‘All in the Family’: Archie Bunker’s Iconic Armchair Found a New Home in a Museum

by Emily Morgan

When the beloved sitcom “All in the Family” debuted in 1971, America was amidst several crises. At the time, protests infiltrated the nation regarding civil rights and the Vietnam War was taking over. Yet, Americans could turn on the classic TV show to get a break from the turmoil. 

However, the show would often reference the changing times with its writing and characters. Fanks knew Archie Bunker as the conservative dad; Edith was his sweet wife, Gloria, their daughter, and Mike Stivic, their son-in-law, who Archie often clashed with. The show’s humor often stemmed from the clashes between Archie and Mike.

As for Archie Bunker, fans knew him to park it in his chair in the center of the living room. Anyone who dared take his spot on his throne would be met with an angry Archie. He would demand they get out of and find another seat.

Although some might think the chair cost thousands to make, it was quite the contrary. In fact, Archie’s chair was a $10 thrift-store find, according to the Smithsonian. 

The production thought the chair was a perfect fit for the onscreen family. As “All in the Family” became a household name, Americans came to know and love the living room where Archie would deliver his unapologetic opinions from his familiar chair. 

In 1978, when the show finished its eighth season, creator Norman Lear donated the chair to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of History and Technology.

 It was the first time the D.C. museum received an artifact from the entertainment world. Then, however, there was a hiccup. Soon afterward, the network decided to return the show for one more season. 

As a result, the producers had to have a new replica chair made for the set, which cost them $15,000.

See an ‘All in the Family’ relic at the  National Museum of American History

Now renamed the National Museum of American History, the chair is something any “All in the Family” fan should see. In addition, you can also see displays such as the First Ladies’ gowns and the original Star-Spangled Banner. 

The museum will later open a new exhibition called “Entertainment Nation.” It will showcase artifacts from movies, theater, TV, music, and sports. 

“Through the objects and their stories, the exhibition will explore how, for over 150 years, entertainment has provided a forum for important national conversations about who we are and who we want to be,” the museum’s official press release said. 

The featured items will include Prince’s Yellow Cloud guitar, Mia Hamm’s soccer jersey, Indiana Jones’s hat, the original Kermit the Frog puppet, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and a costume worn by Lin-Manuel Miranda in Broadway’s Hamilton