What It Means to Be American
A National Conversation


What It Means to Be American is a national, multiplatform, multimedia conversation hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Arizona State University, and produced by Zócalo Public Square. We bring together leading thinkers, public figures, and Americans from all walks of life to explore big, visceral questions about how our nation’s past can help us understand its present and imagine its future. Through live public events in nine cities, widely syndicated humanities journalism, and robust partnerships with universities and national media outlets, we are asking and hoping to find many answers to the question, what does it mean to be American?


The views, opinions, and interpretations expressed by the authors of articles and those contributing comments on this website are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or interpretations of the Smithsonian, Arizona State University, or Zócalo Public Square.