Together at last: X-Men and the Smithsonian

Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier in "X-Men, Days of Future Past." Image:
Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier in "X-Men, Days of Future Past." Image:
The Smithsonian has George Washington’s Revolutionary War uniform, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat and the lap desk Thomas Jefferson used to write the Declaration of Independence. But it hasn’t had anything from our mutant superheroes—until now.

    The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History has acquired costumes from the X-Men. Patrick Stewart—one of the stars of 20th Century Fox’s movie series about a team of mutant humans with an X-gene that gives them unusual powers—donated  his Professor Xavier costume to the Smithsonian in a ceremony May 17.
    Stewart also presented to the museum Ian McKellen’s Magneto costume, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine costume and Halle Berry’s Storm costume. Additionally, the museum received a set of resin claws and a Zippo lighter from the Wolverine costume and the final shooting script from the latest film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, which opens May 23.
   “From comic books to the multiplex cinema screens, X-Men has captured the imaginations of audiences for several generations,” said John Gray, director of the National Museum of American History. “The costumes and props will expand the story of the American superhero genre that the Smithsonian can tell.”
    The first X-Men comic book, written Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, was published by Marvel Comics in September 1963. The comic was brought to the cinema by 20th Century Fox in 2000. There have been six films in the series so far: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011) and The Wolverine (2013).
    Besides portraying the leader of the X-Men, Stewart is well-known for his role as Capt.Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    Preceding the X-Men items in the pantheon of superhero artifacts in the history museum’s collection were Christopher Reeve’s outfit from Superman III, both Julie Newmar’s and Halle Berry’s Catwoman costumes, the Batman cowl and mask created for Batman & Robin,and a selection of Batman comic books.


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