Exhibitions

One-third of the world’s population can’t see the starry band of light in the night sky that makes up the Milky Way (above). The new show “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky” at the National Museum of Natural History looks at the devastating impacts of artificial light.

Planet Positive

Why It’s Time for a Worldwide Lights-Out Program

A new Smithsonian exhibition delves into the issue of light pollution, with easy solutions offering an immediate change

The Smithsonian's podcast Sidedoor uncovers the climate change insights hidden in old paintings (above: Shivalal, Maharana Fateh Singh Crossing a River During the Monsoon (detail), c. 1893).

What Centuries-Old Indian Court Paintings Tell Us About Climate Change

This month’s Smithsonian podcasts include a deep dive into India’s monsoon weather patterns and discussion of animals in flight

“Spirit in the Dark: Religion in Black Music, Activism and Popular Culture,” (above: Nina Simone by G. Marshall Wilson, 1959) is on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture through November 2023.

Movements Capturing the Spiritual Roots of Black Culture

A new exhibition of rarely seen images and artifacts chronicles the African American religious experience

“A Window Suddenly Opens: Contemporary Photography in China” (above: Chinese Landscape Series No. 3 by Huang Yan, 1999) continues at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. through January 7, 2024.

A Window Opens on China’s Avant-Garde With This Explosion of Photographic Art

The Hirshhorn Museum displays dynamic works of Chinese self-expression

One standout feature of the renovated Bird House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is the chance for close-up, interactive experiences (above: a cedar waxwing).

The Wonderful World of Birds

Experience the Wonder of Migration at the National Zoo’s New Bird House

Following a six-year renovation, the revamped exhibition will open March 13 with three indoor aviaries

“Abraham Lincoln” (1865) by W.F.K. Travers in the "America's Presidents" gallery at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, on loan from the Hartley Dodge Foundation.

Life-Size 1865 Portrait of Abraham Lincoln Stands Tall at the National Portrait Gallery

The W.F.K. Travers painting hid in plain sight at a New Jersey town hall for 80 years before it was restored and brought back to Washington

“When an individual walks through this experience, they are a part of history, and now they can contribute to the future,” says the museum's Asantewa Boakyewa.

This Show Is Everything You Need for a Year of Meaningful Community Activism

The immersive exhibition, "The Utopia Project," at the Anacostia Community Museum is about setting high goals and the means for achieving them

At the Paris World's Fair a powerful display of hand-drawn diagrams (above: Income and expenditure of 150 Negro families in Atlanta, Ga.,U.S. designed by W.E.B. Du Bois and his students) called attention to the unrecognized contributions of Black Americans. The fragile posters are being rotatated in and out of an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through May 2023.

How W.E.B. Du Bois Disrupted America’s Dominance at the World’s Fair

With bar graphs and pie charts, the sociologist and his Atlanta students demonstrated Black excellence in the face of widespread discrimination

The installation Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America by Georges Adéagbo (above) will be on view at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. through February 15.

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At Abraham Lincoln's Cottage, Artist Georges Adéagbo Pays Homage to the Great Emancipator

The award-winning Beninese artist unveils a work dedicated to the president’s “generosity of heart”

At the Natural History Museum, "Cellphone: Unseen Connections" opens June 23; at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, "Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols" goes on view May 13; and "Ay-Ō's Happy Rainbow Hell" is part of the National Museum of Asian Art's centennial exhibitions, opening March 25.

Twenty-Three Smithsonian Shows to See in 2023

A rare Bible, George Clinton's colorful wig, Disney World history and Japanese ghosts debut this year

This Du Bois infographic charted the dramatic growth in the value of property held by Black Georgians between 1875 and 1899.

Why W.E.B. Du Bois Remains Such an Inspiration

A new Smithsonian exhibition invites visitors to use his groundbreaking infographics as a lens into Black history

A poster, boldly declaring "Sí Se Puede. It Can Be Done" and held in the Smithsonian collections, offers a look back to how farm laborers won the right to join and form unions.

Why ‘Sí, Se Puede’ Was the Winning Motto for the United Farm Workers

Their nationwide boycott helped farmworkers win the right to join and form unions

Family Portrait from the series "The Lams of Ludlow Street," by Thomas Holton, 2004

How These Contemporary Artists Are Redefining Family and Kinship

Explore the enduring bonds and intimacies of modern love at the National Portrait Gallery

Hector Guimard, who gained acclaim from his work with the Paris Métro subway system, is the subject of an exhibition on view at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

Meet the Designer of the Fanciful Subway Entrances to the Paris Métro

The celebrated architect Hector Guimard was also a passionate advocate for workers’ rights, even as he honed his reputation in the business of luxury

The 1989 photograph, Maya Lin working on Civil Rights Memorial by Adam Stoltman, is among numerous works including 3D models, sketchbooks, personal papers and family photos in the exhibition, "One Life: Maya Lin," at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. 

The Private World of the Public Artist Maya Lin

A biographical exhibition reveals the profound origins of her intensely engaging art

Twenty iconic photographs by Richard Avedon including, Wedding of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Kennedy, City Hall, New York City, are now on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Richard Avedon Pushed the Boundaries of Portrait Photography

Twenty iconic works by the master photographer invite museumgoers to engage in the hard conversations that challenge us today

Living in an era when wealthy Gilded Age Americans assembled large collections of Western European art, Freer aimed to carve out a position by collecting something new and different.

Why the U.S. Rejected—Then Embraced—a Detroit Industrialist's Rare Collection of Asian Art

The legacy of voracious collector Charles Lang Freer, a good friend of James McNeill Whistler, is marked by tension and irony

More than 200 artifacts are featured in the new exhibition, "Entertainment Nation," including clockwise from top left: Muhammad Ali's warm-up robe; the angel's jacket from the Broadway production Rent,; chairs from the set of TV's "All in the Family; a costume worn by Sylvestor Stallone in the film Rocky; Prince's "Cloud" guitar; a dress worn by performer Gloria Estefan and a conga drum used by musician Emilio Estefan from the Miami Sound Machine.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

American Pop Culture Takes the Spotlight in a New Blockbuster Exhibition

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History brings television, film, music and sports together in one enthralling space

The “Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery” is now open to visitors at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

The Jury-Rigged Experiment that Led to the Discovery of Unknown Worlds

See the Kepler technology demonstrator at the National Air and Space Museum, along with a host of technologies that brought success to space exploration

The famed Ruby Slippers were worn by by Judy Garland in her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

It's Showtime at the National Museum of American History

An inside look at how popular culture represents who we are as a nation

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