Remember way back on March 27th during the final Mad Men half-season media blitz when Matthew Weiner and the cast made a stop at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to donate props and costumes?
I did when I was in Washington for work several weeks ago. As the presentations dragged on, all I could think about was making a getaway to check out the Mad Men donation. I carefully planned my escape and made my way down to the National Mall about thirty minutes before the museum closed for the day. After I successfully navigated the security screening, I jogged over to the Information Desk to ask directions to the Mad Men artifacts. Two very approachable, middle-aged women sat behind the desk and told me to go to the second floor, but warned me that I was going to be disappointed. They told me that the media blitz led visitors to believe that there would be an actual Mad Men exhibit, which isn’t the case.
Most of the Mad Men donation items are still in the Smithsonian Museum’s acquisitions department and won’t appear on display until 2018 as part of a planned exhibit on American Culture.
Because so many visitors have asked to see Donald Draper’s gray flannel suit and Cordova fedora, those items (along with Betty Draper’s yellow shirtwaist dress) have been put on display in an exhibit on the second floor called, American Stories, in the 1945-postwar and contemporary America section of the exhibit.
I raced up to the second floor and had just enough time to take a few photos before the museum would close and I would have to trudge back to my conference.
As I walked past the Information Desk to exit the museum, one of the women I spoke with earlier asked if I had found Donald Draper’s suit, and I smiled and replied, “A thing like that.” She nodded and flashed a knowing grin back at me.