African Art Museum

A plaque depicting a war chief and a royal military priest carrying a leather gift box

London's Horniman Museum Will Return Stolen Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

The 72 objects were looted from Benin City more than a century ago

The ceremony arrives amid a worldwide push to repatriate objects removed from their countries of origin under troubling circumstances.

Albuquerque Museum Returns Long-Forgotten Cache of Sculptures to Mexico

The objects, which date to between 300 and 600 B.C.E., sat in a storage box for 15 years

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?

The Smithsonian has 39 of the Benin pieces in its collections, above: Commemorative head of a king, Edo artist, 18th century.

The Smithsonian's Plan to Return the Benin Bronzes Comes After Years of Relationship Building

The ground-breaking move heralds a new path for interactions between African and Western institutions

In the early days of the Covid crisis, National Zoo officials tied a mask around its popular lion sculpture to emphasize the need to follow safety protocols. Beginning this Friday, masks are optional in all Smithsonian museums and at the Zoo.

Smithsonian Tells Museum and Zoo Visitors Masks Are Now Optional

Face coverings mandate is lifted this Friday, as more museums resume daily visiting hours

The award-winning actress, director and entrepreneur Monalisa Chinda is also host of the nationally sindicated television talk show "You & I with Monalisa." 

Photographer Iké Udé Is Retelling Africa's Narrative With the Power of Portraiture

A new show celebrates the stars of Nigeria's Nollywood, the country’s vibrant $3 billion film industry

With every hope that Covid-restrictions will soon give way to happier times ahead, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City plan a bright year of grand new showings

Twenty-Two Smithsonian Shows to See in 2022

Falcon hunting, Watergate, a Kusama mirror room and the new Latino Gallery await

This 16th- or 17th-century copper alloy plaque—one of the ten Benin Bronzes removed from view—depicts a high-ranking warrior flanked by musicians and a page holding a ceremonial sword.

History of Now

Why the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art Removed Its Benin Bronzes From View

Displaying the looted artworks does "a huge amount of harm,” says director Ngaire Blankenberg, who has affirmed her commitment to repatriating the objects

In a bloody brawl, Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus battle to the finish in the much-loved new dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Will Reopen in June

Discover tips for visiting the T-Rex, the Hope Diamond and more, when 10 Smithsonian museums reopen this summer

This plaque depicts musicians, a page holding a ceremonial sword and a high-ranking warrior. It numbers among the thousands of works looted by British forces during an 1897 raid of Benin City.

Germany Will Return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria in 2022

Culture Minister Monika Grütters describes the move as a "historic milestone"

Beginning next month, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person.When the Zoo opens on May 21, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person. But fair warning—he might be napping.

Smithsonian Announces the Zoo and Seven Museums Open in May

You'll finally be able to see the baby panda in person; here's our comprehensive list of what's on view and tips for visiting

Jim McDowell holds his jug, “Emmett Till.”

Smithsonian Voices

How a Pioneering Ceramicist Is Using Pottery to Reclaim Black History

Jim McDowell, known to many simply as “the Black Potter,” is a ceramicist who specializes in a craft with deep connections to lost histories

Simone Leigh, an American sculptor, will represent the United States at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.

Meet the First Black Woman to Represent the U.S. at the Art World's Biggest Fair

Simone Leigh, whose large-scale ceramics explore black female subjectivity, will exhibit her work at the 2022 Venice Biennale

Celebrate Mother's Day With These Artworks From the Smithsonian Collections

These paintings, sculptures and illustrations honor the bonds of motherhood

Spectacular offerings include (clockwise from top left): John Singer Sargent; art in response to the Age of Humans; Preston Singletary; Yayoi Kusama; and the mighty influence of Alexander von Humboldt.

Twenty Smithsonian Shows to See in 2020

Women inventors, baseball stamps and a new Kusama Infinity Room are among the offerings

AMA #WCW by Dada Khanyisa, 2018

How the Heroes of Africa Triumphed Against All Odds

At the African Art Museum the inspiring stories of 50 individuals from the continent are honored in classical and contemporary works of art

(Clockwise from left) Michela Puddu, Elias Sime, Richard Yim and Miranda Wang

Eight Innovators to Watch in 2020

From plastic recycling pioneers to landmine foes, these dreamers have big plans for the coming year

In 1897, British troops looted thousands of pieces of culturally significant art, which came to reside in private and public collections, including this cooper plaque (detail) now held at the Smithsonian Institution.

As African Art Thrives, Museums Grapple With Legacy of Colonialism

Museum leaders met in Washington D.C. to talk about what's next for the continent's cultural sector

Sai Mado (The Distant Gaze) (detail) by Aida Muluneh, Ethiopia, 2016

Women's Voices Ring With a Resounding Roar in This New Show

The African Art Museum raises the profile of female artists showcasing their works from its collections

“As the times have become increasingly more political, people have begun projecting more politicalness into the work,” notes artist Jeffrey Gibson, who is a featured artist this week at the National Portrait Gallery's "Identify" program.

Artist Jeffrey Gibson’s Artwork Activates Overlooked Histories and Marginalized Identities

The National Portrait Gallery’s “Identify” performance showcases the multimedia artist’s masterful 50-person drumming event

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