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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Moravian girl's costume, about 1900Moravian girl's costume, about 1900

Many European countries have a national costume, symbolic of the ethnic identity of the dominant culture. Such costumes were generally developed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and reflected emerging nationalist sentiments as well as new interests in folk culture and tradition. During this time the National Museum acquired many examples of European ethnic costumes for its ethnology collection. This Moravian costume was donated in 1909 by the Czecho-Slav Ethnographic Museum in Prague along with other examples of "the true Slav folk-art." In exchange, the Prague museum requested anthropological specimens from the Smithsonian's collections—including skulls and bones to show the "anatomical peculiarities" of Native Americans, African Americans, and Egyptians—and an instrument for measuring cranial capacity.

See also: Children, Clothing

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