Articles by Michael Waters

Photo Contest Featured Photographer

From Skinning Coconuts to Tire Recycling, This Photographer Captures Vietnam at Work

Huynh Thanh Huy presents a striking portrait of a nation undergoing a dramatic shift from agriculture to manufacturing

Bureau of Home Economics employees blindfold their taste testers so the sight of the turkey doesn't bias any responses, 1930s.

The Government Taste Testers Who Reshaped America’s Diet

In the 1930s, a forgotten federal bureau experimented with ways to make soy and other products more popular in the U.S.

The 1876 Glaciarium included murals of the Alps on its walls and a raised seating section for curious onlookers, as shown in a May 1876 edition of Illustrated London News.

The 19th-Century Mania for Ice Skating in the Summer

Europeans sought to recreate the luxury of wintering in the Alps with an indoor rink attraction

Map of Nevada, 1866

What's in a Name? Meet the Government Employees Who Make the Call

A little-known patchwork of bureaucratic boards are tasked with deciding when to change the names of geographic places

This bat gleans insects from leaves. A team of researchers discovered that by approaching a leaf at an oblique angle, it can use its echolocation system to detect stationary insects in the dark.

Bats Use Leaves as Mirrors to Locate and Catch Their Prey

The latest discovery in the arms race between bats and insects reveals that even silent, motionless dragonflies aren't safe

Belgian cyclist Firmin Lambot, the ultimate winner of the race, pictured in a wooly yellow jersey.

The Original Tour de France Yellow Jersey Was Made of Wool

100 years ago, in the middle of the race, a rider wore the famed jersey for the first time

A child picks out jury candidates before a courtroom audience.

When 6-Year-Olds Chose Jury Candidates

Before computers randomly issued jury summons, some state laws required that children do the picking

To deflect from concerns around sexual undertones, Milton Bradley packaged the game as inoffensively as possible.

When Twister Was Too Risqué for America

The hugely successful game, patented 50 years ago this week, had its critics at first

Photos Capture the Great South American Eclipse

On July 2, residents of Chile and Argentina witnessed the first total solar eclipse since August 2017

An 1897 poster critiquing the McKinley administration set during the Fourth of July shows the inherent danger of do-it-yourself fireworks.

The 1900s Movement to Make the Fourth of July Boring (but Safe)

One activist thought celebrating the founding of the nation would be better spent as a "a quiet day under the trees"

A group waits for news out of Versailles by a wireless Marconi radio, June 1, 1919.

Europe Reacts to the Treaty of Versailles, in Photos

One hundred years ago, the news broke that World War I had officially ended.

Drag queen in Atlanta, 1972

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Stonewall of the South That History Forgot

A month after the riots in New York, a raid on an Atlanta movie theater sparked a gay liberation movement of its own

The new app allows users to walk on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Education During Coronavirus

The Augmented Reality App That Lets You Experience the Moon Landing

Tied to a new series from the Smithsonian Channel, the app is the closest you can get to being on the moon without time-traveling to 1969

Women compare A.J. Freiman shoes.

'Vis-O-Matic' Was the 1950s Version of Online Shopping

A Canadian department store tried to revolutionize buying when it opened a shop with booths and screens for ordering merchandise

Smithson and Hungerford family members scanned a geneology treee, searching for their place among the clan.

Mr. Smithson’s Family Goes to Washington

A contingent of descendants, related to the founder of the Smithsonian Institution, embarked on a tour of the museums

A candlelight vigil is tinged with a sense of resistance and resilience as activists honor the second anniversary of Stonewall, 1971.

LGBTQ+ Pride

The First Pride Marches, in Photos

A look back at a major turning point in the struggle for gay rights

Hundreds of spectators and D-Day veterans gather at Omaha Beach, the bloodiest site during the battle, for the 40th anniversary in 1984.

These Photos Capture the Poignancy of Past D-Day Commemorations

A look back at how the ceremonies marking major anniversaries of the Allied invasion of Europe have evolved.

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