From the Collections

In her new historic novel, Brooks reimagines the life of the itinerant artist Thomas J. Scott, who rendered the distinguished race horse in the oil painting, Portrait of Lexington, ca. 1857, a work that Smithsonian curator Eleanor Harvey describes as "visually riveting."

The Lost Story of Lexington, the Record-Breaking Thoroughbred, Races Back to Life

For her latest novel “Horse,” the Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks found inspiration in the Smithsonian collections

Tom Cruise revives his Top Gun role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in the new film arriving in theaters May 27.

'Top Gun' Is Back. But Is the Elite Navy Fighter Pilot School Really Like the Movies?

The Smithsonian’s Chris Browne flew the much-feared F-14, and as a former TOPGUN student, knows well the power of a Navy-trained fighter pilot

In August 1994, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro announced a reprieve in the enforcement of laws governing emigration (above: a homemade raft sets off from the coast near Havana on August 22, 1994) and as a result nearly 35,000 left the island.  

A Makeshift Raft Speaks to the Risks Cubans Took to Escape Their Homeland

In the mid-1990s, tens of thousands left in boats or handcrafted floats facing treacherous waters in search of a better life

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

Cookbook author Grace Young set out to raise awareness of the struggle that Chinatown's business owners were facing, recording her “Coronavirus Stories”—short on-the-spot video interviews with members of the community.

Grace Young, Who Documented the Toll of Anti-Asian Hate on NYC's Chinatown, Receives Julia Child Award

A $50,000 grant is awarded to the culinary historian for her advocacy of Chinese-American culture and cuisine

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

The natural colors of a stoneware tea bowl from Japan and dating to 1510-1530 "speak of the spaces where Zen Buddhists practiced," says the Reverend Inryū Bobbi Poncé-Barger, a priest for the All Beings Zen Sangha in Washington, D.C.

How to Find Wholeness in the Cracks of a 16th-Century Tea Bowl

A new exhibition, “Mind Over Matter,” invites viewers to pause and connect with the teachings of Zen Buddhism

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

The zoo's flamingos live in a 9,750-square-foot outdoor yard with a heated pool and barn.

Wild Fox Kills 25 Flamingos and a Duck at the National Zoo

The incident is the first time a predator has broken into the exhibit in its 50 year history

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture acquired three works by Elizabeth Catlett, representing the artist's impassioned devotion to the dignity, struggle and uplift. 

A Trio of Elizabeth Catlett Sculptures Convey the Power of Service to Humanity

Regarded as “guardians of the Black narrative,” the artworks greet visitors to NMAAHC’s Heritage Hall

At the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the story of the Watergate whistleblower Martha Mitchell (detail, oil on canvas, Jan De Ruth, 1970) from Pine Bluff, Arkansas—who pundits dubbed the "Mouth of the South"—is revisited in a new exhibition, "Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue."

Martha Mitchell Was the Brash 'Mouth of the South' That Roared

A portrait reveals the dignity behind the maligned woman who stepped up to tell the truth

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

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has organized the exhibition, “Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt: Designing a Modern Museum,” focusing on the lives of its founders.

The Trailblazing Sisters Who Founded the Nation's First Woman-Led Museum

A new exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, tells the story of founders Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt

An original illustration from a children’s book, I Dissent, No I Dissent, depicts Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia—opposites in ideology, politics and jurisprudence—facing off against each other. 

New Artifacts Document the Soaring Popularity of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Smithsonian bestows its Great Americans Award on the former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

The Godfather was named Best Motion Picture–Drama in the 1973 Golden Globe Awards and Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

Studio Executives Did Not Want Marlon Brando for the Title Role in 'The Godfather'

On the film's 50th anniversary, a Smithsonian historian reflects on the cultural phenomenon of the blockbuster hit

The Smithsonian has 39 of the Benin pieces in its collections, above: Commemorative head of a king, Edo artist, 18th century.

The Smithsonian's Plan to Return the Benin Bronzes Comes After Years of Relationship Building

The ground-breaking move heralds a new path for interactions between African and Western institutions

With the world on the brink of destruction, three of the earliest comic book superheroes (above: an array of 1940s covers from the Smithsonian collections) joined in the war effort, hawking bonds, boosting morale and entertaining troops.

Before the Riddler, Batman's Archenemy Was Hitler

A Smithsonian collection of vintage Golden Age comic books tells a story of WWII propaganda, patriotism and support of the war effort

Edmonia Lewis' Death of Cleopatra was a sensation at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, among both admirers and those who found Lewis' depiction of the queen's suicide too macabre.

Women Who Shaped History

When Cleopatra Died Again

The artwork by Edmonia Lewis, the first African American sculptor in the classical mode, epitomizes her immense talent

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the National Park Service and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation will mark the annual Day of Remembrance, with virtual programming from February 18 to 20, 2022, to explore the Japanese American community's struggle for recognition and redress.

Eighty Years After the U.S. Incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans, Trauma and Scars Still Remain

Families were stripped of their rights and freedoms in February 1942, when FDR signed Executive Order 9066

On July 21, 1963, Gloria Richardson was walking from a meeting when her would-be attacker ran at her with his brandished weapon leveled at her neck. She flat-palmed the blade of the bayonet, shoving it away from her body. 

Women Who Shaped History

How Gloria Richardson's Look of Righteous Indignation Became a Symbol of No Retreat

In 1963, the civil rights leader shoved aside a guardsmen’s bayonet with disgust and defiance; photography preserved the charged moment

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