A tattooed devotee prays at the annual tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.

The Worldwide History of Tattoos

Ancient ink exhibited religious faith, relieved pain, protected wearers and indicated class

The only way Robert Smalls could ensure that his family would stay together was to escape.

The Thrilling Tale of How Robert Smalls Seized a Confederate Ship and Sailed it to Freedom

He risked his life to liberate his family and became a legend in the process

One of the most effective Union spies was Elizabeth Van Lew. Over a course of four years she quietly sent valuable intelligence to Union officers and even ran her own network of spies.

Elizabeth Van Lew: An Unlikely Union Spy

A member of the Richmond elite, one woman defied convention and the Confederacy and fed secrets to the Union during the Civil War

Dr. Murray operates on one of the Zoo’s gorillas.

On the Job: Zoo Veterinarian

Suzan Murray talks about making house calls at the nation’s zoo

The Pyramids of Giza

Ponder the Pyramids of Giza

The ongoing debate about how the pyramids were built is a testament to the brilliance of its makers

None

Turning the Tide

Our oceans are in trouble, says Nancy Knowlton. But it's not too late to do something about it

"As a kid I pictured myself as a scientist," says Reichs. "I never anticipated writing fiction."

On the Case

Kathy Reichs, the forensic expert who helped inspire the TV show "Bones," talks about homicides, DNA and her latest novel

At an "Antiques Roadshow" taping in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2006, Nan Chisholm appraises a landscape of Glacier Park by the American artist, John Fery. The estimated value: $15,000-$20,000.

FOR HIRE: Fine Art Appraiser

Former Sotheby's paintings appraiser Nan Chisholm evaluates her work

A conservator works on the Star-Spangled Banner in 1914.

The Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner

How the flag that flew proudly over Fort McHenry inspired an anthem and made its way to the Smithsonian

Unveiled at a recent ceremony in Washington honoring Virginia Hall, this portrait will be added to the CIA's Fine Arts Collection. Painted by artist Jeff Bass, it shows her transmitting messages from occupied France using her suitcase radio. The painting was underwritten by a donation from attorney Robert Guggenhime.

WANTED: The Limping Lady

The intriguing and unexpected true story of America's most heroic—and most dangerous—female spy

Damon Conklin uses the body, from head to feet, as his canvas.

Today's Tattoos

Making your mark

Jeweler Harry Winston donated the famous Hope Diamond—the largest-known deep blue diamond in the world—to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It arrived in a plain brown package by registered mail, insured for one million dollars. Surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds and hanging from a chain with 45 diamonds, the rare gem attracts 6 million visitors a year to the Natural History Museum.

Diamonds Unearthed

Smithsonian diamond expert Jeffrey Post discusses conflict diamonds, colored diamonds and synthetic gems grown in the lab

Jeweler Harry Winston donated the famous Hope Diamond—the largest-known deep blue diamond in the world—to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It arrived in a plain brown package by registered mail, insured for one million dollars. Surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds and hanging from a chain with 45 diamonds, the rare gem attracts 6 million visitors a year to the Natural History Museum.

Diamonds Unearthed

In the final installment of this three-part series, diamond expert Jeffrey Post discusses the histories behind the Smithsonian collection

Jeweler Harry Winston donated the famous Hope Diamond—the largest-known deep blue diamond in the world—to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It arrived in a plain brown package by registered mail, insured for one million dollars. Surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds and hanging from a chain with 45 diamonds, the rare gem attracts 6 million visitors a year to the Natural History Museum.

Diamonds Unearthed

In the first installment of a multi-part series, Smithsonian diamond expert Jeffrey Post explains how the rare crystals form

None

The Spirit of George Washington

After two centuries, Mount Vernon's whiskey distillery returns

Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Discovering George Washington

Little-known facts about the nation's first president

Page 1 of 1