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Michael Douglas stars as Benjamin Franklin in the new Apple TV+ series "Franklin."

The Real Story Behind Apple TV+'s 'Franklin'

A new limited series starring Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin revisits the founding father's years as the American ambassador to France

“For me, [Hanuman] was also a hero that lost faith in himself,” says director and star Dev Patel. “He didn’t have courage at one point and needed to be reminded of who he was.” 

How the Hindu Deity Hanuman Inspired Dev Patel's 'Monkey Man'

The story of the half-human, half-monkey god mirrors the journey of the protagonist in Patel's directorial debut

In this village, monks-in-training wearing brightly colored garments carry shoulder yokes through fields of rice.

Take a Trip to Thailand With These Smithsonian Photo Contest Images

See what makes this country so captivating, from picturesque rice paddies to striking cityscapes

Julianne Moore as Mary Villiers and Nicholas Galitzine as her son George Villiers in "Mary & George"

The Real Story Behind 'Mary & George'

The new mini-series dramatizes the Villiers family’s scandalous rise to power at the court of England's James I

American video artist Brian Fridge created a five-billboard series in Dallas called View Finder that portrayed a solar eclipse.

The Long History of Art Inspired by Solar Eclipses

For centuries, curious artists have been trying to make sense of the celestial event

Approaching a total eclipse in Queensland, Australia, November 2012

What Indigenous Cultures From Around the World Believe About Eclipses

A Smithsonian folklorist looks back and finds stories that explain how a darkening of daytime skies provokes a foreboding of evil

The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly, James Hampton's strange and transporting magnum opus. 
 


 

 

In His Garage, an Untrained Artist Created a Work of Sublime Divinity

How deep faith created one of the loveliest—and most curious—sacred objects in the Smithsonian collections

The Library Company reading room on Juniper Street in Philadelphia c. 1935, one of the group’s main locations from 1880 to 1935.

How Ben Franklin Invented the Library as We Know It

Books were rare and expensive in colonial America, but the founding father had an idea

A bright spot for sake is in America. In 2022, according to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, the U.S. was the No. 1 export market in terms of volume and second market in value for sake. 

An American-Made Sake Movement Is Underway

In the last decade, a truly homegrown effort has bubbled up in the United States

Tiger, oil on canvas, 1912. The artist’s vibrant animal paintings were based on careful study, including hours spent observing big cats at the Berlin Zoo. 

This Artist Turned to Painting Animals in a Turbulent Historical Moment

The German Expressionist painter Franz Marc found a subject worth celebrating in the early 20th century

Karlya Shelton, front and center, with the swans, performing George Balanchine's choreography for a Tchaikovsky serenade in 1979.

In the Face of Prejudice, the ‘Black Swans’ Took the Ballet World by Storm

A new book shows how pioneering ballerinas captivated audiences and broke racial barriers

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See the Winners of the 21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

This year’s top photographs capture the quiet and chaotic from the American South to East Asia

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How Kids Cornered the Market on Lemonade

The tangy tale of how America’s children learned to squeeze life for all it’s worth

John Thorn, perhaps the most knowledgeable historian of our national pastime, at home in Catskill, New York.

How Baseball’s Official Historian Dug Up the Game’s Unknown Origins

A lifelong passion for the national pastime led John Thorn to redefine the sport's relationship with statistics and reveal the truth behind its earliest days

Installation view of "Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860–1960," on display at the Hirshhorn Museum through April 20, 2025

Explore a Century of Masterpieces, From Rodin to Picasso, Brought Together by One Passionate Collector

A self-described "little man in a hurry," Joseph Hirshhorn built a premier modern art collection

Why aren't there freshwater seals or dolphins in the Great Lakes?

Why Aren't Dolphins in the Great Lakes? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

Clark Gable and Joan Crawford by George Hurrell, 1936, Gelatin silver print

How 'The Magic Man of Hollywood' Captured the Golden Age's Biggest Stars

George Hurrell’s photographs of actors from the 1930s and 1940s dazzle in a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

In the weave room, a worker uses a classic Crompton & Knowles loom to make suitable fabric for some 18th-century furniture.

When Hollywood Needs a Historically Accurate Outfit That Looks Just Right, It Turns to Rabbit Goody

How do filmmakers get period clothing to look the part? Inside the textile workshop where the past comes to life

Heterodoxy's illustrious members included (clockwise from top right) Marie Jenney Howe, Susan Glaspell, Crystal Eastman, Rose Pastor Stokes, Doris Stevens, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Rheta Childe Dorr.

The All-Woman Secret Society That Paved the Way for Modern Feminism

Based in Greenwich Village, Heterodoxy had just one requirement for membership: An applicant must "not be orthodox in her opinion"

A reveler enjoys a playful and colorful water war in the streets of Jodhpur during the Holi festival.

Celebrate Holi With These 15 Vibrant Photos

Observed around the world, the Hindu Festival of Colors welcomes spring

Photo of the day

A cloudy, cold, drizzling downcast day in Delft, the Netherlands. Bicycles park on a cobblestone street. Bicycles are the preferred means of transportation here. Bicyles Parked in Delft