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“People always liked and admired Colette, but after [World War I], with this need to consolidate French identity, Colette really becomes a classique,” says Kathleen Antonioli. 

Colette Revolutionized French Literature With Her Depictions of Female Desire

Born 150 years ago this week, the author was known for her incisive portrayals of women's everyday lives

Fall/Winter Sears catalog from 1957

Before Folding 30 Years Ago, the Sears Catalog Sold Some Surprising Products

The retail giant’s mail-order business reigned supreme for more than a century, offering everything from quack cures to ready-to-build homes

The installation Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America by Georges Adéagbo (above) will be on view at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. through February 15.

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At Abraham Lincoln's Cottage, Artist Georges Adéagbo Pays Homage to the Great Emancipator

The award-winning Beninese artist unveils a work dedicated to the president’s “generosity of heart”

C-3PO and R2-D2 from the 1983 Star Wars — Return of the Jedi takes center stage at the new exhibition "Entertainment Nation / Nación de Espectáculo" on long-time view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

Banged-Up, but Still Sassy, R2-D2 and C-3PO Are Back and Thrilling Fans

Actor Jimmy Vee says climbing inside the droid costume, now on view at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum, is like entering “your own world"

The stunning Sydney Modern Project is the modern leg of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia.

The Most Anticipated Museum Openings of 2023

Scheduled to launch this year are new institutions dedicated to punk rock, Amelia Earhart and robots

On January 12, 1928, Ruth Snyder was executed at Sing Sing prison for murdering her husband, Albert.

How a New York Tabloid Captured the First Photo of an Execution by the Electric Chair

In January 1928, Tom Howard of the "Daily News" smuggled a camera into Sing Sing, where he snapped a picture of Ruth Snyder’s final moments

Three Great Abolitionists: A. Lincoln, F. Douglass, J. Brown, c. 1945. The onetime expressionist saw his stark new style as “not a change but a development.”

William H. Johnson’s Art Was for His People

The painter’s entire “Fighters for Freedom” series is now on view for the first time in more than 75 years

In November 1955 at Carnegie Hall, Anderson performed Mozart, Schubert, spirituals and more.

How Marian Anderson Took the World by Storm

Her mighty contralto propelled her across color lines

Philip Pearlstein (above in his studio, June 1971) was "unwaveringly interested in the landscape of the body,” says Stephanie Stebich, the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 

Philip Pearlstein Painted the Naked Truth

Smithsonian curators remember the celebrated artist, who died last month at 98, and who viewed humanity with biting realism

Soup joumou is a savory, orange-tinted soup that typically consists of calabaza squash, beef, noodles, carrots, cabbage, various other vegetables and fresh herbs and spices.

Haiti's Beloved Soup Joumou Serves Up 'Freedom in Every Bowl'

Every year, Haitians around the globe eat the pumpkin dish on January 1 to commemorate the liberation of the world’s first free Black republic

Family Portrait from the series "The Lams of Ludlow Street," by Thomas Holton, 2004

How These Contemporary Artists Are Redefining Family and Kinship

Explore the enduring bonds and intimacies of modern love at the National Portrait Gallery

Works entering the public domain this year include The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, Metropolis and The Jazz Singer.

These Works Are Now in the Public Domain

The latest additions are a rich trove of books, films, songs and other works from 1927

Hector Guimard, who gained acclaim from his work with the Paris Métro subway system, is the subject of an exhibition on view at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

Meet the Designer of the Fanciful Subway Entrances to the Paris Métro

The celebrated architect Hector Guimard was also a passionate advocate for workers’ rights, even as he honed his reputation in the business of luxury

Fascinating finds unveiled in 2022 ranged from a 2,000-year-old statue of a dog to colorful sarcophagi at Saqqara to a Qing dynasty vase.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Six Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2022

The year's most exciting discoveries included hidden portraits by Cézanne and van Gogh, sarcophagi buried beneath Notre-Dame, and a medieval wedding ring

Pure Structural Color is made of several extremely thin sheets of non-conductive material. These layers are stacked together and imprinted, or stamped, with a nano-scale pattern of rods with curved ends. This pattern scatters light into colors that are visible from all directions, and different hues can be produced by changing the dimensions of the pattern.

Art Meets Science

This British Zoologist Wants to Reinvent Color

Andrew Parker has produced some of the brightest hues in the world. So, what’s his secret?

The 1989 photograph, Maya Lin working on Civil Rights Memorial by Adam Stoltman, is among numerous works including 3D models, sketchbooks, personal papers and family photos in the exhibition, "One Life: Maya Lin," at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. 

The Private World of the Public Artist Maya Lin

A biographical exhibition reveals the profound origins of her intensely engaging art

The vaunted unobtanium from Avatar.

The Etymology of Unobtanium

The much-mocked wonder-rock from the 2009 blockbuster 'Avatar' doesn’t have an atomic number, but engineers have used the actual word for decades

Sim’oogit Ni’isjoohl (Chief Earl Stephens) of the Nisga’a Nation with the Ni’isjoohl memorial pole

Inside the Nisga'a Nation's Fight to Get a 36-Foot Totem Pole Back From Scotland

National Museums Scotland agreed to repatriate the object, which was stolen in 1929, following an in-person appeal by an Indigenous delegation

Twenty iconic photographs by Richard Avedon including, Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Kennedy, City Hall, New York City, are now on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Richard Avedon Pushed the Boundaries of Portrait Photography

Twenty iconic works by the master photographer invite museumgoers to engage in the hard conversations that challenge us today

The best board games of the past year

The Best Books of 2022

The Best Board Games of 2022

Players of all ages will have to make room in their closets for these selections

Photo of the day

Two hikers in Bryce Canyon, Utah, Captured from above. Hiking in Bryce Canyon