U.S. History

Pocket watch with engraved, gold-plated case found on the body of postal clerk John Starr March. The hands point to 1:27, around when the Titanic sank on the morning of April 15, 1912.

What a Watch Tells Us About the Titanic's Final Hours

The handheld item, belonging to an American crew member, stopped minutes before the ship sank

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

The Larry J. West Collection features an array of early photography, (above: Untitled (pin, woman in hat) by unidentified artist, ca. 1865), presenting a stunning new visual record.

New Collection of Portraits Presents the Diversity of 19th-Century American Photography

Smithsonian American Art Museum announces major acquisition of the works of Black photographers James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge and Augustus Washington

An early example of stylish appeal: the 1940 Chevrolet 
half-ton.

The Rugged History of the Pickup Truck

At first, it was all about hauling things we needed. Then the vehicle itself became the thing we wanted

A recently discovered portrait believed to be of Jane Strachey, English School, c.1788

What an Englishwoman's Letters Reveal About Life in Britain During the American Revolution

A new book highlights the writings of Jane Strachey, a middle-class woman whose husband worked for the famed Howe family

The choir performs at the ruins of a mill in Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County, Georgia

Smithsonian Voices

Hear a Georgia Choral Group as They Rediscover the Art of Sacred Harp Singing

Students find lasting resonance in the words and simple notes of the 1869 hymn 'How Can I Keep from Singing?'

An interactive lunch counter at the African American History Museum lets visitors grapple with moral dilemmas of the civil rights movement.

Race in America

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on Why the Smithsonian Is Talking About Race

In a deeply divided moment, a new initiative aims to bring Americans together by reckoning with our racial past

The document, which had been stored in a folded shape for more than 200 years, is composed of parchment pages that offer new insight into the Smithsonian founder's family history.

New Analysis Reveals More Details About Smithsonian Founder's Illegitimate Family Tree

The newly recovered 1787 Hungerford Deed, detailing a contentious squabble over property and prestige, can now be viewed in a new virtual exhibition

Rebecca Lukens

Smithsonian Voices

How Rebecca Lukens Became the Nation's First Woman Industrialist

A sudden tragedy thrust this pioneer into the family business and into history, making her the first woman to run an iron mill in the United States

Just over 150 employees handcraft 12 million cigars a year from the historic J.C. Newman Cigar Company.

The Last Cigar Factory in Tampa

After a multi-million renovation, the J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Ybor City offers visitors a museum and tours of its working factory

Were it not for tuberculosis, artist and furniture maker Daniel Mack writes, “It’s unlikely that there would have been an Adirondack chair.”

How the Adirondack Chair Became the Feel-Good Recliner That Cures What Ails You

The furniture piece has gone through countless permutations, but it all started at a time when resting outdoors was thought to be a matter of life or death

The P-51 Mustang was the darling of the Army Air Forces. Aerodynamically agile and acrobatic, the aircraft was fast and furious in its effectiveness in downing enemy aircraft.

The P-51 Mustang Was the Quintessential Aircraft of the World War II Era

In duels over Eastern Europe, the agile fighter scored kill after kill

Del Martin, left, and Phyllis Lyon were officially wed June 16, 2008 in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after legalization.

The Incredible Story of Lesbian Activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

After first meeting in 1950, the couple was instrumental in founding the nation’s first organization for gay women

The first page of the Hungerford Deed, 1787, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Acc. 19-150.

Smithsonian Voices

This Property Contract Sheds New Light on James Smithson's Gift to the Smithsonian

The 1787 Hungerford Deed, donated to the Smithsonian in 2019, offers a glimpse into the family dynamics that shaped the founder's decision

Will an American athlete from the Tokyo Games grab gold and become the next to be featured on the cover of Wheaties?

The Tokyo Olympics

How Wheaties Became the 'Breakfast of Champions'

Images of Olympians and other athletes on boxes helped the cereal maintain a competitive edge

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

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

Pure athletic prowess wasn’t really the point—the People’s Olympiad was about cultivating a spirit of equality, in direct contrast to Nazi ideals.

The Tokyo Olympics

The 'Protest' Olympics That Never Came to Be

A leftist response to the 1936 Games being held in Nazi Germany, the proposed competition was canceled by the Spanish Civil War

The entrance to Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.

Fifty Years Ago, Berkeley Restaurant Chez Panisse Launched the Farm-to-Table Movement

'Local, organic, sustainable' are common buzzwords on American menus now, but it wasn't always that way

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