“Desperate people in search of humanity. Fighting factions looking to protect a way of life. The imminent threat of all-out war. Enough about Washington, D.C.! We’re here to celebrate ‘The Walking Dead.’ Today is the day that zombies — or, as we call them, walkers — claim a place in the Smithsonian.”
Charlie Collier, AMC president and general manager, uttered these words during his introductory remarks at a special donation ceremony on Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C., when the Smithsonian National Museum of American History acquired several truly gruesome objects from the post-apocalyptic television series “The Walking Dead.” Based on the Robert Kirkman comic-book series of the same name, the TV series premiered Oct. 31, 2010; the Oct. 22 premiere of season eight will mark the 100th episode. The show, about a worldwide zombie apocalypse, attracts the most 18-to-49-year-old viewers of any cable or broadcast series. It has been exclusively shown on cable television channel AMC and internationally on Fox International Channels.
On hand at the ceremony were producer and writer Scott M. Gimple and actors Lennie James (Morgan in the series), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Andrew Lincoln (Rick). The donated objects included a Hershel Greene head prop, character Merle Dixon’s weaponized hand rig, character Daryl Dixon’s crossbow and a bust of “Bicycle Girl” from the pilot episode. They will join items in the museum’s collection from other shows that have shaped American culture, including the “Howdy Doody” puppet, Archie Bunker’s chair from “All in the Family” and Fonzie’s jacket from “Happy Days.”
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 from the “The Walking Dead” donation ceremony by clicking on the photo icons below.