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The Smithsonian has long been known as the "nation's attic" because of its ongoing mission to collect and document the physical history of the country in all possible areas. Now comprising numerous specialty museums and galleries, the Smithsonian still has more items in its possession than can possibly be displayed. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian's undersecretary for art, history and culture, has overseen a fairly small, portable collection items from the institutions vast holdings that offer a unique take on America's long and continuing journey. The hardcover book The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects features images and essays on items as disparate as Julia Childs' kitchen and one of Chuck Berry's guitars, and symbols as powerful as the original flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Cesar Chavez's jacket. Kurin discusses the book tonight at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books in the Central West End (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Admission is free.
Fri., Nov. 22, 2013

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