Arts & Culture

Visionary executive William Barstow Strong led the second transcontinental line, the Santa Fe, in the 1880s, paving the way for thousands of miles of track.

How the Santa Fe Railroad Changed America Forever

The golden spike made the newspapers. But another railroad made an even bigger difference to the nation

An eight-foot-wide model of the intact monument was placed in an acoustics-testing chamber. Researchers found that sounds emanating from near the center reverberated within the structure.

What Did Stonehenge Sound Like?

Researchers have developed a new understanding of what it meant to be a member of the inner circle

Yakumo Academy High School karate team members practice a kata. Competitors are judged on such things as strength/power, deportment and interpretation.

The Tokyo Olympics

The Centuries-Old Sport of Karate Finally Gets Its Due at the Olympics

With the games set for Japan, the martial art will at last debut at next month's competition

Here are 12 of the rarest doo-wop records ever made. “Can’t Help Loving That Girl of Mine” (1954) by Philadelphia’s 
Hide-A-Ways is, Shively says, the “holy grail of vocal group
collecting.”

A Peek Inside the World's Greatest Record Store

A lovable grouch, obsessed with the magic of American sidewalk harmony, runs the Philadelphia shop

Thirteen-year-old Pedro de Frutos stands inside a dormant volcano near Timanfaya National Park. A series of eruptions
began in 1730 and lasted six years.

Learning to Love the Hardscrabble Life on Lanzarote

A photographic tour of those who eke out a life on the sunblasted island transformed by a volcano

Custard apple trees—a freshwater version of mangroves once ringed Lake Okeechobee’s southern shore in a three-mile-wide belt. Today, barely 100 acres remain.

The Strange Beauty at the Edge of the Everglades

Chronicling the historic struggles of the Florida farming community known as Belle Glade

Beneath the ruins of the Bubasteion temple, archaeologists discovered “megatombs” crammed with burials. The coffins pictured date to more than 2,000 years ago.

Inside the Tombs of Saqqara

Dramatic new discoveries in the ancient Egytptian burial ground. A special report produced with Smithsonian Channel

Oil Spill #10, Oil Slick at Rip Tide, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010 (detail) by Edward Burtynsky, 2010

The Sad Truths Behind These Unsettling Works of Art

A new exhibition reflects on the haunting aesthetics of human impact on the planet

Sourcing her fish skin from Iceland, Elisa Palomino-Perez designs, dyes and assembles her fashion accessories. Bag handmade by Jay Zaccheus.

Innovation for Good

Does Fish Skin Have a Future in Fashion?

To promote sustainability in the industry, designer Elisa Palomino-Perez is embracing the traditional Indigenous practice of crafting with fish leather

The free silver movement—which fought to allow for unfettered silver coinage alongside the gold standard—reflected the divides of 1890s America.

The U.S. Government's Failed Attempt to Forge Unity Through Currency

In the late 1890s, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving tried to bridge the divide between silver and gold with a series of educational paper certificates

The new film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights draws on the real history of Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood.

The Immigrant History of the NYC Neighborhood Behind 'In the Heights'

How Washington Heights, a community in upper Manhattan, became the heart of an award-winning musical and a hotly anticipated film adaptation

Complicated adventures await Loki, the "god of mischief," played by Tom Hiddleston in the new Disney+ series produced by Marvel Studios.

A Folklorist Explains Loki's Place in Mythology's Pantheon of Trickster Heroes

Smithsonian's James Deutsch says that behind the character in the new Marvel Studios series lies the oft-told story of "guile" outsmarting authority

Lisa Marie Thalhammer holds her original LOVE poster with her mural in the background.

Smithsonian Voices

This D.C. Muralist Finds Pride and Power in Public Art

It’s important for her to be part of the national conversation says Lisa Marie Thalhammer

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, sizing up the idol, in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Enduring Myths of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Forty years later, archaeologists look back at what the first Indiana Jones movie got wrong about their profession

Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.557, Wall-Mounted Tied Wire, Closed Center Twelve-Petaled Form Based on Nature), bronze wire, 38 x 38 x 12 in.

Smithsonian Voices

Documenting the Turning Point in the Fascinating Career of Sculptor Ruth Asawa

Smithsonian's Liza Kirwin explores an early and important exhibition held at LA's Ankrum Gallery in 1962

To mark its 35th birthday, American Girl rereleased its original six characters (L to R): Felicity Merriman, Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, Addy Walker, Josefina Montoya and Molly McIntire.

The Enduring Nostalgia of American Girl Dolls

The beloved line of fictional characters taught children about American history and encouraged them to realize their potential

Xerox technology completely streamlined the animation process.

How 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' Saved Disney

Sixty years ago, the company modernized animation when it used Xerox technology on the classic film

The digital realm is not limited by the dimensions of the museum walls and instead brings learning experiences to visitors of all ages in new and exciting ways.

Smithsonian Voices

Navigate Hidden Treasures With These Smithsonian 3-D Games

AR/VR technologies give audiences new ways to experience museums that complement a traditional visit, engaging visitors and fueling learning opportunities

This month's book picks include The Engagement, How the Word Is Passed and Drunk.

Books of the Month

The Fight to Legalize Gay Marriage, the Woman Who Couldn't Be Silenced and Other New Books to Read

These June releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

From Insects, their way and means of living.

Smithsonian Voices

Cicada Folklore, or Why We Don’t Mind Billions of Burrowing Bugs at Once

The earliest documented examples of cicada folklore come from China

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