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Big Opportunity

"Happy Birthday Miss Jones" arrests everyone's attention, says collector Spielberg.

From the Castle: Show and Tell

Against all odds: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Running Fence, from 1976.

Lest We Forget

Secretary S. Dillon Ripley (on his farm in 1984) enjoyed diffusing knowledge.

From the Castle: Forward Thinking

The Smithsonian enters a new era of expansion—on the Web

Harvey Tananbaum says Chandra has "offered us clues about ... the universe's ultimate destiny."

Far Sighted

The Chandra X-Ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory helps scientists observe a fantastic range of phenomena

G. Wayne Clough became the first Smithsonian Secretary to travel to Antarctica.


The National Museum of Natural History, opened in 1910, is the largest museum on the National Mall.

Two Centennials for the Smithsonian

In 2010, the Institution celebrates two seminal events – the founding of its Natural History Museum and the inauguration of its research in Panama

The new hall at the Natural History Museum explains our ancestral tree.

From the Castle: Becoming Us

G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian, at Lake Hoare.

Day 4: Touring By Helicopter

Secretary Clough visits the driest place on the planet, Ernest Shackleton’s hut, penguins, whales and more on his final day in Antarctica


SI in the City

Kristina Johnson and Wayne Clough hoist the Smithsonian flag atop Observation Point—a site memorializing explorers who have died at the South Pole.

Day 3: A Day at the South Pole

Flying over the paths trod by explorers before him, Secretary Clough arrives at the South Pole eager to meet the Smithsonian scientists working there

Christchurch is the home of the United States/New Zealand polar logistics center and is the jumping-off point for the flight to Antarctica.

Day 1: A Stopover in New Zealand

As the first Smithsonian secretary to set foot on Antarctica, Secretary Clough prepares for his trip from a research center in Christchurch

Four emperor penguins standing together near the ice roads in Antarctica.

Day 2: Arriving at the Spectacular Antarctic

Secretary Clough lands on a barren continent intertwined with Smithsonian history, prepared to discover the research being done

To underscore the transitory nature of material life, Tibetan monks poured their mandala into the Potomac.

How Do Smithsonian Curators Decide What to Collect?

The Star Spangled Banner and John Glenn's spacesuit were clearly musts. Other artifacts are less obvious

"Bittersweet Harvest," a Smithsonian exhibit about braceros (California, 1956), fits neatly into the new strategy.

Our Plan

A National Postal Museum exhibition includes postage stamps that President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped design.  FDR's stamps helped him relax.

From the Castle - FDR's Stamps

FDR's Stamps

The Grateful Dead's Hart: Still thinking about the cosmos.

From the Castle


Surprise!  It's the ants in the acacia that keep the grasslands healthy.

From the Castle

Smithsonian 2.0

The Smithsonian's Feather Identification Laboratory quickly determined that Canada geese had disabled US Airways Flight 1549.

From the Castle

Ways We Serve

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