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Members of the National Negro Opera Company pose backstage during a 1941 performance of Aida.

The Founder of This Trailblazing Opera Company Put Black Singers at Center Stage

Mary Cardwell Dawson created unprecedented opportunities for aspiring Black musicians

The National Museum of Natural History holds the majority of the human remains in the Smithsonian's collections.

The Smithsonian’s Human Remains Task Force Calls for New Repatriation Policies

The report provides recommendations regarding the return of human remains in the Institution’s collections

John Smith claimed Pocahontas saved him from execution when she was just 11 or 12 years old. Whether the story happened the way Smith tells it—or even at all—is up for debate, a 2017 Smithsonian Channel documentary explains.

The True Story of Pocahontas Is More Complicated Than You Might Think

Historian Camilla Townsend separates fact from fiction in the life of the Powhatan "princess"

A 1942 Memorial Day service at Manzanar, a Japanese American incarceration camp in California

How a 1924 Immigration Act Laid the Groundwork for Japanese American Incarceration

A Smithsonian curator and a historian discuss the links between the Johnson-Reed Act and Executive Order 9066, which rounded up 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps across the Western U.S.

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

To construct her sculptures, artist Phaan Howng used 3-D prints of plants in the Smithsonian Gardens collection, then mounted them onto a steel armature and base. They were then modified and finished with resin, resin foam, foam air dry clay, EVA foam and acrylic paint.

Fantastical Art Joins Hundreds of Blooming Orchids to Shed Light on Conservation Efforts

Smithsonian Gardens’ 28th annual orchid exhibition is underway at the Kogod Courtyard

While most of the fripperies at Tiffany & Co. were out of reach for average New Yorkers, Charles Lewis Tiffany priced his telegraph cable souvenirs at just 50 cents each—about $19 today.

To Make Tiffany & Co. a Household Name, the Luxury Brand's Founder Cashed in on the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Craze

Charles Lewis Tiffany purchased the surplus cable from the 1858 venture, turning it into souvenirs that forever linked his name to the short-lived telecommunications milestone

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

Long before it was imbued with symbolic meaning in the zodiac and beyond, the dragon was an ambiguous silhouette adorning art forms.

Why Is the Year of the Dragon Considered So Lucky?

The only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon has long been associated with prosperity and imperial power

Genealogy researchers use military records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, wills, legal and court documents, and census records to help piece together the past.

How the Smithsonian Is Helping Black Americans Trace Their Roots

Free sessions hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture offer visitors advice on researching their genealogy

This prototype of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter achieved the first successful free flight under simulated Martian conditions (on Earth) in 2016.

Prototype for Mars Helicopter Will Soon Be on Display at National Air and Space Museum

The surprisingly long-serving Ingenuity ended its historic service after breaking a rotor

Writer N. Scott Momaday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2019

N. Scott Momaday Built the Foundations of Native American Literature

Smithsonian scholars offer their reflections on the author, who died last week at age 89, and his impact on a new generation of Native writers

Callum Turner (left) as John "Bucky" Egan and Austin Butler (right) as Gale "Buck" Cleven in "Masters of the Air"

The Real History Behind 'Masters of the Air' and the 100th Bomb Group

The long-awaited follow-up to "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific" centers on an American aerial group nicknamed the "Bloody Hundredth"

The 160-year-old pelt of the woolly dog Mutton in the Smithsonian’s collection

What Happened to the Extinct Woolly Dog?

Researchers studying the 160-year-old fur of a dog named Mutton in the Smithsonian collections found that the Indigenous breed existed for at least 5,000 years before European colonizers eradicated it

For the year 2024, here are 24 things to look forward to at the Smithsonian.

Twenty-Four Smithsonian Shows to See in 2024

Election-year items, truth serum, Nigerian art and a pioneering self-driving car are on display this year

An illustration of Lucayan divers spearfishing for parrotfish, turtles and conch

How Archaeologists Are Unearthing the Secrets of the Bahamas' First Inhabitants

Spanish colonizers enslaved the Lucayans, putting an end to their lineage by 1530

James W. Barr and Claudia E. Sharperson Barr (above, left and right), the maternal grandparents of senior editor Tracy Scott Forson. Diana Anagho (center), mother of heritage travel organizer Ada Anagho Brown. Brown as a child (far right). Harriet Tubman (below, left). Lewis Douglass (bottom), son of abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass.

What Genealogical Records Taught Me About My Family

For millions of enslaved people, bondage stole more than freedom—it severed a link to the past. Now their descendants are recovering their heritage

This blue whale skull is one of the largest in any collection on earth.

How an Eye-Popping Museum Specimen Boosted the Beleaguered Blue Whale

For decades, visitors to the Smithsonian could behold the immense size of the sea mammal with their own eyes

I thought I saw more red foliage this fall. Is that related to climate change?

Does Climate Change Affect Leaves' Fall Colors? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

An artist's depiction of a person carving a pendant from bones of a giant sloth roughly 25,000 to 27,000 years ago. Research this year suggested humans and the sloths lived in Brazil at the same time, strengthening evidence that our ancestors populated the Americas earlier than thought.

Thirteen Discoveries Made About Human Evolution in 2023

Smithsonian paleoanthropologists reveal some of the year’s most fascinating findings about human origins

Photo of the day

Photo shows the stunning valley of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley View