Why is the Smithsonian ashamed of our troops?
  • Petitioned Marc Pachter
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

Interim Director NMAH
Marc Pachter
Deputy Director office of Public Affairs
Valeska M Hilbig
See response
Associate Curator Division of Armed Forces HIstory
Kathleen Golden
Associate Director office of Curatorial Affairs
David K Allison
US House of Representatives, NMAH board
Honorable Doris Matsui REP CA-05
US State Senate MS, NMAH Board
Honorable Thad Cochran MS
Chair and Curator Division of Armed Forces History
Jennifer Locke- Jones

Why is the Smithsonian ashamed of our troops?

    1. Petition by

      S R

      lexington, KY

Smithsonian: Please update this exhibit and show our troops the respect they deserve!

My husband is a Sgt. in the Marine Corps and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom whose family has served in almost every war this country has been in. We visited the National Museum of American History to the “Price of Freedom- Americans at War” exhibit to immerse ourselves in the pride and heritage that comes from those who have served our country from the War of Independence to our present day conflicts.

What he wound up feeling, as we came through the last part of the exhibit encompassing the Gulf War to today, was pure shock and disappointment. Three wars and the largest domestic terrorist attack in our nations history are displayed in a manner of seemingly careless indifference.

The size of the display room is equivalent to a living room at best and the displays are comprised of less than 20 pictures and 20 artifacts for all three wars combined. A pair of chocolate chip cammis' from Desert Storm and a laptop used by an NBC camera man in Iraq are how this part of the exhibit begins and ends. That and a deck of “Iraqi Most Wanted” playing cards does not an exhibit make!

This issue is not political or whether one agrees with the wars - it is one of respect; and I want the message to go to the creators of this exhibit and the director of the museum over all to know that the attention to detail that was put into the exhibit for the other wars should be shown to these too. There is no excuse! They need to bring this section of the exhibit up to date by adding more artifacts and thoroughly explaining the events and activities taking place in the field and at home.

Millions of people from our country and around the world come to this museum in our nation's capital every year to see just what it means to be an American and truly get the sense of patriotism and pride for which we are renowned. This minimal display representing decades of war is disrespectful to our military, their families and our nation.

By signing this petition, you will show my husband and all his brothers and sisters in arms who have volunteered to fight to protect out freedoms like generations of the bravest before, that we are proud of them and we are proud to be Americans.

Links to the interactive exhibit and an article on the state of the exhibit


Recent signatures


    1. Requests for donation or loans of personal memorobilia to the Smithsonian

      S R
      by S R
      Petition Organizer

      The Interim DIrector of NMAH was kind enough to email me regarding the petition.
      Below is an excerpt from his email.
      The exhibition team struggled with how to incorporate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As ongoing actions, these wars are more current event than history; some colleagues advised them not to include these wars at all, arguing that it was too early to consider them with the proper historical perspective or to place them in the context of history. The team considered this advice carefully—but bolstered by visitor studies that revealed strong public interest in both wars, especially among young people, decided to include them
      If you would like to consider a contribution of objects, including uniforms, equipment, artwork, or anything from the service member’s life on active duty, please contact the curators at armedforceshistory@si.edu.

      Marc Pachter, Interim Director
      National Museum of American History

      Marc Pachter
      Interim Director, NMAH

    2. Email received from the Interim Director of NMAH Marc Pachter

      S R
      by S R
      Petition Organizer

      "Curators are reaching out to the communities to collect objects that tell the stories of the experiences of our troops and their families. For example, among recent acquisitions, the museum collected sketchbooks and artwork by military artists documenting both conflicts and soldiers recovering at military hospitals. Visitors get a preview of these incoming collections in the “New American Roles” section which currently features objects that tell the story of Infantry Specialist Robert Lliteras who was hit by rifle fire and treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In addition to bringing in objects to round out the collection, the museum is also in the process of identifying the financial resources we need to update our exhibitions. With these resources and most importantly, a larger collection of artifacts to draw from, the museum is planning to make changes in this section within the next year or two. "

    3. Decision-maker Valeska M Hilbig responds:

      Valeska M Hilbig

      Dear Ms Raudenbusch, and to everyone who signed this petition:
      My colleagues and I have received your petition requesting an update of the “New American Roles” section of the Price of Freedom exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Muse...

    4. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Robert Tait NORTH PALM BEACH, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      We need to have the utmost respect for those srving to protect out freedoms.

    • Frank Orifici SILVER SPRING, MD
      • over 2 years ago

      These brave men & women have had to endure multiple tours of duty, more than any other war.

    • Michelle Bowen SIOUX FALLS, SD
      • over 2 years ago

      Disappointed in exhibit.son was army intelligence specialist and much more should be mentioned about accomplishments of each phase and each branch


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