Curators' Corner

A 1942 Memorial Day service at Manzanar, a Japanese American incarceration camp in California

How a 1924 Immigration Act Laid the Groundwork for Japanese American Incarceration

A Smithsonian curator and a historian discuss the links between the Johnson-Reed Act and Executive Order 9066, which rounded up 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps across the Western U.S.

An artist's depiction of a person carving a pendant from bones of a giant sloth roughly 25,000 to 27,000 years ago. Research this year suggested humans and the sloths lived in Brazil at the same time, strengthening evidence that our ancestors populated the Americas earlier than thought.

Thirteen Discoveries Made About Human Evolution in 2023

Smithsonian paleoanthropologists reveal some of the year’s most fascinating findings about human origins

The "1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery through February 25, 2024.

How the War of 1898 Changed History Forever—in the United States and Beyond

When the nascent naval power invaded Puerto Rico, three artists captured the moment, each explaining its significance in their own way

"1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions" exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

See a Life-Size Portrait of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the Last Reigning Monarch of Hawai‘i

The William Cogswell painting, now on display at the National Portrait Gallery, was likely a means for the ruler to assert her right to the throne

Though stationary, fibers of different colors and textures are combined in ways that suggest water or air in motion and subject to the whims of turbulence.

Material Wealth

The Deep Cultural Significance of the Art of Felt

A river of fabric? Janice Arnold’s installations, inspired by the people of Central Asia, go to great lengths to evoke wonder

At the Mosul Cultural Museum, the Lion of Nimrud is being carefully restored (above: the cuneiform text on the figure is realigned and rejoined) as world organizations lend support to restore a city that has long stood at the heart of Western civilization.

Mosul Cultural Museum to Reopen in 2026

Traveling to the ancient Iraqi city, the Smithsonian’s ambassador at large reports on the international efforts to aid recovery

Photographed before her death in 1987, Septima Clark helped win African Americans the right to teach in Charleston, South Carolina. 

The Power of Portraits

An exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases the photography of Brian Lanker—and the remarkable lives of his subjects

Ihor Poshyvailo, director of the Maidan Museum in Kyiv and co-founder of Ukraine’s Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, along with his crew, salvages the remains of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary built in 1862 and shelled by the Russians in March 2022.

How Ukrainians Are Defending Their Cultural Heritage From Russian Destruction

The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and its partners are aiding in the fight to protect the country's history and to document attempts to erase it

The Great Hall of the Castle (pictured in 1969) has housed exhibits, a library, special events and a visitor information center.

Why the Smithsonian Castle Is Getting a Major Overhaul

The iconic building on the National Mall will be closed for five years as its interior gets a highly anticipated makeover

The Smithsonian Castle Building, in a colorized photograph taken by Alexander Gardner, was severely damaged in a January 1865 fire.

A Look Back at the First Time the Smithsonian Castle Closed for Renovations

In February, the building will shutter for five years for much-needed improvements

A team led by Laurits Skov and Benjamin Peter from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology sequenced nuclear, mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA of 13 Neanderthal individuals. From these sequences, they determined that two of the Neanderthals represent a father-daughter pair and that another two are cousins.

Fourteen Discoveries Made About Human Evolution in 2022

Smithsonian paleoanthropologists reveal the year’s most riveting findings about our close relatives and ancestors

Billie Jean King wore this dress when she beat Bobby Riggs, a former number-one male player, during the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes.”

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

What America’s Pop Culture Says About the Nation Itself

A new permanent exhibition offers proof that popular entertainment can be more than just a diversion

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The Father-Daughter Team Who Reformed America

Meet the duo who helped achieve the most important labor and civil rights victories of their age

The data, says the exhibition director Rachel Goslins, offers "a potential roadmap for anyone seeking to be inspired, as well as to inspire hope and action." (Above: the two-story interactive me + you, by the New York artist and architect Suchi Reddy, incorporated the latest in artificial intellegence analysis.)

What It Will Take to Inspire Hope for a Better Tomorrow

Visitor data from the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition provides a road map for how to navigate the world ahead

Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley envisioned the Anacostia museum as an outreach effort to the local community. 

What Community Means to the Smithsonian

Smithsonian museums preserve and celebrate history. Yet they have histories of their own that help connect us with Washingtonians and the world

The trident, also known as the tryzub, is ubiquitous in modern Ukraine, but its origins lie in the medieval period.

How Medieval Money Shaped Ukraine’s Modern Identity

The country's distinct history is revealed in banknotes, coins and other monetary objects, says the Smithsonian’s curator of numismatics

China first sent giant pandas as a gift to the U.S. 50 years ago. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who arrived in 2000, are on loan until the end of 2023. 

The Wide World of Smithsonian Scientific Research

With astonishing new discoveries in the cosmos and pivotal research much closer to home, Smithsonian science proves indispensable

Hassinger's video (above: Birthright by Maren Hassinger, 2005) is a powerful history of seven orphaned children, a story of stolen labor and stolen lives, a family chronicle “that came out of being enslaved, the aftermath of slavery,” says the artist.

Join in a Meditation on the Twists of Memories Handed Down From One Generation to Another

A new commission, based on the acclaimed video 'Birthright' by artist Maren Hassenger, explores the legacy of slavery in family history

This commemorative sculpture by an Edo artist is one of 29 objects the Smithsonian is proposing to repatriate to Nigeria. 

Why the Smithsonian Adopted a New Policy on Ethical Collecting

For more than a century, museum artifacts were acquired in ways we no longer find acceptable. How can we repair the damage?

Before the critical 1965 Supreme Court ruling Griswold v. Connecticut, state and federal morality laws prohibited access to contraceptives, even to married couples (above: a picketer protests the opening of a new Planned Parenthood Center in New Haven, Connecticut).

The Revolutionary 1965 Supreme Court Decision That Declared Sex a Private Affair

A Smithsonian curator of medicine and science looks back to the days when police could arrest couples for using contraception

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