Distinguished Lecturers
Jane Rogers

Jane Rogers

Jane Rogers inherited her love of history from her father, a docent at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. He helped secure her an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History while she was a sophomore at the University of Maryland. While working in the Division of Cultural History she worked with popular culture, entertainment, music and sports objects. During her now 30-year tenure at NMAH, Jane worked her way through the museum ranks in technician and specialist positions, gaining a vast knowledge of collections care but also a deep understanding of how collecting material popular culture provides a look into how American’s play and the intersection with our global culture. A curator with the sports collection for the past 10 years, Jane has facilitated the growth of that collection with a research emphasis on Olympic, Paralympic, extreme and adaptive sports history, detailing the innovative growth of these sports through invention and technology. She also studies the effect sports plays in the LGBTQ+ and differently abled communities and the social and cultural impact sports have had on the American narrative.  Jane has curated the exhibitions “A History of Snowboarding Technologies”, “Everyone Plays! A History of Adaptive Sports in America”, “Special Olympics at 50” and “We Belong Here,” an exhibition detailing the impact of Title IX on women’s sports. With colleague Betsy Gordon, she co-edited Four Wheels and a Board: The Smithsonian History of Skateboarding (2022). This research resulted in an oral history project Jane is documenting in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s Archives Center. Jane also works to digitize the sports collection to interpret object information for our global visitors.


NEW IN 2022: Four Wheels and a Board: The Smithsonian History of Skateboarding (Penguin Random House)

OAH Lectures by Jane Rogers

The Olympics is one of the few global sporting events that captures the world's attention every two years. Throughout its modern history, Olympic athletes have used this global platform to transform sports into political messaging, with both positive and negative results.

This lecture discusses when collecting museum objects becomes controversial due to the nature of the objects or the group or person tied to that object. Objects currently in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's holdings that were collected but then became divisive are explored.


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