Articles

Detail of a carpet of flowers and colored sawdust in Antigua, Guatemala

Good News

This Guatemalan City Rolls Out Colorful Sawdust Carpets for Holy Week

The longstanding tradition brings a dazzling display to the streets of Antigua each spring

The four-day Smithsonian Craft Show opens April 20 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., offering the works of 120 artists (above: an array of offerings).

Nine Artists on What It Means to Create

Forty years of bringing critical attention to the nation's best-known makers in the arts is celebrated at this year's Smithsonian Craft Show

Steered by a computer to loop in the wind, this kite converts wind energy into electricity via a tether attached to a generator on the ground. Currently, such kites can generate enough electricity to power 60 average US households.

Planet Positive

Could High-Flying Kites Power Your Home?

Nearly a dozen companies are betting on computer-controlled, airborne wind energy to electrify the future

Bon Ami Mine is located in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, about 50 miles northeast of Asheville.

Black Lights Turn This North Carolina Mine Into a Psychedelic Wonderland

The Bon Ami Mine’s deposits of the mineral hyalite glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light

Burger or baked good?

'Is It Cake?' Builds on a Lengthy Tradition of Visual Deception

The ‘fool the eye’ desserts hearken back to paintings from a period in American history when there was anxiety over fakes, fraudsters and misinformation

This fall, visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., can see the glider and other treasures, when the “Early Flight” exhibition opens in the museum's newly transformed west wing.

This Quirky Contraption Lifted 19th-Century Pilots Into the Air for a Short, Exhilarating Glide

The rare Lilienthal glider, one of only a few originals known to exist, is newly conserved and ready for its public debut

Lois Mailou Jones, The Green Door, 1981, watercolor over graphite on wove paper

These Artworks Reimagine the Legacy of the African Diaspora

A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. showcases 130 works by artists from 24 countries

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has organized the exhibition, “Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt: Designing a Modern Museum,” focusing on the lives of its founders.

The Trailblazing Sisters Who Founded the Nation's First Woman-Led Museum

A new exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, tells the story of founders Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt

The Red Ball Express gave the Allies a strategic advantage over the German infantry divisions.

The Black WWII Soldiers Who Spirited Supplies to the Allied Front Line

The Red Ball Express' truck drivers and cargo loaders moved more than 400,000 tons of ammo, gas, medicine and rations between August and November 1944

Geologic processes have led to changes in the water and gases released by mudpots, geysers and springs—like this one.

Five Big Changes Scientists Have Documented During Yellowstone National Park's 150-Year History

Scientists have monitored the region closely for generations, and these are some of the most dramatic shifts they've seen

This mural outside of an outfitter's office illustrates the snaking mouth of Mosquito Bay.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Bays Are Brighter Than Ever

The nightly light shows have rebounded from Hurricane Maria's devastating blow

An original illustration from a children’s book, I Dissent, No I Dissent, depicts Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia—opposites in ideology, politics and jurisprudence—facing off against each other. 

New Artifacts Document the Soaring Popularity of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Smithsonian bestows its Great Americans Award on the former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Cycads growing in Litchfield National Park in Australia.

Many of These Plants Older Than Dinosaurs Face Extinction

Cycads have changed a great deal since they first appeared around 280 million years ago, and habitat loss and illegal trade are now threats

Joseph Mikulec, the “Globe-Trotter” whose toes touched six continents, collected the signatures of such luminaries as Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Edward VIII, Mary Pickford and Teddy Roosevelt.

The Man Who Walked Around the World, Collecting the Autographs of the Rich and Famous

In the early 1900s, Joseph Mikulec traveled some 175,000 miles on foot, gathering 60,000 signatures in a leather-bound album that is now up for sale

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These Are the Winners of Smithsonian Magazine's 19th Annual Photo Contest

From the beauty of bodies in motion to the symbiotic behaviors of insects, these photographers captured fascinating moments in time

To many people, Henrietta Lacks, painted by Kadir Nelson in 2017, symbolizes inequity in medicine. Lacks died from cervical cancer in 1951, but her tumor cells— used in research without her permission—would enable medical advances, including the polio vaccine.

Race in America

The Historical Roots of Racial Disparities in American Health Care

A new documentary from the Smithsonian Channel, 'The Color of Care,' produced by Oprah Winfrey, shines a light on medicine’s biases

An artists's take on the insect

The Quest to Find the World's Largest Bee

The rediscovery of Wallace’s giant bee uncovers disheartening truths about the tenuous fate of hidden insect species

Just as Wordle has its share of detractors today (a phenomenon only magnified by social media), a look back at newspaper reports from the 1920s shows that the crossword faced its own number of critics.

A Century Before Wordle Went Viral, Crossword Mania Swept the Country

In the 1920s, puzzling inspired a Broadway musical, built a publishing house and counted the queen of England as a fan

Virginia Union University is one of the rare HBCUs in America that can tie its origins to a Black woman: Mary Lumpkin.

Women Who Shaped History

The Enslaved Woman Who Liberated a Slave Jail and Transformed It Into an HBCU

Forced to bear her enslaver's children, Mary Lumpkin later forged her own path to freedom

The Painter (Self-portrait at Work), oil on canvas, 1946. Gilot painted the self-portrait while she and Picasso were staying in Antibes, on the French Riviera.

Françoise Gilot Was More Than Picasso's Muse

The artist famously inspired the Cubist, but a new book shows that her own paintings deserve renown

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