Innovators

“Dale Chihuly is one of the most important artists of the 21st century,” says Stephanie Stebich, the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who is among the experts interviewed in a new documentary, "Master of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly."

The Unrivaled Legacy of Dale Chihuly

The pioneering glassmaker and octogenarian is the subject of a new Smithsonian Channel documentary

The Wright Flyer is among the iconic artifacts held at the Smithsonian. When visitors come to see it, they tend to fall silent, says curator Peter Jakab. “People often recognize that they’re standing in front of something special.”

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

How the Wright Brothers Took Flight

The remarkable story of how the duo grew to become world-changing inventors and international celebrities

Among the eight exhibitions opening October 14, 2022, is "The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age," featuring the museum's iconic 1903 Wright Flyer.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

Follow the October reopening of America’s most-visited museum with exclusive coverage from Smithsonian magazine

Six years after Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the first airplane in 1903, the Army purchased the Wright Military Flyer for $30,000.

After the Wright Brothers Took Flight, They Built the World's First Military Airplane

The 1909 Military Flyer is the centerpiece of the "Early Flight" exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum

The data, says the exhibition director Rachel Goslins, offers "a potential roadmap for anyone seeking to be inspired, as well as to inspire hope and action." (Above: the two-story interactive me + you, by the New York artist and architect Suchi Reddy, incorporated the latest in artificial intellegence analysis.)

What It Will Take to Inspire Hope for a Better Tomorrow

Visitor data from the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition provides a road map for how to navigate the world ahead

At the world's largest arms fair held every two years in London, a group of artists in 2016 organized the "Art the Arms Fair," to voice opposition to the war industry and the international arms trade (above: Pattern Tank by Tristan Oliver, 2019).

Designers Build a Provocative Road Map for World Peace

Cooper Hewitt’s new show taps into the collective consciousness of activists, app developers, artists and architects to envision a way forward

In the upcoming exhibition, "Nation of Speed," the Sharp DR 90 Nemesis (above: museum workers install the aircraft in the new gallery) will go on view when the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum reopens this fall. 

How the Nemesis Air Racers Redefined Speed

For Jon and Patricia Sharp, crafting and flying the sleek airplanes was as much about sport as it was about ingenuity

The National Museum of American History and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced the joint acquisition of the historic kit envisioned by activist Martha Goddard.

Invented by a Woman Activist, an Early 1970s Rape Kit Arrives at the Smithsonian

Martha Goddard didn’t receive much recognition—instead she got the job done

Materials and manufacturing details of the specially made suit of America's first space traveler were extensively analyzed before being prepared for display on a customized mannequin.

The Second Man in Space Had a Wee Wish—That He'd Used the Bathroom Before Blasting Off

Alan B. Shepard's historic Mercury spacesuit undergoes hours of conservation work for its debut when the National Air and Space Museum opens this fall

This fall, visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., can see the glider and other treasures, when the “Early Flight” exhibition opens in the museum's newly transformed west wing.

This Quirky Contraption Lifted 19th-Century Pilots Into the Air for a Short, Exhilarating Glide

The rare Lilienthal glider, one of only a few originals known to exist, is newly conserved and ready for its public debut

When medical equipment was scarce in spring of 2020, an engineering firm in Northern Italy posted 3-D printing files online that allowed hospitals to produce venturi valves that could be retrofitted to snorkel masks for use in assisted ventilation.

Innovation for Good

How Good Design Promotes Good Health

Cooper Hewitt dives into the surprisingly creative ways doctors, nurses, engineers, designers, artists and, even your neighbors, responded to the pandemic

In the 2010 Winter Olympics Games in Vancouver, the USA's Hannah Teter (above: in action during the women's snowboard halfpipe competition) took home silver. Her boots are now in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Beijing Winter Olympics

Meet the Trailblazers in Women’s Olympic Snowboarding

The careers of Shannon Dunn-Downing, Kelly Clark, Amy Purdy and Hannah Teter are recognized in the Smithsonian collections; learn their stories

Ben Franklin by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, ca 1785

Ben Franklin Lives in Your Smartphone

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

Elon Musk, after securing a $2.9 billion NASA contract for SpaceX, recently hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

The Return of America's Celebrity Inventor

In a new book, Smithsonian historian Eric S. Hintz traces the rise and fall, and rise again, of the maverick inventor

"As soon as this idea of aerial application for farming began to take shape, nearly everyone agreed this was the way to go,” says Dorothy Cochrane, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, where one of only two known to exist, is on view.

The Little 'Puffer' That Could, and Did, Change an Industry

The Huff-Daland Duster ushered in the era of agriculture aviation

The much-lauded exposition-style celebration invites “all dreamers, makers, and changers of tomorrow to imagine a more exciting, equitable, and sustainable future.”

Futures

At New 'Futures' Show, Big Dreamers and Changemakers Activate a Better Way Forward

Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary exposition opens with big-name speakers, family fun and a 21st-century peek into the world ahead

Laurie Anderson’s singular artistic path has included books and movies, and an influential performance style whose loops, tapes and style has informed generations. 

The Multiple Arts and Artistries of the Inimitable Laurie Anderson

A Hirshhorn retrospective opens with ten new works from the pioneering artist, composer, poet and musician

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, won a third award in the behavioral and social sciences category of the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for her prototype of a video game feature to assess anxiety. In addition to her STEM research, Alqahtani is a poet and artist.

Innovation for Good

This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health

Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of 'Minecraft'

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

An early example of stylish appeal: the 1940 Chevrolet 
half-ton.

The Rugged History of the Pickup Truck

At first, it was all about hauling things we needed. Then the vehicle itself became the thing we wanted

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