The Museum of Television will be an interactive museum that will take visitors on a journey through our country's dynamic history. Dedicated to the reciprocal relationship between American television and American culture, visitors will have a chance to gauge how much our nation has changed, to understand how and why some of our collective views and tastes have evolved, and to think about how television has influenced their own lives.
Through an exclusive multi-year license, the Museum of Television will provide an unprecedented opportunity to view the Comisar Collection, the defining archive of original television costumes, props, sets, and related ephemera, which has never before been exhibited en masse nor do most of these objects exist anywhere else on earth. Collection materials are as varied as Ralph Kramden’s bus driver jacket from The Honeymooners, Ricky Ricardo’s smoking jacket from I Love Lucy, Captain Kirk’s uniform tunic from Star Trek, Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone from Get Smart, Archie Bunker’s living room from All In the Family, Johnny Carson’s talk show set from The Tonight Show, the squad room from Law & Order, Donald Trump’s boardroom from The Apprentice, the judges desks from American Idol, America’s Got Talentand Dancing with the Stars, Jack Bauer’s Counter Terrorist Unit badge and gun from 24, to a section of the downed plane from Lost.
Central to our mission is to offer exhibitions grounded in culture and experience rather than just academic authority, which is a fresh approach to telling America’s story. Nothing can quite compare to the emotional response that artifacts and actual documents inspire, and if words and images were sufficient museums would serve no purpose. These beloved and important objects provide both the personal connection and the powerful potential to draw millions of guests from around the world to explore the many aspects of American life that are part and parcel with television programming; including advertising and consumerism, fashion, current events, religion, and sports. Each area broadens the story that can be told, gives context to various decades of social history, and allows us to consider what will come next. Curator James Comisar is also the President of The Comisar Collection.
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For his essential role in advancing the preservation of television history, artifacts from the career and collection of curator
JAMES G. COMISAR
Are now part of the permanent entertainment collections of the
SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY