Magazine

Adorned in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, Victoria Franco takes part in a protest near Los Angeles City Hall on March 19, weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

How Ukrainian and Russian Immigrants View the War From Afar

To residents of Southern California with ties to the Eastern European nations, the conflict feels close to home

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Women Who Shaped History

Escape From the Gilded Cage

Even if her husband was a murderer, a woman in a bad marriage once had few options. Unless she fled to South Dakota

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Readers Respond to the April/May 2022 Issue

Your thoughts on Italian villages, the legend of the music tree and the politics of wind power

This commemorative sculpture by an Edo artist is one of 29 objects the Smithsonian is proposing to repatriate to Nigeria. 

Why the Smithsonian Adopted a New Policy on Ethical Collecting

For more than a century, museum artifacts were acquired in ways we no longer find acceptable. How can we repair the damage?

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of wood.” An Italian tradition, epitomized by the fictional Geppetto, continues at Bartolucci’s shop in Florence.

The Real Story of Pinocchio Tells No Lies

Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood

A taxidermied Cumulina holds a block of toy cheese.

The Mouse That Squeaked Its Way Into Scientific History

Forget Dolly the Sheep. The birth of a mouse named Cumulina 25 years ago launched a genetic revolution

In closing remarks at the 1969 U.N. General Assembly in New York, Black recalled an Apollo 12 astronaut who, while in orbit, remarked on the Earth’s beauty. “Some of us down here are not so sure,” she said.

Women Who Shaped History

Shirley Temple Black's Remarkable Second Act as a Diplomat

An unpublished memoir reveals how the world’s most famous child actress became a star of the environmental movement

The massive sculpture by Sabin Howard consists of five tableaux about a U.S. soldier. This is “Battle Scene.”

World War I: 100 Years Later

An Exclusive Preview of the New World War I Memorial

One sculptor and his team of artists take on the epic project of conveying the century-old conflict through a massive bronze installation

A female saltmarsh sparrow in a New Hampshire wetland is held by University of New Hampshire graduatet student Talia Kuras. The circular device reads the transponder-containing indentification tag on the bird's leg. 

Planet Positive

Saving the Imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow

Conservationists are racing to rescue a delightful coastal animal from rising seas

Early efforts to sow hibiscus on the mainland had mixed success. Today it grows in many states; in the South, hibiscus used in punch is known as “Florida Cranberry.”

Race in America

A Brief History of Red Drink

The obscure roots of a centuries-old beverage that’s now a Juneteenth fixture

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

The Great Hall boasts works by nearly 50 American painters and sculptors.

What Makes the Library of Congress a Monument to Democracy

The world’s largest book repository has expanded far beyond its original scope to include sound recordings and digitized collections

Olive Trees With Yellow Sky and Sun, oil on canvas, 1889. Van Gogh painted several of his most famous works while at the asylum, including his Iris series and The Starry Night.

When van Gogh Spoke for the Trees

A new exhibition of lesser known works during a pivotal time sheds light on his budding genius

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?

To many people, Henrietta Lacks, painted by Kadir Nelson in 2017, symbolizes inequity in medicine. Lacks died from cervical cancer in 1951, but her tumor cells— used in research without her permission—would enable medical advances, including the polio vaccine.

Race in America

The Historical Roots of Racial Disparities in American Health Care

A new documentary from the Smithsonian Channel, 'The Color of Care,' produced by Oprah Winfrey, shines a light on medicine’s biases

The Painter (Self-portrait at Work), oil on canvas, 1946. Gilot painted the self-portrait while she and Picasso were staying in Antibes, on the French Riviera.

Françoise Gilot Was More Than Picasso's Muse

The artist famously inspired the Cubist, but a new book shows that her own paintings deserve renown

Left, the Chiquibul Forest in Belize, near the spot where the fabled Tree once grew. Right, a custom guitar crafted from the Tree’s distinctive mahogany.

The Legend of the Music Tree

Exotic lumber salvaged from a remote forest in Belize is the world’s most coveted tonewood

One reader wonders how birds stay balanced on tree branches while they’re asleep. 
 

Ask Smithsonian

How Do Birds Stay Upright When They Are Sleeping?

You've got questions. We've got experts

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Readers Respond to the March 2022 Issue

Your feedback on the excavations at Troy and the development of the whooping cough vaccine

Bald eagles are intensely social in spite of also being fierce predators. Some 500 live near the remote fishing port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Planet Positive

The Bald Eagle's Soaring Return Shows That the U.S. Can Change for the Better

The true meaning of a national symbol

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