Magazine

Readers Respond to the September 2021 Issue

Your feedback on the 9/11 cover story, the history of the pickup truck and more

The Surprising Artistic Life of Ancient Sparta

Poets and lyricists populated the Greek civilization

A monument in Thermopylae to King Leonidas.

Sparta Was Much More Than an Army of Super Warriors

Fierce? Yes. Tough? You bet. But the true history of the Greek civilization had a lot more nuance

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How Science Conquered Diphtheria, the Plague Among Children

It was highly contagious, lethal and mysterious. Then medical experts developed treatments and vaccines, and the affliction disappeared—but not entirely

The Paul Family Quilt (1830-35), on display in "Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories," was made for a four-poster bed.

American History as Seen Through Quilts

For historians, the textiles are much more than just decorative covers for a bed

Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, in 1978, stands before a portrait of a predecessor—Joseph Henry, the first Secretary.

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Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What It Takes to Lead the Smithsonian

A successful Secretary must acknowledge the Institution’s failures as well as successes—and celebrate its capacity for change

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Ode to an Orca

A photographer takes the plunge into forbidding waters off Norway for an extraordinary encounter with orcas

The “Assasin’s Creed” series, famous for using real historical events as a backdrop to the games, have gone through scenarios such as the Crusades, the American Revolution and the Golden Age of Piracy.

When Playing Video Games Becomes a History Lesson

On campuses across the country, professors are putting historically based games into the classroom

The National Weather Service Began as a Crowdsourcing Experiment

Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry used an army of volunteers in what would eventually become the nation's weather forecasting operation

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The Sake Master Who Bucks Ancient Tradition—in America

The ancient Japanese art of brewing a fragrant alcoholic drink from rice is being reinterpreted by Atsuo Sakurai in an unlikely setting

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for captive apes.

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How Do Gorillas Get Heart Disease? And More Questions From Our Readers

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The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

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The Wonder of Avi Loeb

The physicist thinks we might have glimpsed evidence of an alien civilization. Despite controversy, he’s determined to find more

Walker's map is now in the Smithsonian's archives. In an 1873 report, he described relics he'd found, including "immense quantities of broken pottery."

This Map Details Florida's Disappearing Native American Landscape

A 19th-century reporter’s invaluable guide offers a look at the earliest residents of the area surrounding the Tampa Bay

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Readers Respond to the July/August 2021 Issue

Your feedback on the Everglades, doo-wop, bird naming and more

The bold, brilliant Mary Wroth with a string instrument called a theorbo, circa 1620.

The Secret Codes of Lady Wroth, the First Female English Novelist

The Renaissance noblewoman is little known today, but in her time she was a notorious celebrity

Women who responded to the call of duty on 9/11, shown at the Ground Zero Memorial in Lower Manhattan. Back row: EMT Bonnie Giebfried, NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster, NYPD Chief of Interagency Operations Theresa Tobin, Firefighter Regina Wilson. Front row (all now retired): FDNY Captain Brenda Berkman, Detective Sergeant Sue Keane, Assistant Port Authority Police Chief Norma Hardy.

Twenty Years Later, First Responders and Families Remember the People They Lost on 9/11

These portraits of resilience recall the day when loved ones, friends and colleagues perished in the terrorist attacks

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

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'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

In the Southwest, Morris documented what she described as a “treasure trove”—a “topography rich in large dry caves, neatly adapted to ancient dwellings and graveyards.”

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Archaeologist Ann Axtell Morris Finally Gets the Cinematic Treatment

Nearly a century after Morris excavated ancestral Native lands, filmmakers return with an inclusive approach that brings Navajo Nation onto the big screen

The Marchioness (2016) depicts a member of the fictional UmuEze Amara family, "one of the oldest noble clans in Nigeria."

Imagining a Different History for Africa Through Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola conjures a world that might have been

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