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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Tavern sign, early 1800sTavern sign, early 1800s

As the machine age filled American lives with mass-produced goods, historians and collectors came to value folk art for its handcrafted, unique character, as a nostalgic reminder of a simpler, preindustrial past, and as a symbol of the nation's artistic heritage. In 1964 the Smithsonian acquired the large folk art collection of Eleanor and Mabel Van Alstyne. Many of the pieces, including this tavern sign, were featured in The Art and Spirit of a People, a 1965 exhibition at the Museum of History and Technology.

See also: Advertising, Folk Art

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