Mad Men Relics Will Go to the Smithsonian

Mad Men props and costumes are going to the Smithsonian (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta).

Mad Men props and costumes are going to the Smithsonian (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta).

The final seven episodes from the “seventh” season of Mad Men will begin to air next Sunday night on AMC—and begin streaming on Monday for cord cutters like me. As the program wrapped production, the producers donated many of the props and costumes from the series to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

Brett Zongker from the AP reports…

Curators at the Smithsonian were particularly interested in “Mad Men’s” real 1960s-period relics, from cigarette cartons and liquor bottles to shaving kits and tooth brushes that were used in the show, along with costumes that were recreated for the period. Some objects, including Draper’s suit, will be featured in an exhibit on American culture slated for 2018.

Relics from a television series ending up at the Smithsonian reminded me of my friend Derek and the time he worked as a docent at the Paley Center—formerly known as the Museum of TV and Radio and sometimes referred to as the Museum of TV and Television. When he would greet visitors, informing them that they can request to watch almost any TV program from the history of the medium, many visitors would ask to instead see props and costumes from television shows. One common request, he told me, was to see The Puffy Shirt from Seinfeld.. He would inevitably disappoint everyone when he informed them that, although patrons could watch the episode at the museum, the museum did not have the shirt or any similar objet. That’s because the shirt is at the Smithsonian.

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I always found that curious because the Smithsonian Museum of American History is the closest thing we have in the US to an official national museum and ministry of culture, and this was an almost official endorsement of television as part of our national heritage.

By the way, those in New York can already indulge in the world of Mad Men at the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria until mid-June. However, you’re too late to get a $19.69 prix-fixe, “era-appropriate” lunch special for Mad Men Dining Week.

Unlike the seemingly continual Restaurant Week, this special was only good for a single week.

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