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Smithsonian exhibitions highlight the secrets of soil, lavish interiors and Chinese landscape paintings

Follow the "Guests of the Hills" opening August 23 at the Freer Gallery. (Freer Gallery of Art, SI)
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Vintage Voyagers
Chinese landscape paintings such as this one on an 18th-century fan romanticized gentlemen travelers. Follow the "Guests of the Hills" opening August 23 at the Freer Gallery.

New Faces in Town
Through January 25, the National Portrait Gallery is showcasing recently acquired photographs, paintings and drawings, including this portrayal of Secretary of State Frank Billings Kellogg, painted by Philip Alexius de Laszlo in 1925.

Luxurious Living
"House Proud," at New York City's Cooper-Hewitt, presents watercolors (and furnishings) that depict the lavish interiors of 19th-century European bourgeoisie homes. Opens August 12.

The Dirt on Dirt
The Natural History Museum looks at a hidden world, that is home to myriad insects, bacteria, plants and fungi. The earth beneath your feet comes alive at "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil," through January 3, 2010.

Dazzling Physics
"Magnetic Movie" uses striking animation to depict the wildly undulating magnetic fields that scientists create at a NASA lab. Playing at the Hirshhorn Museum from August 25 through December 14.

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