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The peacock mural in James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, as seen in the 2022 exhibition “The Peacock Room Comes to America”

How Golden Peacocks on a Dining Room Wall Destroyed a Longstanding Friendship in Victorian Society

Paintings, sketches and correspondence shed light on the drama surrounding the famed “Peacock Room”

Few things personify cool like a shades-wearing instrumentalist masterfully commanding the saxophone.

These 15 Groovy Photos Capture the Joy of Music

Musical instruments have existed for eons, and humans continue to create and enjoy them

The baba au rhum is forgiving and achievable for the average home cook.

The Boozy History of Baba au Rhum

The French are known for their pastries, but few desserts garner as much attention as this dried-out cake resuscitated with rum

In "Lady in the Lake," Natalie Portman plays a fictional journalist who investigates a pair of mysterious deaths. The cases are inspired by the real-life disappearances of Esther Lebowitz and Shirley Lee Parker.

The Real Story Behind the Baltimore Deaths That Inspired 'Lady in the Lake'

A new mini-series offers a fictionalized take on two unrelated 1969 cases: the mysterious disappearance of bartender Shirley Lee Parker and the murder of 11-year-old Esther Lebowitz

James Baldwin, Istanbul, Sedat Pakay, gelatin silver and chromogenic prints, c. 1965

Explore James Baldwin Alongside His Friends, His Contemporaries and the Queer Artists Inspired by His Writing

A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery honors the iconic writer while also celebrating the communities that influenced him

Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum in Fly Me to the Moon, a new movie directed by Greg Berlanti

How 'Fly Me to the Moon' Pokes Fun at Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories

The new Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum film presents an alternative history in which government officials prepared to fake the moon landing before NASA pulled off the feat for real

Olympic rings are seen on the Eiffel Tower near the restored statue of "Cavalier Arabe" on the Pont d'Iéna bridge in Paris on July 4, 2024, ahead of the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

The Paris Summer Olympics: Smithsonian's Guide to the Games

Prepare yourself for the Paris Olympics with this comprehensive guide to the history, science, arts and thrills of the worldwide celebration

A self-portrait taken in New York by Vivian Maier in 1954

Meet Vivian Maier, the Reclusive Nanny Who Secretly Became One of the Best Street Photographers of the 20th Century

The self-taught artist is getting her first museum exhibition in New York City, where she nurtured her nascent interest in photography

A woman named Evelyn Thaw dodges a camera, 1909

How the Rise of the Camera Launched a Fight to Protect Gilded Age Americans' Privacy

Early photographers sold their snapshots to advertisers, who reused the individuals' likenesses without their permission

The Museum of Perfume, presented by Paris’ Fragonard Perfumery, is dedicated to exploring the methodology and history behind perfume making.

Eight Weird and Wonderful Museums in Paris

These quirky institutions tell the stories behind everything from sewers to perfume, medicine to magic

“Titian made art into his late 80s and I’m now past that. I always wanted to paint like an old master, or rather an old mistress,” says the photorealist painter and sculptor Audrey Flack. “A radical contemporary old mistress.”

The Remarkable Legacy of Artist and Feminist Audrey Flack, Dead at 93

Even in the final years of her life, the renowned photorealist created searing works of art that further established her among the giants of her field

Red Bear’s Winter Count, Martin E. Red Bear, canvas and acrylic paint, 2004

From Powwows to Smartphones, See the Past and Present of Indigenous Plains Life in Narrative Art

The National Museum of the American Indian showcases centuries-old narrative art traditions that a new generation of artists is embracing

Dancers; The Tango by Hugo Scheiber

The First Tango in Paris Made a Stir Worth Remembering

As breaking makes its debut at this summer’s Olympics, take a look back more than a century when another dance rocked the City of Lights

The mythical beasts have fired up cultures around the world.

From China to the Mediterranean and More, Here's How Different Cultures Envision Dragons

In some parts of the world, the mythical creatures are monsters. In others, they’re more benign beings

Riders gallop during the Hawick Common Riding in Scotland.

The Festival Where Scotland's Violent History Comes Back to Life

Every year in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, one of Europe’s largest equestrian events commemorates a lawless time that shaped the region’s identity

Pad thai is made by stir frying thin flat rice noodles in garlic, chai poh (Chinese sweet-salty preserved radish), dried shrimp and tofu, with a sauce made of ​fish sauce, tamarind paste and palm sugar.

The Surprising History of Pad Thai

The national dish of Thailand is actually a fusion of Thai and Chinese food cultures

Some credit menswear company Nat Nast with creating the classic bowling shirt, distinguished by its boxy shape, bright colors and short sleeves. 

How a Questionably Fashionable Shirt Bowled America Over

The gaudy top went from practical necessity to vintage treasure

Tiana's Bayou Adventure is now open to the public.

What the Change of a Disney Park Ride Reflects About How America Sees Itself

Splash Mountain, originally based on the film ‘Song of the South,’ has become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

More than 30 different varieties of cherry tomatoes are grown at this farm in Hillsborough.

Savor the Bountiful Flavors of Summer

These 15 images from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest offer a taste of the season

The First Knot (with heart-shaped shield), Albrecht Dürer, woodcut, 1506-1507.

The Knotty Art of Printmaking

The ornate series of woodcuts that transformed an art form