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“Music is a reflection of people's lives. It comes out of their experience,” says the folk musician Alice Gerrard, who will perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Why Women's Music Embraces the Voices of Past Generations

New show examining the deep connections women make with musical tradition kicks off with a concert featuring folk star Alice Gerrard

Austin Butler as Elvis in the new biopic

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis'

The new film dramatizes the life and legend of Elvis Presley from the perspective of his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker

World Cup champion Samantha Mewis (above: in the May 26, 2019 International Friendly match against Mexico) and her colleagues sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay. In 2022, U.S. Soccer agreed to pay the women some $24 million in back pay.

Enacted 50 Years Ago, Title IX Is More Relevant Than Ever

New exhibit highlights female athletes who gained opportunities and the controversies that still surround the statute

The "Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” concert will combine musicians from several backgrounds and cultures, including Salar Nader on the tabla and Homayoun Sakhi, a master on the Afghan stringed instrument the rubab. 

After Long Absence, the Folklife Festival Returns to the National Mall

The much-loved summer event, featuring the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programs, opens with a concert hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

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

"This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World," featuring Alicia Eggert's stunning 2019-2020 neon sculpture, is on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Craft World Is Undergoing a Democratization

In a new show at the Renwick Gallery, maker’s art is having a renaissance moment, with works that reveal powerful persistence and resilience

On May 20, the artist KAWS, also known as Brian Donnelly (above at Rockefeller Center in August 2021), received from the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden an award for "his contributions to art and popular culture."

Is a KAWS Celeb Sighting Cause for Speculation?

The ex-street artist turned art-world sensation receives a warm reception and an award from the Hirshhorn

Hassinger's video (above: Birthright by Maren Hassinger, 2005) is a powerful history of seven orphaned children, a story of stolen labor and stolen lives, a family chronicle “that came out of being enslaved, the aftermath of slavery,” says the artist.

Join in a Meditation on the Twists of Memories Handed Down From One Generation to Another

A new commission, based on the acclaimed video 'Birthright' by artist Maren Hassenger, explores the legacy of slavery in family history

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

Left: Photo of the dress from a Bonhams auction listing. Right: Father Gilbert Hartke with the gifted garment

There’s No Place Like Home—but What’s the Right Place for Dorothy's Dress From 'The Wizard of Oz'?

Donated to the head of Catholic University’s drama department in 1973, the garment's ownership is now at the center of a legal dispute

This commemorative sculpture by an Edo artist is one of 29 objects the Smithsonian is proposing to repatriate to Nigeria. 

Why the Smithsonian Adopted a New Policy on Ethical Collecting

For more than a century, museum artifacts were acquired in ways we no longer find acceptable. How can we repair the damage?

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

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Before the critical 1965 Supreme Court ruling Griswold v. Connecticut, state and federal morality laws prohibited access to contraceptives, even to married couples (above: a picketer protests the opening of a new Planned Parenthood Center in New Haven, Connecticut).

The Revolutionary 1965 Supreme Court Decision That Declared Sex a Private Affair

A Smithsonian curator of medicine and science looks back to the days when police could arrest couples for using contraception

A new book, coedited by Smithsonian entomologist Ted Schultz, explores and the fascinating ways in which human and nonhuman farmers compare, and asks what we might learn from other agricultural species.

Could Ants, Termites and Fishes Make Humans Better Farmers?

Scientists are now revealing the agricultural expertise that other species have cultivated for tens of millions of years

The first-ever image of a black hole in the Milky Way

New Research

Here’s What the Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way Looks Like

A team of scientists from around the world collaborated to get a visual peek of the supermassive object

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

Photo of the day

Fishermen are rowing boat between the algal bloom on the Damodar river.  Algal blooms prevent light from penetrating the surface and prevent oxygen absorption by the organisms beneath, impacting human health and habitats in the area. Green Corridor