Eight Proposed Cultural Acquisitions for the Smithsonian

Brooke Shields.

The Smithsonian may have Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt and Cliff Clavin's postal uniform, but they could pay even further tribute to the era of NBC dominance with this acquisition. The 'puffy shirt' got its own episode, but this black, Gap-ish schmatte seems to define an era, no?

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Getty Images

Yes, the First Lady's inauguration dress has a spot in the museum. But does Michelle Obama have the tossed-off, all-American hauteur of Jill Biden's wispy half-bang look? We suggest clipping the bangs and keeping them in a climate-controlled gallery, so future generations may learn.

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Farrah Fawcett's swimsuit poster isn't the only iconic dorm-room poster in history—nor should her red swimsuit be the only piece of behind-the-poster memorabilia the Smithsonian shows. Our grandchildren will delight at the bottle this monkey really drank from while posing for this poster, in an image that become iconic for a generation of college students. (N.b.: the monkey's whereabouts are currently unknown.)

By inducting Shepard Fairey's Obama posters, the museum paid lip service to graffiti artists--but we're not sure they really care about street art. They've somehow ignored Thierry Guetta's spray-paint-inspired brilliance! (Talk about an American original.)


Everyone loves Smithsonian inductee Kermit the Frog. Even better, though? Two-time Oscar-winner Michael Caine, who played opposite Kermit in The Muppet Christmas Carol! We suggest a permanent installation, where Caine restages the performance as a one-man show, on the half-hour.

Henry Winkler's leather jacket, now on display, was on TV weekly during Happy Days's run from 1974 to 1984. Ron Howard's bald pate-covering ballcap has been with us practically ever since.

The recent temporary video installation A Fire in My Belly was even more temporary than planned: it was removed after Republicans threatened to cut funding to the museum. The video depicted a crucifix overrun with ants, and, while regaining the respect of the art community is probably impossible, we think the ant lobby would be satisfied by the induction of the 1998 Woody Allen cartoon Antz

Though she's long since moved on, we haven't! Rihanna's umbrella was the most famous musical object of the mid-to-late-2000s--it's surprising that a museum so into commemorating the trappings of fame hasn't snapped it up yet. Guess she's no Van Halen.

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