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Northern Exposure
Ends January 2, 2013
The first recorded contact between Europeans and Inuit occurred in the 1570s, but explorers from Northern Europe had been visiting the American Arctic for centuries before then. The Inuit artist Abraham Anghik Ruben contrasts the lives of natives and newcomers in the 23 works of “Arctic Journeys/Ancient Memories: The Sculpture of Abraham Anghik Ruben,” at the American Indian Museum. His figures of stone, bronze and tusk incorporate both Norse and Inuit traditions and highlight a kinship between two cultures rooted in the rigors of the polar north.

A District in Full
Coming October 30
In the mid-1800s, before Washington, D.C. was the center of the universe, it was a quaint (the first Smithsonian Secretary lived at the Castle!), rather Southern city of 60,000 people. In Capital Views, published by Smithsonian Books, historian James Goode has collected more than 150 photographs that show the District’s transformation from “red brick to white neoclassical.”

National Himno
Ends April 28, 2013
In 1945, the State Department, seeking to engage Latin Americans, handed the composer Clotilde Arias a tough assignment: translate “The Star-Spangled Banner” into Spanish, preserving the original’s meter and meaning. Mission accomplished. “Not Lost in Translation: The Life of Clotilde Arias,” at the American History Museum, traces her eventful journey from her Peruvian roots to her days as a bilingual ad-copy writer on Madison Avenue.

Arabia Unearthed
Ends February 24, 2013
Roads of Arabia” makes its first stop in the United States at the Sackler Gallery, beginning November 17. The exhibit, which includes more than 250 objects, many recently excavated, surveys the history of the Arab peninsula, from the Neolithic era to the 20th century, shedding light on the area’s pre-Islamic past and the cultural influences of the frankincense trade.

Extending the Frame
Ends August 18, 2013
And you thought a portrait meant trying to get the family to hold still for a snapshot. For a series of self-portraits, Mequitta Ahuja cast herself as a character in a mythic drama. Ben Durham uses mug shots as a starting point for his drawings. Rob Matthews asks his subjects to think of nothing. They’re among the six artists whose 51 works make up “Drawing on the Edge,” the seventh exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery series “Portraiture Now.”

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About Leah Binkovitz
Leah Binkovitz

Leah Binkovitz is a Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow at Washington Post and NPR. Previously, she was a contributing writer and editorial intern for the At the Smithsonian section of Smithsonian magazine.

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