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HistoryWired: A few of our favorite things is an experimental program through which you can take a virtual tour of selected objects from the vast collections of the National Museum of American History. Here you'll have an opportunity to look at hundreds of museum artifacts, most of which are not currently on exhibit.

object squaresBegin your tour by visiting the main object map. The map is divided into regions, which represent broad object categories. The smaller "squares" represent individual items from the museum's collections. Move the mouse over an object square to see the name of the object. More information and a thumbnail image will also appear on the blue panel to the left. Yellow lines point to relevant themes, and the timeline at the top will indicate the date of the object.

object ratingClick once on the object square and select "Learn more about this object" (or double-click on the square) to launch a new window with more detailed information and images about the object. You may register your level of interest in the object by rating it on a scale of one to ten. Your rating will influence the layout of the object map. When you are done reading about an object, close the window to return to the map.

You can customize your experience by using the following features:

using theme buttons and timelineThemes: Clicking on the theme buttons at the top of the map will highlight relevant objects. When two or more buttons are selected, objects relating to multiple themes will appear darker in color. More detailed topics can be found by using the drop-down menu on the left. For example, the "Achievement" category highlights inventions and award-winning objects.

Timeline: Drag the sliders at either end of the timeline to narrow the choice of objects. Those outside of the time frame you choose will turn gray.

Search: The text search on the lower left will find object titles containing your search term.

Zoom: Click once on the map to see a menu with zoom options. Once the map is zoomed, you can move it around by holding the Shift key as you click-and-drag the map with your mouse. To zoom out, use the zoom menu or click the button on the bottom left of the map.

Text Only: A categorized list of all the objects featured in HistoryWired has been provided for those who cannot access the Java object map. Click on the "Text Only Version" link at the bottom of the home page.

Now you're ready to start your tour of the collections! Begin by clicking below to close this window. You can access these instructions at any time by clicking "help."

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