American History Museum

This year's titles include I Was Better Last Night, Accidental Ecosystem and Winslow Homer: American Passage.

The Best Books of 2022

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2022

This wide-ranging list offers context for our rapidly changing world

Carol Burnett's charwoman costume from her award-winning variety show (above in 1973) is now held in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

Carol Burnett Reveals How She Came to Create the Charwoman

The indelible comedian opens up about her favorite TV moments

Celia Cruz (above in 2001 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.) was "a phenomenon," says the Smithsonian's Ashley Mayor, one of the organizers of the new exhibition "Entertainment Nation," opening in December at the National Museum of American History.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

The Enduring Legacy of Celia Cruz, the 'Queen of Salsa'

The performer's vivacious life takes the stage as part of the new Smithsonian exhibition, "Entertainment Nation"

The famed Ruby Slippers were worn by by Judy Garland in her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

It's Showtime at the National Museum of American History

An inside look at how popular culture represents who we are as a nation

Actor Charlotte Cushman defied gender norms, often dressing in a masculine style represented in this 1853 portrait from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. She managed her own career and demanded equal pay with male actors.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again, of America’s First Celebrity—a Woman Who Loved Other Women

The world-famous actor Charlotte Cushman returns to the limelight, with her costumes going on view in a new Smithsonian exhibition

Billie Jean King wore this dress when she beat Bobby Riggs, a former number-one male player, during the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes.”

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

What America’s Pop Culture Says About the Nation Itself

A new permanent exhibition offers proof that popular entertainment can be more than just a diversion

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The Father-Daughter Team Who Reformed America

Meet the duo who helped achieve the most important labor and civil rights victories of their age

The “Ole Bull” Stradivarius, made in 1687, photographed with flowers and props reminiscent of a Dutch still life from the period.

When It Comes to String Instruments, Stradivariuses Are Still Pitch Perfect

Even after three centuries of their existence, the violins spark debate over what makes their sound special

Pro-choice protesters in 1972

Women Who Shaped History

The Underground Abortion Network That Inspired 'Call Jane'

A new film offers a fictionalized look at the Janes, activists who provided illegal abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade

Blue jeans gained popularity in the late 19th-century American West due to their durability.

Cache of 19th-Century Blue Jeans Discovered in Abandoned Arizona Mineshaft

The seven pairs of pants open a portal into life in the Castle Dome mining district

"Sidedoor" host Lizzie Peabody creaks across museum attic floorboards and sneaks into an old house in the woods (above: What lurks inside the Sellman House at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center?) to investigate the spooky stories that only a few dare to tell.

The Ghosts Who Haunt the Smithsonian

Mysterious tales head up podcast offerings for late October and November

Singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn was applauded—and sometimes banned—for her daring songs about women's lives. 

Country Legend Loretta Lynn Braved Controversy to Tell the Truth About Women's Experiences

The self-taught singer-songwriter died on October 4 at her home in Tennessee

Florence Pugh (left) stars in Don't Worry Darling as Alice, a 1950s housewife who resides in an idyllic California community with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles, right).

The Feminist Inspiration Behind 'Don't Worry Darling'

Director Olivia Wilde dubbed the new film "'The Feminine Mystique' on acid"

The signpost of hometowns for each of the characters in the sitcom "M*A*S*H" is now held in the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where it will go on view December 9.

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

Fifty Years and TV's 'M*A*S*H' Still Draws Audiences

Fans are making plans to visit the Smithsonian this December when the show's signature signpost goes on view in the new exhibition "Entertainment Nation"

In “Postage Pairings,” from the National Portrait Gallery, host Kim Sajet speaks with the Smithsonian's Daniel Piazza, curator of philately, about postage stamps (left: 29c single, july 30, 1993) reproduced from portraits (right: Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, c. 1785).

The Revolutionary Role Mail Played in America’s Fight for Independence

Hear about the colonial period postal service in the latest "Portraits" podcast

One reader wonders: Why do we see the Moon during the day and not the Sun at night?

Why Can We See the Moon During the Day? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Audre Lorde lectures students at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Women Who Shaped History

You May Have Borrowed These Terms from Black Feminism

Two curators have turned co-hosts in the podcast, “Collected,” a six-part examination of the origins of self-care, identity politics, and intersectionality

Musicians Cindy Campbell and DJ Kool Herc take center stage in a 2013 celebration of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop. The brother and sister duo threw a "Back-to School Jam" in August, 1973 and launched a lasting music genre.

How the Block Party Became an Urban Phenomenon

Watch the National Museum of African American History and Culture's 2022 star-studded Hip-Hop Block Party

The trident, also known as the tryzub, is ubiquitous in modern Ukraine, but its origins lie in the medieval period.

How Medieval Money Shaped Ukraine’s Modern Identity

The country's distinct history is revealed in banknotes, coins and other monetary objects, says the Smithsonian’s curator of numismatics

Donald Duck title card art, circa 1942

How Disney Propaganda Shaped Life on the Home Front During WWII

A traveling exhibition traces how the animation studio mobilized to support the Allied war effort

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