Artists Jenny Burrows and Matt Kappler got together to create the 'Historically Hardcore' ad campaign for the Smithsonian.  The campaign takes modern celebrities' exploits and compares them to stories of historical figures being hardcore.  The advertisements were not sanctioned by the Smithsonian, but were instead simply a portfolio project for both artists that eventually went viral.

According to, Burrows got in touch with the Smithsonian to see if everything was copacetic.  She had this to say:

Well, they were less than pleased about the attention the posters were getting and requested that I take them down immediately. Honestly, i don’t blame them. If someone put something out there with my name on it, I wouldn’t be too happy about it either, no matter how awesome it was.

I immediately complied, getting rid of any trace of the museum’s logo, name, and building on the posters and my portfolio site they were posted to. I’m not really one that goes around trying to piss people off. Especially government-run facilities.

After the Smithsonian's response, the artists removed the Smithsonian logo from below the images.  The images below were the original, in the updated images the logo at the bottom is replaced with generic images and the phrase 'Museums.'

The images caused the Smithsonian's website to enjoy a large increase in traffic, particularly among younger people.  Do you think that the Smithsonian overreacted?  Should they have just rolled with the punches and adopted the campaign as their own?