy shirt." On a memorable episode of Seinfeld (NBC, 198998), comedian Jerry Seinfeld unwittingly agreed to wear this frilly pirate shirt during an appearance on the Today show. In 2004, Jerry Seinfeld presented the legendary "puffy shirt" to the National Museum of American History. How do curators decide to collect an item for posterity? In the case of the puffy shirt, given the number of episodes of "Seinfeld" that were filmed, the show is relatively significant in the pantheon of television programs.

  • Caroline Harrison's 1889 inaugural gown.
  • A lone star pattern quilt from the 1800's.
  • A feedsack dress from the 1920's.
7549 responses
Which of the following has the Smithsonian done?
  • Discovered a new "puffy" planet that has one-quarter the density of water and would float if placed in a bathtub large enough to hold it.

  • Played an integral part in bringing black footed ferrets back from near extinction.
  • Featured hip hop artists LL Cool J, Erykah Badu, Common, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in a recent exhibition.
  • CORRECT ANSWER All of the above.
7549 responses
Can you identify this object from the Smithsonian's collection?
  • A volcano on Mars, as seen by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.

  • A Sioux two-hide pattern dress from circa 1940.
  • CORRECT ANSWER An Asian elephant's trunk. Asian elephants are endangered in the wild, where perhaps only 30,000 still live in forests of south and southeast Asia. Three Asian elephants live at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, but plans call for growing the herd to form a social group like those found in the wild. The youngest, Kandula, was born in 2001 as the result of artificial insemination. His birth was a huge triumph in the Zoo's work to help save Asian elephant populations both in zoos and in the wild through science and conservation initiatives.
  • A Buffalo Soldier Uniform Coat, worn by African American U.S. army regiments in the late 1800's.
7549 responses

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