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Early American souvenirs typically took the form of a piece of the place visited. A splinter chipped out of the molding at Mount Vernon, a chunk of stone chiseled from Plymouth Rock or bit of fabric clipped from a White House curtain. At one point the "national mania" for souvenir collecting threatened to destroy the very places visitors wished to remember. We talk with the curator of a new Smithsonian exhibit about the evolution of souvenirs and what we can learn from those early relics.
Images courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.