Curators' Corner

In October 1971, Disney World "cast members" pose with celebrity Mickey Mouse at one of the theme park's grand opening ceremonies. 

In the Magic Kingdom, History Was a Lesson Filled With Reassurance

Fifty years ago, Disney World's celebrated opening promised joy and inspiration to all; today the theme park is reckoning with its white middle-class past

An interactive lunch counter at the African American History Museum lets visitors grapple with moral dilemmas of the civil rights movement.

Race in America

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on Why the Smithsonian Is Talking About Race

In a deeply divided moment, a new initiative aims to bring Americans together by reckoning with our racial past

Among the ways that the American History Museum has engaged visitors was the 2010 interactive play “Join the Student Sit-Ins,” starring actor Xavier Carnegie (above) at one of the iconic objects in the Smithsonian's collection, the Greensboro Lunch Counter, where on February 1,1960, four Black college students at North Carolina A & T University began a legendary sit-in for racial justice.

Innovation for Good

Why History Museums Are Convening a 'Civic Season'

History is complex, says the Smithsonian’s Chris Wilson; here's how to empower citizens with the lessons it offers

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

Artist Kenny Altidor unveiled this Brooklyn mural of George Floyd in July 2020.

Remembering George Floyd and the Movement He Sparked

Kevin Young, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, reflects on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's killing

"Beckoning: A Playlist of AAPI Joy, Sorrow, Rage and Resistance" is an eclectic mix of heartwarming tunes, instrumentals and pointed social commentary from such veterans as Yoko Ono and Brothers Cazimero as well as emerging artists like Audrey Nuna and G Yamazawa.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Calls Upon Its Community to Share the Power of Music

As an antidote for these times, 43 songs honoring joy, sorrow, rage and resistance

America’s public, partisan and passionate campaigns fired up uniformed young men who participated in torchlit marches, a style pioneered by the Republican Wide Awakes stumping for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 (above: a procession stomped through Lower Manhattan’s Printing House Square).

The Little-Known Story of 19th-Century America's Partisan Warfare

In a new book, Smithsonian curator Jon Grinspan examines the history of America's furious and fractious politics

A hallmark of our cognitive abilities is to be able to calculate and respond to future probabilities. We will have to adapt to this pandemic reality, but adaptation is something that humans are famously good at.

Covid-19

Why This Pandemic Won't Be the Last

Smithsonian biological anthropologist Sabrina Sholts says Covid-19 illustrates that what makes us human also makes us more vulnerable to global contagions

Engineers concluded that the museum building (above: the Assyrian Hall in February 2019) was structurally sound and could be repaired. But much work would need to be done.

Iraq's Cultural Museum in Mosul Is on the Road to Recovery

The arduous process, says the Smithsonian's Richard Kurin, is "a victory over violent extremism"

Based on newly discovered and declassified files, the film MLK/FBI by the acclaimed Emmy Award winning director Sam Pollard, tells the story of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of King.

Commentary

A New Film Details the FBI's Relentless Pursuit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Smithsonian scholar says the time is ripe to examine the man's complexities for a more accurate and more inspirational history

While fieldwork was postponed, scientists made discoveries studying fossil footprints, ancient apes, monkeys and hominins.

Ten New Things We Learned About Human Origins in 2020

Smithsonian’s archaeologist Ella Beaudoin and paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner reveal some of the year’s best findings in human origins studies

This past October, Ruben Ghazarayan (above left with his brother Karen at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival) fought on the frontlines of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, his brother is selling their Armenian cross-stones to support their families during the conflict.

In Times of Conflict, How Can We Support the People Who Keep Culture Alive?

A Smithsonian research fellow weighs in on the ways culture proves both vital and resilient

Pakistan, home of Deosai National Park, is one of the countries whose leaders signed the pledge to protect 30 percent of land and water.

These Conservation Stories Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad News

From the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism team, comes a surprising list of successful efforts making a difference

On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from Kennedy Space Center at 7:51 a.m. EST with Frank Borman in command. His crew became the first humans to ride the mighty Saturn V rocket, breaking the bonds of Earth’s physical pull and entering the gravitational field of another celestial body.

How Apollo 8 Delivered Christmas Eve Peace and Understanding to the World

In a new book, Smithsonian curator Teasel Muir-Harmony examines the geopolitics during NASA’s space flight program

A student in Evansville, Wisconsin explores a 3D model of a 19th century life mask of President Abraham Lincoln from the National Portrait Gallery’s collections in his school’s computer lab in 2014.

Smithsonian Voices

The Smithsonian’s Evolving Role as the Nation’s Knowledge Partner

Museum education has had a long, ever evolving history at the Smithsonian that can be found at the heart of its mission today

"Engaged philanthropy is vital to democracy," writes Smithsonian scholar Amanda B. Moniz, who studies the history of giving in America. Above: charity workers bring groceries to those isolating with symptoms of Covid-19.

The Storied History of Giving in America

Throughout American history, philanthropy has involved the offering of time, money and moral concern to benefit others, but it carries a complicated legacy

Hassinger's film (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.

Artist Maren Hassinger Has Spent Her Entire Career Mediating the Current Moment

Curators Dorothy Moss and Charlotte Ickes explore the artist’s story ahead of her arrival in the Capital City

The National Zoo shares favorite moments as curators and keepers train their expert eyes on the Giant Panda Cam, monitoring the young cub's first weeks.

Pandamonium

Top 10 Giant Panda Cub Cam Moments

Two National Zoo curators and the panda keeper journal their favorite moments of the new cub's first days

Thomas Jefferson, who had suffered great criticism for his religious beliefs, once said that the care he had taken to reduce the Gospels to their core message should prove that he was in fact, a “real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

Why Thomas Jefferson Created His Own Bible

In a new book, Smithsonian curator of religion Peter Manseau tells of how <em>The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth</em> first sparked hot controversy

On December 17, 1979, motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie was murdered by police, who were later acquitted. Nearly 5,000 people convene in downtown Miami to protest.

The Long, Painful History of Racial Unrest

A lethal incident of police brutality in Miami in 1979 offers just one of countless examples of the reality generations of African Americans have faced

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