Articles by Ryan P. Smith

“The Co-Lab” is a first-of-its-kind collaborative design experience where museumgoers can build virtual future communities in real time, alongside artificial intelligence (A.I.) acting as a design partner.

What If Humans and Artificial Intelligence Teamed Up to Build Better Communities?

Smithsonian’s 'Futures' exhibition team and Autodesk announce groundbreaking interactive experience to showcase a bold new problem-solving philosophy

In the ninth edition of the Renwick Invitational, artists Lauren Fensterstock, Timothy Horn (above: Gorgonia 12, 2016), Debora Moore and Rowland Ricketts offer viewers entrancing new perspectives on the natural world.

Nature and Artifice Collide at the 2020 Renwick Invitational

In an era of isolated anxiety, “Forces of Nature” offers room to breathe

Artifacts and artworks from around the Smithsonian model the Institution's mandatory mask requirement (see below for key to their identities and locations).

What Does the Smithsonian Look Like in the Post-COVID Era?

Key personnel from across the Institution weigh in on the long road back to normal(ish) operations

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Word Puzzles

Play the Smithsonian Magazine Crossword: For 'Seasoned' Solvers

Test your mettle with this puzzle created exclusively for our readers

Each museum and research facility under the Smithsonian umbrella is reckoning with COVID in its own way. But they are also collaborating on both strategy and logistics.

Covid-19

How Smithsonian Curators Are Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19

In a nation under quarantine, chronicling a crisis demands careful strategy

Cultural juggernaut and music star Lizzo will soon be making her debut as an entry in the Times crossword—with a double-Z name like that, who could resist?

How Crosswords Came of Age in the 2010s

Ten of the decade’s favorite entries speak to the color and comprehensiveness of modern puzzles

“We call ourselves the Great Convener,” says the new Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, “but really we’re a Great Legitimizer. And I want the Smithsonian to legitimize important issues."

Lonnie Bunch Sizes Up His Past and Future at the Smithsonian

Bunch’s new memoir details the tireless work it took to build NMAAHC and offers insights into his priorities as Smithsonian Secretary

In guises ranging from draconian schoolmarm to misanthropic homeless man, Blanchett (above: giving the eulogy at a funeral) performs monologues assembled from excerpts of artistic manifestos.

Cate Blanchett Dons 13 Guises in This Daring Art Installation

Julian Rosefeldt’s “Manifesto,” on view at the Hirshhorn, puts a satiric spin on art history’s seminal texts

The By the People festival in Washington, D.C. brings artists and art lovers together in the spirit of shared community.

These Engaging, Immersive Works Erase the Line Between Art and Audience

The By the People art festival at the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building is a feast for the eyes and the soul

A single counterfeit component in the supply chain is all it takes to turn a fine-tuned aircraft launching system from an asset to a safety hazard.

How Nanoscale 'Signatures' Could Keep Counterfeit Parts Out of Military Equipment

Navy scientist Alison Smith will describe her novel authentication system at Smithsonian's Military Invention Day

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks about getting American astronauts to the moon in the next five years while participating in a Future Con panel discussion at Awesome Con.

Future Con

This Year's Future Con Showcased Cutting-Edge Science and Real-Life Superheroes

A part of Washington, D.C.'s Awesome Con, the dynamic presentation series blends entertainment and education

Ingenious Women

Meet the Female Inventor Behind Mass-Market Paper Bags

A self-taught engineer, Margaret Knight bagged a valuable patent, at a time when few women held intellectual property

Paella, a national favorite in Spain, is a hearty dish prominently featuring two of Linford's Seven Wonders—rice and tomato. It may be seasoned with salt and chili flakes as well.

The Mouthwatering History of Seven Fundamental Foodstuffs

A new Smithsonian book whisks readers on a culinary odyssey, tracing the history of salt, pork, honey, chili, tomato, rice and chocolate

The Key Marco Cat was unearthed at Marco Island off Florida’s southwestern shore in the late 19th century.

This Hand-Carved Panther Statuette Embodies a Lost Civilization’s Harmony With Nature

Calusa Indians harnessed the bounty of Florida’s estuaries with respect and grace

Clean and compelling, Spacewar! pitted two player-controlled ships against one another and rewarded superior strategists. The PDP-1 lacked the memory to accommodate AI opponents.

How the First Popular Video Game Kicked Off Generations of Virtual Adventure

A simple contest of sci-fi strategy, ‘Spacewar!’ ushered in what is now a 140 billion dollar industry

This creamy oyster pan roast pays homage to the offerings of oysterman-turned-restaurateur Thomas Downing, a household name in 19th-century New York.

Sweet! You Can Now Cook the Food From the African-American History Museum's Award-Winning Café in Your Own Home

Smithsonian Books introduces the <i>Sweet Home Café Cookbook</i>, chock full of delicious riffs on classic African-American recipes

The centerpiece is a cast of the reconstructed remains of Prognathodon kianda, which make up the most complete skeleton of this species found to date.

Prehistoric Angolan “Sea Monsters” Take Up Residence at the Natural History Museum

The new fossil exhibition spotlights the majestic marine predators that swept into the South Atlantic shortly after it formed

Judy and Dennis Shepard signed into the custody of the Smithsonian powerful emblems of their son’s life, ranging from a smiling photo of Matt taken during his high school studies in Switzerland to a child-sized Superman cape worn down from regular and energetic use.

As His Remains Are Finally Interred, Powerful Emblems of Matthew Shepard's Life and Memory Come to the Smithsonian

Judy and Dennis Shepard lay their son to rest at the Washington National Cathedral after donating childhood artwork, photos and a wedding ring

A new Smithsonian Book asks the question: Is there a future for crewed missions to the Moon?

In the Wake of Apollo’s 'Giant Leap,' What’s Next for Lunar Exploration?

A new Smithsonian Book unpacks the possible future of missions to the Moon

The 2000 crash of Flight 4590, says author Samme Chittum, was a perfect storm of chemistry gone wrong, a disaster as remarkable in its own way as the Concorde’s typical grace in flight.

This Freak Aviation Disaster Brought Supersonic Idealism Down in Flames

In a just-released Smithsonian Book, author Samme Chittum assesses the Concorde’s demise with the keen eye of a crime reporter

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