Magazine

Tiger, oil on canvas, 1912. The artist’s vibrant animal paintings were based on careful study, including hours spent observing big cats at the Berlin Zoo. 

This Artist Turned to Painting Animals in a Turbulent Historical Moment

The German Expressionist painter Franz Marc found a subject worth celebrating in the early 20th century

The mountain range is beloved for its challenging rock climbing and unusually varied terrain, from grassland and forest to rugged alpine rises.

Climbing Malawi’s Island in the Sky

A steep, lush massif—the country's highest peak at 10,000 feet—beckons adventurers

When Abraham Lincoln campaigned in Hartford, Connecticut, in March 1860, he was met by a new uniformed group—the Wide Awakes.

The Club of Cape-Wearing Activists Who Helped Elect Lincoln—and Spark the Civil War

The untold story of the Wide Awakes, the young Americans who took up the torch for their antislavery cause and stirred the nation

Karlya Shelton, front and center, with the swans, performing George Balanchine's choreography for a Tchaikovsky serenade in 1979.

In the Face of Prejudice, the ‘Black Swans’ Took the Ballet World by Storm

A new book shows how pioneering ballerinas captivated audiences and broke racial barriers

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See the Winners of the 21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

This year’s top photographs capture the quiet and chaotic from the American South to East Asia

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How Kids Cornered the Market on Lemonade

The tangy tale of how America’s children learned to squeeze life for all it’s worth

Sun bears are named for a gold crescent on their chest, resembling a rising or setting sun. Each bear’s patch is unique, like a fingerprint.

To Save Sun Bears, Scientists First Have to Find Them

The world's smallest bear plays a crucial role in repairing its tropical habitat in Southeast Asia

John Thorn, perhaps the most knowledgeable historian of our national pastime, at home in Catskill, New York.

How Baseball’s Official Historian Dug Up the Game’s Unknown Origins

A lifelong passion for the national pastime led John Thorn to redefine the sport's relationship with statistics and reveal the truth behind its earliest days

Why aren't there freshwater seals or dolphins in the Great Lakes?

Why Aren't Dolphins in the Great Lakes? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

2,500 years after it was built, the Parthenon is still among the first places tourists go when they arrive in Athens.

The Thrills of Rediscovering Ancient Greece While Touring Modern Athens

The Mediterranean capital city savors its connections to antiquity—while reappraising its past

The Aria Resort & Casino, a striking pair of curved buildings on the Las Vegas Strip, bills itself as eco-friendly and water-efficient.

Las Vegas Is Going All In on Its Water Conservation Plan

As the Southwest dries, can a city notorious for excess find a way to survive with less?

In the weave room, a worker uses a classic Crompton & Knowles loom to make suitable fabric for some 18th-century furniture.

When Hollywood Needs a Historically Accurate Outfit That Looks Just Right, It Turns to Rabbit Goody

How do filmmakers get period clothing to look the part? Inside the textile workshop where the past comes to life

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Readers Respond to the January/February 2024 Issue

Your feedback on John Coltrane, turtle conservation and George Washington's tent

Could we use volcanic energy as a power source?

Could Volcanoes Power Our Planet? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

The city’s classic sign, 25 feet tall, was designed by commercial artist Betty Willis in 1959.

How the Dazzling Las Vegas Strip Rose Up From the Desert

The story behind the glitzy stretch of highway that became the destination for America’s most sublime—and most sordid—aspirations

Cleopatra Adorning the Tomb of Mark Anthony, c. 1765, was one of Angelica Kauffman’s most popular works, reproduced not only in print but also on porcelain and furniture.

Pioneering Artist Angelica Kauffman Put Women at Center Stage

The history paintings of this great Neoclassical artist prove the wonderful benefits that inclusion can bring

Delias sambawana, a butterfly that hails from Indonesia, at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Where Did Butterflies Come From? This Scientist Is On the Case

Akito Kawahara has spent his life devoted to lepidoptera. Now he’s correcting the record on where they first evolved

Pioneering designer Clara Driscoll conceived this indelible lamp around the turn of the 20th century—with help from her fellow "Tiffany girls."

These Women Were the Real Geniuses Behind the Iconic Tiffany Lamps

A chic light fixture reveals how female designers remade the Tiffany brand—and went largely uncredited for nearly a century

A diver prepares to enter the water of Malakal Harbor in Palau, where the plane flown by U.S. Navy pilot Jay Ross Manown Jr. was shot down in September 1944.

Recovering the Lost Aviators of World War II

Inside the search for a plane shot down over the Pacific—and the new effort to bring its fallen heroes home

Artist and Shaman Between Two Worlds, Norval Morrisseau, 1980, shows the artist’s signature style: bold colors and a surreal sense of his subjects’ inner lives.

Inside the Biggest Art Fraud in History

A decades-long forgery scheme ensnared Canada’s most famous Indigenous artist, a rock musician turned sleuth and several top museums. Here's how investigators unraveled the incredible scam

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