February 2012

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water cannon

Gold Fever

Spurred by rising global demand for the metal, miners are destroying invaluable rainforest in Peru's Amazon basin

Anna Matuschek

Mystique of the Mother Road

Foreign tourists and local preservationists are bringing stretches of the storied roadway back to life


The Orchid Olympics

Breeders from 19 countries put their creations to the test at the 20th World Orchid Conference in Singapore

Dickens World

Mad for Dickens

Two centuries after his birth, the novelist is still wildly popular, as a theme park, a new movie and countless festivals attest


Dickens' Secret Affair

Biographer Claire Tomalin's literary sleuthing revealed the untold story of the famed author's "invisible woman"

Ancient art portraits

Ancient Modernism

Two thousand years before Picasso, artists in Egypt painted some of the most arresting portraits in the history of art


From the Editor

Objects Of Desire

Chronicling passions that change the world, for good and ill



Readers Respond to the December Issue

Indelible Images

The Other Man

Was Leonardo da Vinci's famous anatomical chart actually a collaborative effort?


Ready Or Not

As part of her plan to prepare Americans for the next "big one," the seismologist tackles the dangerous phenomenon of denial


David Adjaye

The designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture talks about his vision for the new building

Around the Mall

Stitches in Time

A chemist from the Textile Museum is perfecting a new technique for understanding the past

The Object at Hand

Mr. Cox's Keepsake

An American diplomat’s memento takes center stage after 125 years

From the Castle

Icons and Insights

Here & Now

Here & Now


Eric Klinenberg

The surprising benefits, to oneself and to society, of living alone

Explaining Evil

Recently reissued, William L. Shirer's seminal 1960 history of Nazi Germany is still important reading

Fast Forward

A Big Move

NASA prepares its decommissioned space shuttles for delivery to the National Air and Space Museum