U.S. History

An original Michtom teddy bear once held by two of Teddy Roosevelt’s great-grandchildren, Mark and Anne.

The Teddy Bear Was Once Seen as a Dangerous Influence on Young Children

Inspired by a moment of empathy from President Theodore Roosevelt, the huggable toy had a rocky start before it became the stuff of legend

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro, a new film that arrives on Netflix on December 20

Based on a True Story

The Real History Behind Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre's Marriage in 'Maestro'

The Bradley Cooper-led film is a dramatization of the storied composer and conductor's complex love life

President John F Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas prior to the assassination on November 22, 1963.

Inside the Autopsy Room: The Details Doctors Gathered About JFK’s Assassination

Sixty years ago, three pathologists at the National Naval Medical Center examined the president's fatal wounds

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter dancing at the presidential Inaugural Ball in January 1977

Women Who Shaped History

From the Governor's Mansion to the White House and Beyond, Rosalynn Carter Was a Tireless Advocate for the Vulnerable

Smithsonian experts reflect on the life and legacy of the former first lady, who died Sunday at age 96

When the National Portrait Gallery opened more than a half-century ago, just 17 percent of its collection represented women—either as subjects or creators (above: Carmen de Lavallade, Michele Mattei, 2003, printed 2018). Today, that number has roughly doubled.

Beyoncé, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Other Iconic Women Take Their Place at the Smithsonian

This year, the National Portrait Gallery's annual showcase of new acquisitions spotlights female subjects and female artists

Dividing the estimated length of 240,000 miles of stone wall by the geographic area of the New England heartland yields about six linear miles of stone per square mile of land.

How Stone Walls Became a Signature Landform of New England

Originally built as barriers between fields and farms, the region’s abandoned farmstead walls have since become the binding threads of its cultural fabric

The Smithsonian's Cher Ami will play a role in tonight's multimedia performance “November 1918: The Great War and The Great Gatsby” at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Cher Ami, the Iconic World War I Carrier Pigeon, Makes His Debut at Carnegie Hall

A treasured Smithsonian artifact is reputed to be the heroic savior of the embattled “Lost Battalion” on the Western Front

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin, a new film directed by George C. Wolfe

Based on a True Story

The Real History Behind Netflix's 'Rustin' Movie

A new film finally spotlights Bayard Rustin, the gay civil rights activist who organized the 1963 March on Washington

The fictional Corpo Guard detains a shopkeeper in Sinclair Lewis’ play It Can’t Happen Here.

As Fascism Threatened Europe, an Ambitious Play Warned Americans to Pay Attention

A courageous New Deal program brought authoritarianism into the spotlight. Then the drama moved onto the political stage

Dell O'Dell loved the stage as much as she dominated it—no small feat for any magician, much less a “funsational femagician,” as she called herself.

Dell O'Dell's Trailblazing Magic Show Cast a Spell on Early Television Audiences

Rare footage of the woman magician's act captures her magnetic stage presence and range of tricks

A bustling street in Hanoi, Vietnam, in March 2023, when retired Colonel Robert Certain (pictured in inset) returned as part of a special trip with other veterans.

Fifty Years After Their Release, Former Vietnam POWs Journey Back to Hanoi

A group of American veterans return to the infamous compound where they and hundreds of other service members were held captive and tortured during the war

Can every living thing be traced to a single cell?

Can Every Living Thing Be Traced to a Single Cell? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

Frederick Douglass, Unidentified Artist, Sixth-plate daguerreotype c. 1841

Why We Need to Understand Frederick Douglass Now More Than Ever

The great orator was a branding genius, and a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases his motivations

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There's More to That

How the Osage Changed Martin Scorsese’s Mind

“Killers of the Flower Moon” sets a new standard in its nuanced portrait of Osage life. Decades of prior films about Native Americans didn't even try

Signs calling for the abolition of Columbus Day formed the backdrop for a protest in front of city hall in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The Evolution of Columbus Day Celebrations, From Italian Immigrant Pride to Indigenous Recognition

The holiday has been controversial practically since its inception

The New English Canaan by Thomas Morton criticized the Puritan government in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

There's More to That

A Brief History of Banned Books in America

Attempts to restrict what kids in school can read are on the rise. But American book banning started with the Puritans, 140 years before the United States

Jack Trice (second from left) and three of his teammates on the varsity football squad

Untold Stories of American History

This Black Football Player Was Fatally Injured During a Game. A Century Later, a College Stadium Bears His Name

Rival athletes trampled Jack Trice during his "first real college game." He died two days later at age 21

This statue of Christopher Columbus resides at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station in Washington, D.C. 

Breaking Down the United States' Historical Obsession With Christopher Columbus

Columbus became Columbus in the American Revolution—when the colonials sought out an origin story that didn’t involve the British

Historian Peter Mancall says New English Canaan is “not very long” and “not very well written,” but holds immense value in what it says about the nation’s founding.

History of Now

How America's First Banned Book Survived and Became an Anti-Authoritarian Icon

The Puritans outlawed Thomas Morton's "New English Canaan" because it was critical of the society they were building in colonial New England

Performers at the 1963 Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Ron Patterson, a co-founder of the event, appears in orange at the far right.

The Surprisingly Radical Roots of the Renaissance Fair

The first of these festivals debuted in the early 1960s, serving as a prime example of the United States' burgeoning counterculture

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