The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History presented its “Great Americans” medal to legendary television journalist and noted author Thomas J. Brokaw on Sept. 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. During the event, Brokaw donated a West Point presentation saber and two pieces of the Berlin Wall, representing his career of more than five decades.
The ceremony included a conversation between Brokaw and David M. Rubenstein, a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, and the presentation of a newly minted museum medal in recognition of lifetime contributions embodying American ideals and ideas.
The medal, struck in 1.85 ounces of fine gold, features an American eagle with rays of the sun on the obverse with the words “Great Americans” and “National Museum of American History” struck around the image. The reverse side honors one of the museum’s most important treasures, the Star-Spangled Banner, and includes the mission of the Smithsonian: “For the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”
The “Great Americans” award is presented annually to up to four recipients and includes an interview with the awardee moderated by Rubenstein and the opportunity for the museum to add objects to the national collections. Prior recipients were former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright.
The National Museum of American History is located on Constitution Avenue NW between 12th and 14th Streets on the National Mall. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except Dec. 25. Admission is free.
View Jeff Malet’s photos of the Sept. 21 ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History by clicking on the photo icons below.