Why is the Smithsonian honoring Madeline K. Albright with a gold medal?

First to receive National Museum of American History's new ‘Great Americans’ recognition
By , Coin World
Published : 09/07/16
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Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is being recognized Sept. 7 by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History with its newly created Great Americans gold medal.

Another former secretary of state, Colin Powell, is to be recognized with a Great Americans gold medal on Dec. 7.

The “Great Americans” award will be presented annually to up to four recipients in ceremonies that include an interview with the awardee moderated by David M. Rubenstein, a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents and supporter of the Great Americans program, and provide the opportunity for the museum to add objects to the national collections.

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The museum’s gold medal recognizes lifetime contributions that embody American ideals and ideas.

Medal genesis

National Museum of American History board member Jeff Garrett, who is also founder and owner of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries as well as co-owner of Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries and president of the American Numismatic Association, sponsored the design and production of the medal.

The 1.85-troy-ounce gold medal, measuring 40 millimeters in diameter, was struck at Medalcraft Mint in Green Bay, Wis. Garrett secured the design services of Welsh artist, engraver and coin and graphic designer Michael Guilfoyle. Garrett said he is donating the brass trial strike of the gold medal to the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.

The obverse of the gold medal features an American eagle with rays of the sun; the words GREAT AMERICANS and NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY are inscribed around. The medal’s reverse honors one of the museum’s most important treasures, the Star-Spangled Banner, the garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry after the 1814 Battle of Baltimore, and is inscribed with the mission of the Smithsonian: FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE.

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