Articles by Meilan Solly

This year's list includes Four Lost Cities, About Time and The Man Who Hated Women.

The Ten Best History Books of 2021

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how the U.S. got to where it is today

Living Like a Tudor draws on the five senses to offer a vivid portrait of Tudor life. Pictured here is a procession overseen by the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I.

What Did Tudor England Look, Smell and Sound Like?

A new book by scholar Amy Licence vividly transports readers back to the 16th century

Adam Driver (left) plays Jacques Le Gris, a French squire accused of raping Marguerite, wife of knight Jean de Carrouges (right, played by Matt Damon).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'The Last Duel'

A new film from Ridley Scott dramatizes the 1386 trial by combat of a medieval man accused of a horrific crime

In Six, Henry VIII's wives (top row, L to R: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour; bottom row, L to R: Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr) reclaim their stories.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Six,' the Tudor Musical About Henry VIII's Wives

The show's creators, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, reflect on the smash hit ahead of its Broadway premiere

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Flight attendant Lorraine Bay carefully recorded every flight she worked in this log book, found near the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

September 11

Thirty-One Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11

From a Pentagon rescuer's uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy

Simone Biles (pictured) and Naomi Osaka, both Black athletes at the top of their sports, have been vocal about their struggles with mental health.

Race in America

The Relationship Between Race and Wellness Has Never Been More Pressing

A new Smithsonian initiative kicks off this week with a virtual summit examining these urgent issues

Mary Boleyn (right) served as Henry VIII's mistress before her sister Anne's (left) ascent to the throne.

The Rise and Fall of Tudor England's Scandalous Boleyn Family

A new documentary offers a more sympathetic view of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle

The limestone slab's inscription states that Claudius “extended and redefined the pomerium because he had increased the boundaries of the Roman people.”

Cool Finds

Rare Boundary Stone Dated to Emperor Claudius' Reign Unearthed in Rome

The 2,000-year-old travertine slab marked the sacred outer limits of the ancient city

Procession marking the opening of the Belfast-based Ulster parliament in June 1921

One Hundred Years Ago, Northern Ireland's 'Unholy War' Resulted in a Deadly Summer

In July 1921, an outburst of sectarian violence in Belfast claimed 16 lives on the eve of a truce between Great Britain and Ireland

Artist's impression of Thomas Cromwell's London estate

See the Palatial London Mansion of Thomas Cromwell, Adviser to Henry VIII

New research reveals what the Tudor statesman's 58-room estate may have looked like

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

Bronzino, Eleonora di Toledo and Francesco de’ Medici, c. 1550

Florence's Medici Family Used Portraits as Propaganda

A new exhibition at the Met reveals how the Italian banking dynasty drew on art to cement its power and legacy

Early Juneteenth celebrations featured picnics, rodeos, horseback riding and other festivities.

Juneteenth, the U.S.' Second Independence Day, Is Now a Federal Holiday

June 19, 1865, marked the end of slavery in Texas and, by extension, the Confederate states

Photograph of ten people and a dog at a picnic table, 1919–1925

Commemorate Juneteenth With Free Virtual Programs From the Smithsonian

On June 19, NMAAHC will honor the end of slavery in the U.S. with events featuring Annette Gordon-Reed, Adrian Miller and more

Rendering of ReWildAR, an augmented reality experience debuting at the Smithsonian's "Futures" exhibition later this year

Futures

Immerse Yourself in Five Alternate Worlds Envisioned by Leading Artists

The Smithsonian's "Futures" exhibition features commissions by Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, Tamiko Thiel and /p

“We have these iconic figures from history and literature, who people feel possessive about in some way,” says scholar Miranda Kaufman, author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story. “But you have to remember that it’s not a historical reconstruction: it’s a thriller; it’s a drama; it’s entertainment.”

Why the Controversy Over a Black Actress Playing Anne Boleyn Is Unnecessary and Harmful

Long before Jodie Turner-Smith's miniseries came under criticism, British Indian actress Merle Oberon portrayed the Tudor queen

To mark its 35th birthday, American Girl rereleased its original six characters (L to R): Felicity Merriman, Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, Addy Walker, Josefina Montoya and Molly McIntire.

The Enduring Nostalgia of American Girl Dolls

The beloved line of fictional characters taught children about American history and encouraged them to realize their potential

This month's book picks include The Engagement, How the Word Is Passed and Drunk.

Books of the Month

The Fight to Legalize Gay Marriage, the Woman Who Couldn't Be Silenced and Other New Books to Read

These June releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Astronaut Sally Ride (left) and poet Maya Angelou (right) will be the first individuals honored through the American Women Quarters Program.

Women Who Shaped History

Maya Angelou, Sally Ride to Be Among First Women Featured on U.S. Quarters

Between 2022 and 2025, the U.S. Mint is set to highlight up to 20 trailblazing American women

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