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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 03/11/2011

Smithsonian pledges to open an American merchandise shop

By Jacqueline Trescott

The skirmish over product origins between the National Museum of American History and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was settled this week when the museum promised to open a gift shop devoted to made-in-America products.

Sanders had expressed his displeasure at the museum's product line when he was browsing one day around the Christmas holidays and found the small presidential busts were made in China. This didn't make sense to the legislator, who said at least the presidential images should have a label from one of the 50 states.He was also concerned that American manufacturing was suffering.

Brent D.Glass,the director of the museum, said Thursday a third floor gift shop will be dedicated to American products. The shop will open on July 4th, Glass said. It is located next to the exhibitions "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War" and "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden."

"We hope this addresses the concerns Sen. Sanders raised and highlights the role that American History plays in calling attention to American innovation," Glass said. Glass said the museum is continuing to inventory its 1600 products and their sources. "Sixty-five percent of the books we carry are printed in America," he said.

"Those presidential statues were designed in the U.S., packaged in the U.S. and produced in China. They're a hybrid," Glass said. The museum sells about 1200 a year, he said.

Sanders said he was pleased with the commitment, but he would be watching.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | March 11, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Museums, Smithsonian  | Tags:  American manufacturing, National Museum of American History, Sen. Bernard Sanders, U.S.merchandise at the Smithsonian  
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