Music & Film

“Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,” jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong’s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

Scream is a surprisingly scathing critique of the way real-life trauma is laundered into news, then entertainment for the masses.

How 'Scream' Explored the Exploitative Nature of the Nightly News

Twenty-five years ago, the first installment of the horror franchise hit theaters just as a national debate about on-screen violence reached a fever pitch

The nearly century-old Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is run by the Boy Scouts of America Northern New Jersey Council.

The 1980 Slasher Movie 'Friday the 13th' Was Filmed at This Boy Scout Camp in New Jersey

In the off-season, Camp-No-Be-Bo-Sco alumni bring in props and lead tours for freaked-out fans

Single penguins will snag mates, and couples, both new and established, will start breeding around January or February.

The South African Town Where Penguins Rule

A colony of 1,000 breeding pairs of African penguins nests on the beaches and in the gardens of Simon's Town

Few epitomized 1970s cool like Richard Roundtree in Shaft.

'Shaft,' 'Super Fly' and the Birth of Blaxploitation

In this excerpt from ‘Music Is History,’ the drummer for the Roots and all-around music ambassador looks at a year when everything changed

The Fleming Villa at GoldenEye.

Follow Ian Fleming's Footsteps Through Jamaica

Discover the author’s favorite places—as the 25th James Bond movie hits theaters

Does the museum really live up to its promise to be a definitive home to the art and science of movies?

Inside the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The L.A. institution finally opens, inviting visitors to learn about film history—even the not so glittery bits—and to contemplate the industry's future

With headlines like "This James Bond Catches Birds Instead Of Villains," newspapers nationwide had a field day when ornithologist James Bond found a rare curlew in 1965—a species considered extinct for more than a decade.

Who Was the Real James Bond?

Author Ian Fleming named his 007 after an influential ornithologist

Throughout the project, Beethoven’s genius loomed.

How Artificial Intelligence Completed Beethoven's Unfinished Tenth Symphony

On October 9, the work will be performed in Bonn, Germany, and a recording will be released

Breakup albums take listeners through the stages of a breakup much like the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The Heart-Wrenching History of the Breakup Album

From Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' to Olivia Rodrigo's 'Sour,' love and loss has an ever evolving soundtrack

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 worn hands and nubby fingernails of Bentonia, Mississippi, bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes reflect his years of experience. Holmes is one of the last bluesmen who play a style known as Bentonia blues.

At an Old Juke Joint in Mississippi, the Blues Are Alive

Jimmy Holmes is the last in a line of music legends as he seeks to keep a singular American art form thriving

Fixed up to look like "Dusty," the Disney animated aircraft that had high-flying aspirations, the Air Tractor AT-301/400A became a hit at air-shows following the success of the first film and its 2014 sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue.

Disney's Dusty Crophopper—the Little Airplane that Could—Comes to the Smithsonian

Iconic Air Tractor aircraft on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center this Saturday

Production still from "Reservation Dogs."

'Reservation Dogs' Marks a Breakthrough for Indigenous Representation Onscreen

"Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo developed a comedy about Native American teens in Oklahoma that stars four young Native actors

Visionary executive William Barstow Strong led the second transcontinental line, the Santa Fe, in the 1880s, paving the way for thousands of miles of track.

How the Santa Fe Railroad Changed America Forever

The golden spike made the newspapers. But another railroad made an even bigger difference to the nation

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, sizing up the idol, in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Enduring Myths of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Forty years later, archaeologists look back at what the first Indiana Jones movie got wrong about their profession

Xerox technology completely streamlined the animation process.

How 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' Saved Disney

Sixty years ago, the company modernized animation when it used Xerox technology on the classic film

"What’s Going On" was a turning point for Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' Is as Relevant Today as It Was in 1971

Fifty years ago, the artist released Motown's best-selling album ever and changed the course of his musical career

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

“Despite taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars introduced generations of fans here on Earth to outer space as a setting for adventure and exploration,” says the museum's Margaret Weitekamp.

Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Lands at the National Air and Space Museum

Udvar-Hazy visitors can watch conservators give the film prop a careful exam before it goes on view in 2022

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