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November 2014
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A Patriot's Gift Guide

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The pressure to find the right gift is an inescapable part of holidays. What to give? Where to buy? How much to spend? Fortunately, for U.S. government employees, specifically those who are shopping for colleagues who have more take-home pay than they do, that last question is moot. According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (Preventing Conflicts of Interest in the Executive Branch!), $10 or less is the approved spend—but only as an exception to a standing rule that prohibits giving gifts to one's betters.

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Cooper Hewitt Museum Reopens Following 3-Year Renovation

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The Immersion Room at Cooper Hewitt

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the U.S. exclusively devoted to design, both historic and contemporary. It’s been part of the Smithsonian since 1967—and has been closed for renovations since 2011. This Friday, December 12, the museum officially reopens to the public at 11 a.m, revealing a massive overhaul by a team of at least 13 firms.

The $91 million renovation created 60 percent more space, meaning a full floor can be dedicated to the permanent collection's 210,000 objects, something they’re never been able to do before, noted Caroline Baumann, the museum’s director, at yesterday's press preview.

“We are a design museum and we recruited a dream team of designers,” Baumann said, highlighting many of the 13 firms involved: Gluckman Mayner Architects (interior design), Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners (engineering, historic preservation), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (cases, shop, entrance canopy, fence lighting), Hood Design (garden, terrace), Thinc (exhibitions), Goppion (display cases), Local Projects (interactive media), Pentagram (graphic identity).

Read complete story on Cooper Hewitt Reopens Friday

Today in History: Prohibition Ends At Last!

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James Monore by Steph Davidson

Four score and one year ago—Dec. 5, 1933—ratification of the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment: Prohibition. After 13 dry years, intoxicating liquors were once again legal for production, sale, and distribution almost everywhere (10 states lagged, including Mississippi, which held out until 1966). It was never illegal to consume, but access is everything. Celebrations began as soon as the repeal was announced. 

In that spirit, we looked to “Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking,” a new book by Mark Will-Weber, to consider commander-in-chief-level cocktails. Then we consulted 25-year industry veteran Eben Freeman for analysis and recipes. 

Read story - and see the incredible gifs created by Steph Davidson (one not quite working above) on Today in History: Prohibition Ends At Last!