April 2013

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Best Small Towns to Visit 2013

The 20 Best Small Towns in America

From the blues to the big top, we’ve picked the most intriguing small towns to enjoy arts and smarts

Gettysburg, PA

Kon-Tiki Sails Again

A new film recreates the epic voyage—and revives the controversy over its legendary leader, Thor Heyerdahl

Great Camp Sagamore

Birthplace of the American Vacation

First in rustic tents and later in elaborate resorts, city dwellers took to the Adirondacks to explore the joys of the wilderness

Abu Camp elephants

Into the Okavang Delta

Renowned travel writer Paul Theroux journeys through Botswana’s spectacular, wildlife-rich wetlands

“In the Sistine Chapel”

A new poem by Scott Brennan


Up and Away

Before the legendary aircraft took flight, it took 25 hours to fly from New York to Los Angeles

Cai Guo-Qiang

Burning Man

With ethereal artworks traced in flames and gunpowder, Cai Guo Qiang is making a big bang

David Mamet

Flights of Fancy

The famed playwright reminisces about how he got hooked on collecting artifacts from the golden era of air travel

Dirty hands

The Secret of Dirt

Scientists believe dirt could explain why some of the wealthiest countries suffer from afflictions rarely seen in less-developed nations




From the Castle

From the Castle

From the Editor

From the Editor

Letters to the Editor




The spacecraft will run out of power around 2025, but where will it travel to first?

On the Front Lines

The recent book On Borders features the work of photographers who captured images of boundaries both literal and metaphorical


Empire of Science

An 1838 journey pushed back the borders of the unknown


Battle for the Arctic

The promise of oil has heated up a global argument over the Arctic’s true borders


Less Than Zero

If you can’t break the laws of physics, work around them


Mapping Turf Wars

In Los Angeles, an anthropologist is using equations to teach police about how street gangs operate


Aid and Abet

The non-governmental organization concedes it sometimes pays a moral price to save lives

Around the Mall

Treasure Hunt

A new book from a Smithsonian curator looks at the culture and business of memorabilia


Musicians in a fair trade coffee cooperative hope to change the world through song and coffee

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

Imaginary numbers, Roy Lichtenstein and much much more

Around the Mall




Read about the transformation of food and what happens to it once its in the digestive system

Fast Forward

Capable of carrying 66 tons of cargo, the Aeroscraft could bring airships back to the skies