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  • Story of Diplomacy

    The Declaration Heard ‘Round the World

    The 1776 Declaration of Independence is one of the most universally well-known historical documents. American diplomats continue to promote the democratic values enshrined in its…

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    Diplomatic Courier Pouch

    Diplomatic Couriers safely and securely deliver classified messages and material to U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. This leather courier pouch from the early 20th century in the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s collection was used by diplomatic couriers to securely transport diplomatic materials. Retired couriers who were consulted when the…

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    Diplomatic Courier’s Overnight Bag

    U.S. Diplomatic Couriers are some of the most traveled people in the world. They’re responsible for ensuring that classified materials are safely and securely transported across international borders. Without their hard work, U.S. missions and consulates couldn’t function. Few objects in our collection illustrate the breadth and frequency of a diplomatic courier’s…

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    Ledger of Passport Renewals, USSR

    This State Department ledger records information about the issuance and renewal of passports for Americans living in or traveling to the Soviet Union (USSR), including details of specific individuals' cases, dating from 1926 through the late 1930s. The case of Robert N. Robinson, an African American engineer who ended up trapped in…

  • Story of Diplomacy

    How Secretary Albright Advocated to Expand NATO

    Secretary Madeleine Albright was a trailblazer as the first woman Secretary of State. One of her most significant accomplishments was helping to expand NATO to include more countries in the 1990s. Why was expanding NATO so important to global security? And what role did Secretary Albright play in achieving this diplomatic milestone?

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    Ice Cap Dish

    At the 2015 GLACIER Conference hosted by the U.S. Department of State in Anchorage, Alaska, Secretary of State John Kerry received this steel dish designed in the shape of the Vatnajökull ice cap as a gift from Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinson. The Vatnajökull ice cap is the largest in Europe…

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    Ancient Tongan Royal Tombs Painting

    The ancient royal tombs in Lapaha are central to Tonga's cultural heritage. The most ancient of these tombs were built around 1200 AD. They are considered the most important historical and archaeological monument in the South Pacific. This painted depiction of the tombs was a gift to a Foreign Service Officer who…

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    Order of Merit of Berlin

    This high German honor was presented to Ambassador Harry Gilmore, U.S. Minister to Berlin, in 1991 for “outstanding contributions to the state of Berlin.” The medallion is in the shape of the Maltese cross with the coat of arms of Berlin in center. Gilmore was the last person to occupy the position.…

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    Bot-Zam Highway Ribbon-Cutting Scissors

    Scissors from ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the Bot-Zam highway on January 20, 1977. The highway linked Botswana with Zambia, providing a vital connection between Botswana and its only majority-ruled neighbor in an era of apartheid. The U.S. ambassador to Botswana, Donald R. Norland, performed the ribbon-cutting.