Giving in America

November 29, 2016 – Permanent

Ice Bucket Challenge bucket, 2014

National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

3rd Floor, Center Floor Plan

Giving in America, a permanent exhibit that looks at the history of philanthropy’s role in shaping the United States, opened on #Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. The exhibit showcases four major themes of American philanthropy centered on the questions of “Who Gives?” “Why Do We Give?” “What Do We Give?” and “How Do We Give?” and uses artifacts ranging from an alms box of the 1800s to a bucket used during the 2014-15 “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” which went viral on social media. The exhibit features a section devoted to an annual topic.

The annual topic, Giving and the Arts, was added March 22, 2018, to include Sting’s 1978 Fender Stratocaster guitar, Lin Manuel Miranda’s costume from the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” Misty Copeland’s ballet slippers, and Kermit the Frog. The display showcases how artists and arts and culture organizations contribute time, talent and treasure to advance causes that range from education to humanitarian aid.