From the Collections

There are about 160,000 species of moths and butterflies worldwide, each with unique characteristics.

Smithsonian Voices

Marvel at the World's Most Magnificent Moths

With thousands of species of moths worldwide, each with unique characteristics, check out these unusual specimens in the Smithsonian collections

Babe Didrickson’s brash behavior along with her decorated athleticism (above: second from right in the 80-meter hurdle) challenged every imagined ideal for a woman athlete in the 1930s.

The Tokyo Olympics

Olympian Babe Didrikson Cleared the Same Hurdles Women Athletes Face Today

The star track and field athlete of the 1930s boisterously challenged gender expectations with her record-setting athleticism

Cher Ami, April 1918–June 1919

Smithsonian Voices

Solving a 100-Year-Old Mystery About the Brave Pigeon Cher Ami

Science determines the most famous pigeon in World War I history was not a female, but a cock bird

The Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe, meaning Swallow, held in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum was captured in 1945 by a special U.S. Army Air Force team led by Col. Harold Watson. The Americans and British, who were also developing jet aircraft, used captured Swallows to enhance their own programs.

The Day Germany's First Jet Fighter Soared Into History

Allied pilots were surprised by the aircraft's speed and armament; but it was a case of too little too late

In 1939, at age 13, Villa played for the East Los Angeles girls’ community team, the Garvey Stars. Over the next few years, she played for the semiprofessional Orange Lionettes team in Southern California and was signed to play in the AAGPBL in 1946.

The Record-Setting Latina Player Marge Villa Leveled the Playing Field

The Mexican American utility player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League receives a curtain call

Gay Dads Kissing by J. Ross Baughman

Smithsonian Voices

The Story Behind the Iconic Photo of Gay Dads Kissing

For the Pulitzer-prize winning photojournalist J. Ross Baughman, it was the moment he was positioned for and waiting to capture

Title page to Garrard Conley's workbook from the gay-conversion camp Love in Action

Smithsonian Voices

The History of 'Getting the Gay Out'

Conversion therapy made being different dangerous

Inventive and egalitarian, the Arts and Industries Building is due to open in November after being closed for nearly two decades.

Smithsonian 175

The Storied Past and Inspiring Future of the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building

It was once the Institution's most forward-looking museum. Soon it will be again

Matt Shepard in high school, taken in Lugano, Switzerland

Smithsonian Voices

The Story of Matthew Shepard's Life Is Told in Artifacts Held at the National Museum of American History

Being LGBTQ can dangerous and a personal burden, but theses objects show that it can also be joyful and fabulous

Lacey Baker's personalized skateboards

Smithsonian Voices

How LGBTQ Skateboarders Have Carved Out a Place at the Park

The Smithsonian has collected from members of the diverse and fiercely dedicated LGBTQ skate community

Transgender flag designed by Monica Helms (right), and friends. The flag's stripes represent the traditional pink and blue associated with girls and boys and white for intersex, transitioning, or of undefined gender. Helms served in the United States Navy and became an activist for transgender rights in the late 1990s in Arizona where she grew up. She designed the flag in 1999.

Smithsonian Voices

Can an Object Be Gay?

Curator Katherine Ott reflects on collecting and interpreting LBGTQ material culture

James Eike’s field book entry for April 6, 1971; his 31st Anniversary.

Smithsonian Voices

A Bird-Watcher's Field Books Became a Journal of Life's Passions and Travails

Bird lover and citizen scientist James W. Eike documented birds near his home in northern Virginia along with the joys of his family life

One of the Smithsonian Institution's most visited artifacts is the 209-year-old Star-Spangled Banner, the inspiration for the National Anthem.

A New Summer Tradition, a Three-Week 'Civic Season,' Asks Americans to Reflect on the Past and Future

Museums are inviting Americans to embrace the national story from its sins to its successes as a stepping stone towards a better future

This jellyfish, Scolionema suvaense, was raised in the National Museum of Natural History’s Invertebrate Zoology “AquaRoom.” Here, the species is sinking through food with its tentacles spread wide.

Smithsonian Voices

Live Jellyfish Make a Splash in Marine Education

Smithsonian's AquaRoom helps scientists learn more about these animals’ lives and educate future generations about their marine neighbors

Picket signs carried by protestors at the White House and Independence Hall in Philadelphia,1960s

Smithsonian Voices

The Most Radical Thing About Stonewall Wasn't the Uprising

Much of the staying power of Stonewall’s reputation rests upon the Pride marches that began on the first anniversary a year later

Miscellaneous objects from the museum’s collection that feature rainbows, including “That’s So Gay!” trivia game, coasters, and flags promoting marriage equality and immigration equality

Smithsonian Voices

Where Did the Rainbow Flag Come From, Anyway?

The mid-20th century was a time of vibrant social change and activism, with rainbows providing potent political symbolism for unity and diversity

Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.557, Wall-Mounted Tied Wire, Closed Center Twelve-Petaled Form Based on Nature), bronze wire, 38 x 38 x 12 in.

Smithsonian Voices

Documenting the Turning Point in the Fascinating Career of Sculptor Ruth Asawa

Smithsonian's Liza Kirwin explores an early and important exhibition held at LA's Ankrum Gallery in 1962

“The shape of the Spitfire's wing and all of the compound curves on the airplane made it beautiful,” says the Smithsonian's Alex Spencer, curator of British and European military aircraft at the National Air and Space Museum.

Remembering the Supermarine Spitfire, Iconic Fighter Plane of World War II

'Spit' pilots flew their first combat missions over Dunkirk during the Battle of France

Southern cassowary brothers Irwin (left) and Dundee (right).

Smithsonian Voices

Meet Cassowary Brothers Irwin and Dundee, Descendants of Dinosaurs

This giant bird is considered to be the dinosaurs’ closest living relative

Sixty-five years ago Althea Gibson (above: in 1959) broke the color line at the French Open.

Women Who Shaped History

Sixty-Five Years Ago, Althea Gibson Broke the Color Line at the French Open

She was the first Black athlete—man or woman—to win any major national tennis championship

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