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Hope Diamond Expert to Lecture on ‘The History of America in 101 Objects’

LAKELAND – Reducing the Smithsonian’s collection of some 137 million objects to a mere 101 to tell the story of America is no easy task. But aided by more than 100 curators, Dr. Richard Kurin did just that in a new book, “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects.”

Kurin, a world-renowned expert on the Hope Diamond and the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian, will lecture about his book and the objects featured within its pages at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Polk Museum of Art. Admission is free to Polk Museum of Art members and $10 for non-members. He will lecture again Friday, March 7, at 4 p.m. at the Winter Haven Public Library. Admission to the Winter Haven Public Library lecture is free.

Polk Museum of Art is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. The Smithsonian Affiliations program offers museums, nonprofit cultural institutions and educational organizations across the country the opportunity to have access to Smithsonian collections, programs and expertise.

The book, “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects” has been recommended by Oprah Winfrey, featured in television, radio and magazine stories, and since its publication, topped best-sellers in Americana. Reviewers have called it “marvelous … immersive, addictive reading,” and “a well-conceived and well-illustrated pleasure to read.”

Using items from each Smithsonian museum and including such icons as George Washington’s portrait, the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn Monroe” and even the National Zoo’s pandas, Kurin weaves a superb, engaging narrative of our nation and adeptly highlights the contributions of its various regions. His informative, story-telling presentations, whether in lecture or interview format, are full of surprising and enlightening twists and turns, and have thrilled audiences around the United States.


Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts in Central Florida. The Museum is one of the Top 10 art museums in the State of Florida, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the only art museum accredited by the American Association of Museums serving the 561,000 residents of Polk County. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays; 1 – 5 p.m. Sundays; and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for Museum members. General admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors (62 and older). Children and students with student IDs are admitted for free. Special exhibition fees may apply. Admission is free to all on Thursdays, thanks to our partnership with the Chao Foundation; Fridays, thanks to BB&T; and Saturdays, thanks to MIDFLORIDA. The Museum is fully accessible.

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