From the Collections

'Women of Our Time' at the Portrait Gallery

A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases the beauty of women in the twentieth century



Two new key additions to our staff


It's all about baseball on Sunday, June 1 from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., 801 K Street, NW, at Mount Vernon Square

Fakes are an all too real part of the museum world. “There are always artists capable of making and selling things that seem old,” says anthropologist Jane MacLaren Walsh.

Why the Smithsonian Has a Fake Crystal Skull

The Natural History Museum's quartz cranium highlights the epic silliness of the new Indiana Jones movie

Thomas Alva Edison by Alfred S. Seer Engraver; Copy after: Mathew B. Brady, Color woodcut poster, c. 1878

All in a Word

I Can't Live Without That. . . Necklace?


Spirals of History

Hand-carved elephant tusks tell the story of life in the Congolese colonies of the late 1800s


A Picture Worth More than A Thousand Words


Remembering Greensboro


Breuer Chair, 1926

Marcel Breuer's Bauhaus minimalism redefined a household basic


Colbert's Portrait—Should the Smithsonian Take It or Leave It?


Chia Pet

For 26 years, marketing whiz Joe Pedott's green-pelted figures have been holiday-season hits


How Pan Am's Founder Juan Trippe Turned Americans Into Frequent Fliers

This antique globe was once owned by the fabled airline executive, who ushered in modern air travel


Earl Cunningham? Who He?


Comic Phyllis Diller's Cabinet Keeps the Jokes Coming

The stand up comic's archive holds a lifetime of proven punch lines

A late-19th-century sled fashioned from eight buffalo ribs—as simple, utilitarian and elegant as a Shaker chair—was made by members of South Dakota’s Lakota Sioux tribe.

Was a Native American Actress the Inspiration for the Enigmatic Sled in 'Citizen Kane'?

A sled in the Smithsonian collections just might provide a clue to Hollywood's most celebrated symbol

Lincoln’s original patent model was acquired by the Smithsonian in 1908. This replica was built by the Smithsonian in 1978 for long-term display to preserve the fragile original.

Abraham Lincoln Is the Only President Ever to Have a Patent

In 1849, a future president patented an amazing addition to transportation technology


April Letters

Readers respond to the February Issue

Ray Charles' Ray-Bans, his celebrity trademark, are held in the collections of the National Museum of American History.

Ray Charles' Fusion of Gospel and Blues Changed the Face of American Popular Music

A visionary virtuoso, Charles made brilliance look easy

For Christmas in 1965, astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr and Thomas P. Stafford played "Jingle Bells" aboard Gemini 6.

The Day Two Astronauts Said They Saw a U.F.O. Wearing a Red Suit

When orbiting pranksters Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford launched into "Jingle Bells," Mission Control almost lost control

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