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Ornithologist Edmund Selous made empathy for birds respectable and, in doing so, changed the world. Bird-watching became a popular pastime, eventually making birding scientific and playing a pivotal role in the animals’ conservation.

How Bird Collecting Evolved Into Bird-Watching

In the early 1900s, newfound empathy for avian creatures helped wildlife observation displace dispassionate killing

In May 1536, Henry had his second wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded on trumped-up charges of adultery and incest. For centuries, historians blamed Anne's sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, for testifying against the queen—but new research calls this claim into question.

The Myths of Lady Rochford, the Tudor Noblewoman Who Supposedly Betrayed George and Anne Boleyn

Historians are reevaluating Jane Boleyn's role in her husband and sister-in-law's downfall

Medical student Anna Searcy in 1897

Women Who Shaped History

These Trailblazers Were the Only Women in the Room Where It Happened

A new book spotlights 100 historical photographs of lone women hidden among groups of men

Over the past century, archaeologists have uncovered more than 1,600 Proto-Elamite inscriptions, but only about 43 in Linear Elamite, scattered widely across Iran.

Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Linear Elamite, a writing system used in what is now Iran, may reveal the secrets of a little-known kingdom bordering Sumer

Divers from AllenX examines the debris trail of the Maravillas, which sank in the Bahamas in 1656.

Cool Finds

The Race to Preserve Treasures From a Legendary 17th-Century Shipwreck

The new Bahamas Maritime Museum will feature finds from the "Maravillas," a Spanish galleon that sank in 1656 with a cargo of gold, silver and gems

A boy riding his bike while delivering newspapers with his dog in tow, 1970s

What Ever Happened to the Neighborhood Paperboy?

To mark the premiere of Amazon's "Paper Girls," we delved into the surprisingly murky history of bicycle-riding newspaper carriers

John Volanthen (Colin Farrell), Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) and Rick Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) in Thirteen Lives

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Ron Howard's 'Thirteen Lives'

A new film dramatizes the harrowing attempts to save a group of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand in 2018

Despite the Russian invasion, traditional Ukrainian folk singers performed as part of the celebrations for Kyiv Day  on May 28, 2022.

Can Cultural Treasures in Occupied Ukraine Be Saved?

The podcast 'Sidedoor' goes behind-the-scenes with the Smithsonian Culture Rescue Initiative and its heroic efforts to safeguard the nation’s heritage

A meeting of the Soviet Republics’ Esperanto Union, held in Moscow in 1931

Why Hitler and Stalin Hated Esperanto, the 135-Year-Old Language of Peace

Jewish doctor L.L. Zamenhof created Esperanto as a way for diverse groups to easily communicate

In 1964, when a journalist asked Howard crew coach Stuart Law about the team’s last-place finishes, he just smiled and said, “We’re getting better all the time.”

Untold Stories of American History

The Barrier-Breaking Rowers of America's First All-Black Crew Team

At the height of the civil rights movement, Howard University's oarsmen held their own against rivals from established, largely white programs

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

By March 1862, Judith Henry's Virginia home had been reduced to rubble.

Untold Stories of American History

The Civil War's First Civilian Casualty Was an Elderly Widow From Virginia

Union gunfire killed 85-year-old Judith Carter Henry on July 21, 1861—the day of the First Battle of Bull Run

Drawing of a woman being dragged to a ducking stool at a river in Ipswich, Suffolk, around 1600

When Authorities Dunked Outspoken Women in Water

In early modern England, women accused of being "common scolds" were immersed in rivers and lakes while strapped to contraptions known as ducking stools

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's flag hangs on the door of a hijacked TWA Boeing 707 at Dawson's Field in Libya in September 1970.

A Brief History of Airplane Hijackings, From the Cold War to D.B. Cooper

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, hijackings occurred, on average, once every five days globally

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Untold Stories of American History

Untold Stories of American History

Explore the lives of little-known changemakers who left their mark on the country

The author and a friend paddled the 200-year-old Forth and Clyde Canal into the Union Canal. The two canals form a historic, 54-mile route that bisects Scotland.

Good News

How Scotland Is Reinventing Its Centuries-Old Canals for Paddlers

In the past 20 years, the country has transformed its decrepit coal-transport infrastructure into a thriving recreational wonderland

After the first group of students arrived at Bunce Court came hundreds more, traumatized by the ever-escalating catastrophe in Europe.

The Schoolteacher Who Saved Her Students From the Nazis

A new book explores the life of Anna Essinger, who led an entire school's daring escape from Germany in 1933

Donald Duck title card art, circa 1942

How Disney Propaganda Shaped Life on the Home Front During WWII

A traveling exhibition traces how the animation studio mobilized to support the Allied war effort

The trunk, ears and tail of this baby woolly mammoth, named Nun cho ga, are almost perfectly preserved.

Cool Finds

Well-Preserved, 30,000-Year-Old Baby Woolly Mammoth Emerges From Yukon Permafrost

The mummified creature is helping to heal the rift between the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in people and the miners and scientists who came to their lands

After an attack by Russian forces in late March, smoke rises from an oil depot not far from Rynok Square in Lviv in western Ukraine

The Race to Save Ukraine’s Sacred Art

The Bohorodchany Iconostasis has withstood religious persecution, revolutions and world wars. Can it survive Russia’s brutal assault?

Photo of the day

A seafood market at Ha Long Wharf, Vietnam. Fish Market