Smithsonian hunts for Obama history

  • Updated: January 22, 2013 - 10:47 PM

As crowds descended and the inauguration unfolded, a few museum curators in Washington kept watch for symbols and messages that would make history.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture will open during President Obama's second term, and one section will feature a large display about the first black president. Curators have been working since 2008 to gather objects, documents and images that capture his place in history.

Curator William Pretzer ventured into the crowd Monday, mostly looking for memorabilia that had a personal touch -- beyond the T-shirts and buttons hawked by vendors. "It's the personal expression, as opposed to the commercial" that the museum most wants to display, he said.

Among those the curator stopped was Larry Holmes, 56, of Washington, who was waving an American flag with an inauguration seal imprinted on the stripes. Holmes bought a similar flag at Obama's 2009 inauguration. Pretzer took Holmes' picture and handed him a donation card, in case he wished to donate the flags later.

The museum has amassed more than 300 Obama-related items, including furniture from a 2008 campaign office in northern Virginia and a cloth banner from Tanzania with an Obama portrait and message reading "Congratulations Barack Obama."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

New Kids, 98 Degrees, Boyz in concert

Late 20th-century heartthrobs New Kids on the Block (at left is member Donnie Wahlberg), 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men announced a concert tour for this year that includes a show at Target Center. The Minneapolis stop on "The Package" tour of "boy bands" will be July 13, the final show on their schedule so far. Tickets ranging from $29.50 to $91.50 go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 2 at Target Center, online at www.targetcenter.com or www.axs.com, or by calling 1-888-929-7849. New Kids, which is headlining the tour, also announced plans for a new album April 2 titled "10." A single will be released Monday on iTunes.

PAUL WALSH

BeyoncÉ lip-sync?: Beyoncé's performance of the national anthem at the inauguration was soaring, symbolic and musically superlative. But was it actually live? The U.S. Marine Band said early Tuesday that Beyoncé was lip-syncing the words to a backing track. It later backed off, saying that while the band had not played live, it didn't know whether Beyoncé had sung live or not.

MORE PRESS FOR HARRY: Prince Harry's admission that he killed Taliban fighters while working as a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan drew intense British news coverage Tuesday and sparked concerns about possible reprisals. Asked whether he had killed from the cockpit, the third in line to the British throne said: "Yeah, so, lots of people have."

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