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James Baldwin, Istanbul, Sedat Pakay, gelatin silver and chromogenic prints, c. 1965

Explore James Baldwin Alongside His Friends, His Contemporaries and the Queer Artists Inspired by His Writing

A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery honors the iconic writer while also celebrating the communities that influenced him

One of Cassini's last looks at Saturn and its main rings from a distance, produced by combining images taken in October 2016

Here’s What We’ve Learned About Saturn Since Cassini Entered Its Orbit 20 Years Ago

The Cassini-Huygens mission increased our understanding of the planet’s rings and moons

“Titian made art into his late 80s and I’m now past that. I always wanted to paint like an old master, or rather an old mistress,” says the photorealist painter and sculptor Audrey Flack. “A radical contemporary old mistress.”

The Remarkable Legacy of Artist and Feminist Audrey Flack, Dead at 93

Even in the final years of her life, the renowned photorealist created searing works of art that further established her among the giants of her field

Red Bear’s Winter Count, Martin E. Red Bear, canvas and acrylic paint, 2004

From Powwows to Smartphones, See the Past and Present of Indigenous Plains Life in Narrative Art

The National Museum of the American Indian showcases centuries-old narrative art traditions that a new generation of artists is embracing

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Tired of Diplomacy as Usual, This Congressman Flew Solo to Promote World Peace

Representative Peter F. Mack’s soaring diplomatic ambitions made aviation history as he traveled through Europe, South Asia, Japan and then across the vast Pacific Ocean

Could different backyard birds, such as a robin and a bluebird, produce viable offspring? 

Could a Robin and a Bluebird Have Babies? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

A circa 1846 portrait of Dolley Madison by John Plumbe Jr.

The Smithsonian Acquires the Earliest Known Photograph of an American First Lady

The National Portrait Gallery purchased an 1846 daguerreotype of Dolley Madison for $456,000

A 1914 photo of the Star-Spangled Banner undergoing conservation in the Smithsonian Castle

The Real Story Behind the Star-Spangled Banner, the Flag That Inspired the National Anthem

How the flag that flew proudly over Fort McHenry in September 1814 made its way to the Smithsonian

Tiana's Bayou Adventure is now open to the public.

What the Change of a Disney Park Ride Reflects About How America Sees Itself

Splash Mountain, originally based on the film ‘Song of the South,’ has become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Arsenic tests for the Lydia Sherman trial of 1872

What a 100-Year-Old Lie Detector and 150-Year-Old Arsenic Tests Tell Us About Forensic Science Today

An exhibition at the National Museum of American History examines how humans influence and judge investigation techniques

A member of the Indigenous Bolivian women's skateboard collective Imilla Skate in La Paz on June 16, 2022.

How Indigenous Communities Preserve and Practice Heritage at the 2024 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The annual festival returns to the National Mall to celebrate Indigenous traditions that span continents and generations

Look closely at Libba Cotten’s 1950 Martin guitar, part of the Sounding American Music exhibition at the National Museum of American History, and you may be able to see the unique grooves formed by her fingers on the body of the instrument as she played it upside down.

How This Self-Taught Guitarist Became a Music Legend

For decades, Libba Cotten was one of the most distinctive folk musicians in America

A new documentary about the creation of Black Barbie is now streaming on Netflix.

How the First Black Barbie Was Born

A new documentary tells the story of Black Barbie, and why she has meant so much to so many

An artist's portrayal of Lokiceratops rangiformis, which lived in the swamps of western North America about 78 million years ago.

Dinosaur With Giant, Loki-Like Horns Has the 'Craziest, Coolest' Headgear—and Could Be a New Species

The discovery sheds light on the evolution of a surprisingly diverse group of horned dinosaurs in the western United States

The badges identify the wearer's occupation, such as servant or porter. 

These Badges Shed New Light on the Enslaved Workers Who Built Charleston

The Smithsonian has acquired a collection of 146 slave badges from between 1800 and 1865

Elle Decor magazine cover, Rachelle A. Baker, digital illustration, 2021

How Do You Rest in a Culture of Overwork?

A showcase of Black artists displays the restorative power of relaxation, and defines what it means to reclaim time

“What made Willie so appealing," says author James S. Hirsch "was how he played the game: the grace and the tenacity and the sheer entertainment value that he brought to playing the game, the style with which he played.”

Why Baseball Legend Willie Mays, Dead at 93, Will Never Be Forgotten

Even decades after he redefined the game, the 24-time All-Star continued to be revered by fans and historians alike for his incredible athleticism, spellbinding defense, powerful bat and admirable sportsmanship

A lesson plan from the National Museum of the American Indian seeks to include missing narratives about the California Gold Rush.

There’s a Better Way to Teach the California Gold Rush

A new lesson plan centers Native American perspectives on the violence of Western expansion

Abraham Lincoln, William Judkins Thomson, half-plate ambrotype, 1858

See the Photographs That Introduced Americans to Their Presidents

The National Portrait Gallery traces early images of American leaders, from John Quincy Adams to Abraham Lincoln

“When I was making it, people laughed at me a good deal,” Charles F. Ritchel later said. “But so they did at Noah when he built the ark.”

Twenty-Five Years Before the Wright Brothers Took to the Skies, This Flying Machine Captivated America

First exhibited in 1878, Charles F. Ritchel's dirigible was about as wacky, dangerous and impractical as any airship ever launched