Articles

A sea turtle enters the waters of the Galápagos Islands to join divers who are exploring its home.

Celebrate World Turtle Day With 15 Photographs of the Delightful Reptiles

These shots from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo contest show why turtles are so terrific

The 1892 People's Grocery murders are “what opened my eyes to what lynching really was,” Ida B. Wells later wrote.

Women Who Shaped History

How the Murder of a Black Grocery Store Owner and His Colleagues Galvanized Ida B. Wells' Anti-Lynching Crusade

The saga of People's Grocery stands as a powerful reminder of the centrality of Black radicalism to the food justice movement

A composite image of Jupiter, taken by the Juno spacecraft

The Seven Most Amazing Discoveries We’ve Made by Exploring Jupiter

The giant planet is a world of extremes

The Travelers’ Tour Through the United States featured a map of the then-24 states.

What America's First Board Game Tells Us About the Aspirations of a Young Nation

Released in 1822, the Travelers’ Tour Through the United States took players on a cross-country adventure

Rangers clear deceased birds from Staple Island in England, where avian flu had a devastating effect on a seabird colony.

Four Important Questions About Bird Flu, Answered

The virus has killed tens of millions of birds and infected hundreds of species of animals, including dairy cattle in the United States. Here’s what you should know about it

On May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold Jr. (left) and Richard Loeb (right) murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks. Leopold later described the pair's motive as “a sort of pure love of excitement, or the imaginary love of thrills, doing something different.”

Why Leopold and Loeb Committed Cold-Blooded Murder in the 'Crime of the Century'

A century ago, two Chicago teenagers killed an acquaintance named Bobby Franks for the thrill of it. The case captivated the nation and continues to fascinate the public today

Four lionesses enjoy a drink at a watering hole after a recent rain.

Smithsonian Photo Contest Galleries

Get a Taste of South Africa Through These 15 Photos of Stunning Wildlife and Vibrant Communities

From desert landscapes to glittering beaches, see what this country has to offer

A diving bell spider with a captured bug under the water

These Funky Spiders Are Lurking by the Water

Some make nests inside seashells, while others tote bubbles of air on their backs

A Spectra Physics Model A supermarket scanner—one of the first ten ever produced. A laser within the unit projects a beam onto a mirror that redirects it through the glass plate on the top.

The Supermarket Scanner Changed the Way We Buy Groceries Forever

Invented 50 years ago, the curious box deciphered an arcane kind of code to offer shoppers a trip into the future

Left, Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rican actress who played Anita in the 1961 film West Side Story. Right, the Italian opera singer Giulia Grisi in the 1830s.

An Absolutely Fabulous Celebration of History’s Greatest Divas

This heady, exquisitely delightful new book reveals the power behind the sequins

About 75 percent of Americans are expected to travel by car this summer. Taking the scenic route along such roadways as Highway 101, seen above in Del Mar, California, can make the trip even more worthwhile.

Seven of the Most Beautiful Roads in the United States

From Alaska to Florida, these serene and exhilarating stretches beg you to take the scenic route

Looming large on Philadelphia’s Broad Street, a ten-foot-high statue—a gift to the city from the Pennsylvania Freemasons—shows young Benjamin Franklin at his printing press.

Benjamin Franklin Was the Nation’s First Newsman

Before he helped launch a revolution, Benjamin Franklin was colonial America’s leading editor and printer of novels, almanacs, soap wrappers, and everything in between

Speleologists in metallurgical “cooling suits” emerge from the extreme heat of a lava tube formed by the eruption in 2021 of Mount Fagradalsfjall.

Journey Into the Fiery Depths of Earth’s Youngest Caves

What Iceland's volcanoes are revealing about early life on our planet

The city gate of Ariassos, one of several ancient cities connected by the Pisidia Heritage Trail in the Taurus Mountains.

Hike Through Ancient Roman and Biblical History in Turkey’s Rugged Mountains

In southern Turkey, an extensive new trail network spirits trekkers to Pisidia, home to many lost treasures and a true crossroads of civilizations

This 2014 acrylic painting by Taralee Guild captures the glistening promise of a 1960s Airstream at Pismo Beach, California.

How the Airstream Hit the Open Road

This space-age sensation kicked the American road trip into high gear

A romanticized 1920 depiction of the capture of Blackbeard, one of history's most notorious pirates

Who Were the Real Pirates of the Caribbean?

During the Golden Age of Piracy, thousands of sea dogs sought fame and fortune. But the reality of a pirate's life was less enticing than movies and television shows suggest

Jenn Colella as Carrie Chapman Catt (center) in Suffs, a new Broadway musical about the women's suffrage movement

Women Who Shaped History

What the Broadway Musical 'Suffs' Gets Right (and Wrong) About the History of Women's Suffrage

The new show serves as an entertaining history lesson, but even that has its creative limits

The world’s quietest room registers a background sound of -24.9 dBA.

In the Earth’s Quietest Room, You Can Hear Yourself Blink

Background noise in the custom-built chamber is actually measured in negative decibels, which means it’s below the threshold of human hearing

The title page of one of the Folger’s First Folios.

How the Soon-to-Reopen Folger Shakespeare Library Came to Be

A full 82 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio will go on view as the renovated Washington, D.C. institution makes its debut

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This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences

When Lulu Hunt Peters brought Americans a new method for weighing their dinner options, she launched a century of diet fads that left us hungry for a better way to keep our bodies strong and healthy

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