Souvenir Nation

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Travelers have been picking-up mementos of their trips since the first tourist hit the road. Now that universal tendency is the focus of a new exhibition by Washington D.C.’s National Museum of American History.

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“Souvenir Nation”, at the fantastical Smithsonian Castle on the Mall, dates back to the time that travelers pilfered souvenirs rather than making purchases at the now ubiquitous gift shops. The diverse exhibits include a chunk of Plymouth Rock chiseled-off by a 19th century tourist, Napoleon’s napkin, John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 tie clip, a brick lifted from George Washington’s childhood home, tables and chairs appropriated from Appomatox Courthouse, a piece of fence rail split by Abraham Lincoln and other curios and keepsakes.

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The fascinating exhibition runs daily until August 2014.

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