The Smithsonian Gets an Injection of Super Soldier Serum as Captain America’s Shield Enters Its Collection
It is a prop shield, and not actually made of the mythical metal vibranium.
Just three weeks into its release, Avengers: Infinity War has already become history’s fifth highest grossing movie in America of all time, surpassed at the time of this writing only by Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Titanic, and Avatar. If nothing else, the success shows that the cultural craving for patriotic superhero escapism has truly left its mark on the present.
Earlier this month, in celebration of the release of the film, Disney donated three objects from Marvel productions to the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC: the famous shield wielded by Captain America, and the on-set chairs of Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo. The objects will be included in the museum’s Division of Culture and the Arts.
The character of Captain America was developed during World War II by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, as an embodiment of American pride and resilience. The indestructible red, white, and blue shield is the character’s signature armament. The shield is made of vibranium, the strongest metal in the Marvel Universe, mined from the fictional African nation of Wakanda (home to fellow superhero, Black Panther).
Captain America was brought back to the big screen with 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, portrayed by actor Chris Evans. Since then, Evans has played the character in no less than seven MCU movies.
This particular version of the shield donated to the museum was created in 2013 and used by Chris Evans in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (in Infinity War the character in fact wields a very different style of shield). It was one of 45 made for Civil War.
The two black folding director’s chairs belonged were used by Joe and Anthony Russo for the production of Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Both have since been altered by Walt Disney Studios to feature the title of the movie.
The shield and chairs join a long list of superhero paraphernalia in the museum’s collection, from comics, stamps, and lunchboxes, to a Black Panther Slurpee cup and Batman’s cowl (from the 1997 George Clooney dud Batman & Robin. There’s even a picture of Superman exiting a port-o-potty.
As of now, the museum has no plans to put the famed shield on display.
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