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November 21, 2008 – Permanent
Museum: American History Museum
Location: Main Corridors of each wing
Three large, iconic artifacts in the main corridor of each wing highlight the key themes of the exhibitions in that wing:
• The John Bull Locomotive identifies the transportation and technology wing of the museum (1st Floor, East Wing Corridor).
On view is the steam locomotive John Bull and a section of the first iron railroad bridge in America.The John Bull was built in 1831 and ran for 35 years, pulling trains of passengers and cargo between the two largest cities of the time, Philadelphia and New York. The locomotive propelled trains at 25 to 30 miles per hour. The John Bull, which was ordered from England by Robert Stevens for his railroad company, was named after the mythical gentleman who symbolized England. It was assembled by Isaac Dripps, a young steamboat mechanic who had never seen a locomotive before.
• The Greensboro Lunch Counter identifies the American ideals wing of the museum (2nd Floor, East Wing Corridor).
This section of the Woolworth's lunch counter with 4 stools from Greensboro, North Carolina, represents the February 1, 1960 sit-in that challenged segregated eating places. On February 1, 1960, four African American students—Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond—sat down at this counter and politely asked for service. Their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. They were all enrolled at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College. Their "passive sit-down demand" began one of the first sustained sit-ins and ignited a youth-led movement to challenge injustice and racial inequality throughout the South.
• Civil War Draft Wheel identifies the American wars and politics wing of the museum (3rd Floor, East Wing Corridor). This Civil War draft wheel demonstrates the beginning of conscription (military draft) in the United States; it functioned as part of a procedure to select men for military service. The names of men eligible for the draft were written on slips of paper and dropped into holes inside the wheel. An official pulled out names to fill the ranks of the Union army.