Susan Lucci from “All My Children” and the co-creator and composer of “Barney and Friends” also donated items from their respective shows at the ceremony.

When we asked Trebek if he was surprised to place ahead of politicians in the poll, the TV personality — ever the diplomat — replied, “Well, I didn’t give it any thought … I looked at some of the names who were ahead of me and said, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ And some of the names that were behind me, and I said, ‘Well, I’m lucky to be ahead of them.’ ”

While some reports have said Trebek, 72, is ready to throw in the towel after hosting “Jeopardy!” for nearly three decades, he’s careful not to make any official announcements, saying with a smile, “I’m thinking along the lines of retirement.”

As far as being trustworthy in the eyes of Americans (actor Tom Hanks took the top spot in the survey) Trebek credits the trivia program with his success: “I think the viewers look at the show and they say, ‘Oh, Alex is a nice guy. He’s on the side of the players. He wants them to succeed. And if he tells you something, you can take it to the bank.’ And that’s a good feeling to have.”

The author is a board member of the National Capital Chesapeake Bay chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which partnered with the Smithsonian for the exhibit.