“The guide I have spoken of is the only one we have had yet who knew anything,” Twain reported in the Venice chapter of the book.

The Museum Tour Guide Who Shaped Mark Twain’s Views on Race

While traveling in Venice for what would be his best-selling memoir, the author’s encounter with an African-American art expert forever changed his writing

The Ten Best History Books of 2019

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how we got to where we are today

The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2019

What to read when you’ve been bitten by the travel bug

The new book, subtitled Remarkable Objects and Stories of Strength, Ingenuity, and Vision from the National Collection includes clockwise from top left: crocheted pussyhat; Sfag-Na-Kins sanitary napkins, Black Lives Matter T-shirt; a clay pot by Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo and her daughter Fannie; Alice Paul's ERA charm bracelet; and a cup and saucer by designer Belle Kogan.

Women Who Shaped History

Smithsonian Elevates the Frequently Ignored Histories of Women

For many, the personal—tea cups, dresses, needlework and charm bracelets—really was political. A new book tells why

Between 1930 and 1933, the U.S. government funded segregated trips to American military cemeteries in Europe for mothers and widows of fallen soldiers. This Gold Star Pilgrim is visiting a soldier’s grave at Suresnes American Cemetery, west of Paris.

Jim Crow Compounded the Grief of African American Mothers Whose Sons Were Killed in World War I

Smithsonian Books presents ‘We Return Fighting,’ a groundbreaking exploration of African American involvement in World War I

Flight map of Air India destinations from 1962.

The Sleek History of Airline Maps

A new book explores the evolution of cartography throughout more than a century of commercial air travel

Deadly perils awaited prospectors who flocked to the Yukon. In April 1898, on a single day, 65 men on the Chilkoot Trail died in an avalanche. Typhoid also took its toll.

Gold Fever! Deadly Cold! And the Amazing True Adventures of Jack London in the Wild

In 1897, the California native went to the frozen North looking for gold. What he found instead was the great American novel

The Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium, is one of dozens of ceilings featured in the new book "The Art of Looking Up."

Virtual Travel

A Tour of the World's Most Spectacular Ceilings

In her new book 'The Art of Looking Up,' Catherine McCormack captures stunning ceilings around the globe

“We call ourselves the Great Convener,” says the new Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, “but really we’re a Great Legitimizer. And I want the Smithsonian to legitimize important issues."

Lonnie Bunch Sizes Up His Past and Future at the Smithsonian

Bunch’s new memoir details the tireless work it took to build NMAAHC and offers insights into his priorities as Smithsonian Secretary


How Lonnie Bunch Built a Museum Dream Team

An exclusive excerpt from the Smithsonian Secretary’s new book, ‘A Fool’s Errand’

In "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, the readers dictate the plot's twists and turns.

Is the Future of Entertainment the 40-Years-Old 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Series?

Forty years ago, a beloved paperback series set the stage for today's obsession with interactive entertainment

People gathered to watch a giant peach as it is moved through the center of Cardiff in September 2016—part of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth.

Exploring Roald Dahl’s Wondrous Wales

Follow in the footsteps of the beloved children’s book author by visiting these four locales in the United Kingdom

Coney Island Boardwalk, Day to Night, 2011

How Photographer Stephen Wilkes Captures a Full Day in a Single Image

In his new book 'Day to Night,' the photographer uses technology to play tricks on the eye

Florence Pugh (second from the left) plays Amy March in "Little Women"

The New ‘Little Women’ May Finally Do Justice to Its Most Controversial Character

Based on the trailer of the new adaptation of the beloved novel, Amy March seems poised to get the well-rounded portrait she deserves

The entrance to Taiohae Bay, on the island of Nuku Hiva, where Herman Melville lived in 1842.

How a Voyage to French Polynesia Set Herman Melville on the Course to Write 'Moby-Dick'

We retrace the journey that had a long-lasting influence on the enigmatic author's improbable career

The family of Jaidyn MacCorison, 11 (at a New Hampshire gas station), goes back generations in the region.

The Mysterious Beauty of Robert Frost's New England

These stark yet stunning landscapes inspired the lyricism of the American titan of poetry

Several years after traveling through the South with fellow writer Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes wrote an essay about an encounter with a young man escaping chain gang labor.

A Lost Work by Langston Hughes Examines the Harsh Life on the Chain Gang

In 1933, the Harlem Renaissance star wrote a powerful essay about race. It has never been published in English—until now

"Ray's Rock" on Omaha Beach, where medic Ray Lambert was part of the first wave during D-Day

One of the Few Surviving Heroes of D-Day Shares His Story

Army medic Ray Lambert, now 98, landed with the first assault wave on Omaha Beach. Seventy-five years later, he could be the last man standing

Pioneers' Flatboat, originally published in black and white in The Century Magazine (volume 92, May to October, 1916).

Recounting the Untold History of the Early Midwestern Pioneers

In his new book, historian David McCullough reveals how the New England settlers made their mark on the U.S.

"I certainly see ourselves moving in a direction where conception through sex will come to be seen as natural, yet dangerous," says Metzl.

How To Prepare for a Future of Gene-Edited Babies—Because It's Coming

In a new book, futurist Jamie Metzl considers the ethical questions we need to ask in order to navigate the realities of human genetic engineering

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