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“Bessie Coleman (above: with her Curtiss JN-4 "Jennie" in her custom designed flying suit, ca. 1924) was a real gutsy woman for the era,” says Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. "Anyone else might have quit at any time.”

For Pilot Bessie Coleman, Every 'No' Got Her Closer to 'Yes'

Despite fierce obstacles in her path, the Black female aviator became a hero that would pave the way for generations to come

Shoichi Yokoi fled to the jungles of Guam to avoid capture in the summer of 1944. He remained in hiding until January 1972.

The Japanese WWII Soldier Who Refused to Surrender for 27 Years

Unable to bear the shame of being captured as a prisoner of war, Shoichi Yokoi hid in the jungles of Guam until January 1972

In the show, the promises and tensions of emerging modern life can be seen most vividly through the eyes of two invented characters: Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), Agnes’ poor niece who has come to stay with the van Rhijns, and Peggy (Denée Benton), Agnes’ Black secretary.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind HBO's 'The Gilded Age'

Julian Fellowes' new series dramatizes the late 19th-century clash between New York City's old and new monied elite

Some say the dish can be traced back to logging camps at the beginning of the 20th century, but others cite chili and cinnamon rolls as a once-essential part of their school lunch programs. 

What's Up With the Pairing of Chili and Cinnamon Rolls?

Why kids across the western United States came to find the unlikely combination in their school lunches

Harry Hall, Campbell's chief agricultural expert, inspects tomatoes in his office at Campbell's research farm in Cinnaminson, New Jersey sometime in the 1920s.

How Campbell Soup Turned New Jersey Into a Tomato-Growing State

The canned food company's tomato breeding program was responsible for developing several important varieties

A small stretch of an ancient cemetery in Naples is set to open to the public for the first time, shedding new light on the Italian city’s history and ancient Greek artistry.

A Long-Overlooked Necropolis in Naples Reveals the Enduring Influence of Ancient Greece

The Ipogeo dei Cristallini's well-preserved tombs will open to the public as soon as summer 2022

The Donner Summit tunnels and 13 others in the Sierra Nevada built by Chinese railroad workers remain a testament to ingenuity and industry. 

The Quest to Protect California's Transcontinental Railroad Tunnels

Built by Chinese immigrants in the 1860s, the caverns cutting through Donner Summit helped unite the country

Bruce Clark, author of the new book Athens: City of Wisdom, outlines the events that culminated in the Elgin Marbles’ extraction from Greece.

How the Much-Debated Elgin Marbles Ended Up in England

For two centuries, diplomat Thomas Bruce has been held up as a shameless plunderer. The real history is more complicated, argues the author of a new book

Lieutenant Colonel Almon F. Rockwell (center) was a longtime friend of President James A. Garfield (right). He was also one of roughly 25 people present at Abraham Lincoln's (left) deathbed.

This Man Was the Only Eyewitness to the Deaths of Both Lincoln and Garfield

Almon F. Rockwell's newly resurfaced journals, excerpted exclusively here, offer an incisive account of the assassinated presidents' final moments

Ben Franklin by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, ca 1785

Ben Franklin Lives in Your Smartphone

The 18th-century inventor discovered concepts that impact modern technology

The origins of the crunchy snack date back to at least the 1800s.

How the Potato Chip Took Over America

A fussy magnate, a miffed chef and the curious roots of the comfort food we hate to love

Snowboarder Shannon Dunn competes for Team USA in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in half-pipe.

Winter Olympics

A Brief History of Snowboarding

Rebellious youth. Olympic glory. How a goofy American pastime conquered winter

Brunhild and Fredegund were two lesser-known but long-reigning and influential Frankish queens.

The Medieval Queens Whose Daring, Murderous Reigns Were Quickly Forgotten

Over the centuries, Brunhild and Fredegund were dismissed and even parodied. But a new book shows how they outwitted their enemies like few in history

A first edition of Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), written while the poet was enslaved to John Wheatley of Boston. The book has a brown leather cover, the original Morocco spine label and a frontispiece featuring a portrait of Phillis by Scipio Morehead.


 

Women Who Shaped History

How Phillis Wheatley Beat All Expectations

The Revolution-era Boston establishment couldn't believe that the young African American woman wrote the exquisite book of poetry

Arnold Bertonneau of New Orleans, Robert Smalls of South Carolina and Anderson Ruffin Abbott of Toronto.

Meet the Black Men Who Changed Lincoln's Mind About Equal Rights

During the Civil War, these individuals convinced the president, altering the course of U.S. history

Children stand on the surrounding wall at Tabira Gate, the entrance to Assur, first capital of the Assyrian empire in present day Shirqat, Iraq.

At the Iraqi Site of Assur, Ancient History Stands at Risk of Destruction

In its time, the Assyrian capital faced waves of invasions and abandonment. Now a small team of archaeologists are protecting it from more modern threats

A 1930s couple rings in the new year with party blowers and streamers. New Year's Eve celebrations only began incorporating countdowns decades later, with the first crowd countdown in Times Square taking place in 1979.

Why Do We Count Down to the New Year?

A historian traces the tradition's links to space travel, the Doomsday Clock and Alfred Hitchcock

Finds unveiled in 2021 included a wooden falcon that originally belonged to doomed queen Anne Boleyn, an intact ancient chicken egg and a dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Nine Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2021

The year's most exciting discoveries include a Viking "piggy bank," a lost Native American settlement and a secret passageway hidden behind a bookshelf

Smithsonian's most-read stories of 2021 included an explainer on crocodile evolution, a profile of a teen inventor and a feature on Viking explorer Gudrid the Far Traveler.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2021

From archaeological finds to an invasive weed to Roman bathrooms, these were our most-read articles of the year

The Moores' younger daughter, Evangeline, donated this locket and other personal artifacts to the Smithsonian in 2013.

This Locket Memorializes a Black Activist Couple Murdered in a Christmas 1951 Bombing

Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore attracted the KKK's ire for their tireless promotion of civil rights in the Jim Crow South

Photo of the day

Childhood is a very wonderful moment of our life, it gives us untold memory. Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. Childhood Joy