Exhibitions

Losang Samten, a Tibetan American scholar and former Buddhist monk, will create, with the help of festivalgoers, a sand mandala.

The 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Explores the Many Ways Americans Express Their Spirituality

Tibetan Buddhist monks, Yiddish musicians and many more creatives will share their cultural practices with visitors to the National Mall

Gay Days at Disney World is one of the nation's largest Pride Month events.

What Disney Theme Parks Tell Us About Ourselves

An American History Museum exhibition looks at how the resorts have changed over time to reflect a broader image of what it means to be American

“From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya With Ayana V. Jackson” is currently on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art through April 2024 (above: When the Spirit of Kalunda Comes So Does Kianda, Ayana V. Jackson, 2018-2022).

Meet the Inhabitants of the Mythic World of Drexciya

Artist Ayana V. Jackson creates an undersea realm honoring those who jumped or were thrown overboard during the trans-Atlantic slave trade

“Anyang: China’s Ancient City of Kings” is on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art (above: A grouping of bronze and ceramic wine cups and warmers that date to 1100-1150 B.C.E.) 

A U.S.-China Collaboration a Century Ago Helped Find Riches of a Lost Civilization

The first U.S. exhibition to display the wonders of China’s ancient city of Anyang is on view at the National Museum of Asian Art

The new exhibition “1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions” aims to shine a light on the controversial period when the United States intervened in Cuba, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. (above: President William McKinley, Francisco Oller, 1898, detail).

The Overlooked Histories Behind America’s Rise as a World Power

The National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition addresses the War of 1898, a pivotal but often forgotten period in history

The National Museum of Asian Art's on-going exhibition "Ay-O’s Happy Rainbow Hell," (above: rainbow night 10 from the series, "Rainbow Passes Slowly" by Ay-O, 1971, screenprint 5/55) is part of the museum's 2023 centennial celebrations.

Take a Radiating, Immersive Trip Into ‘Ay-O’s Happy Rainbow Hell’

The National Museum of Asian Art is the first U.S. museum to survey the vivid silkscreens from the 91-year-old Japanese artist

The exhibition "Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures," (above, right: A scene from the 2014 Ghanian short film "Afronauts") is on view through March 24, 2024, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History.

What Is Afrofuturism?

A new exhibition defines how artistry and activism over decades gave rise to the idea and promise of a future that could advance Black life

The spiraled crafted work On the Air by Jeong Ju Lee is made to flow with the contour of the model's shoulder.

These Asian American Artists Merge Traditional Aesthetics With Contemporary Practices

Jewelers Reiko Ishiyama and Jeong Ju Lee redefine the “American Spirit” at the Smithsonian’s upcoming Craft Show

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

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