American History

View of the Grand Canyon showing the Bright Angel Trail, which leads to Havasupai Gardens, formerly known as Indian Garden

Officials Rename Popular Grand Canyon Site to Honor Havasupai Tribe

The National Park Service forcibly removed members of the tribe from the area in the 1920s

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

Benjamin J. Burton was a trailblazing entrepreneur once thought to be the wealthiest Black businessman in Rhode Island. His killing on October 6, 1885, polarized the Newport community.

A Gilded Age Tale of Murder and Money

The 1885 death of Black entrepreneur Benjamin J. Burton divided the close-knit community of Newport, Rhode Island

This year's picks include Half American, Saving Yellowstone and River of the Gods.

The Best Books of 2022

The Ten Best History Books of 2022

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the nation ended up where it is today

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"

Richard Nixon and his daughter Tricia on her wedding day in June 1971

A Brief History of White House Weddings

Naomi Biden's nuptials will mark the 19th wedding held at the presidential seat of power

Japanese American National Museum volunteer Barbara Keimi stamps the Ireichō.

The First-Ever List of Japanese Americans Forced Into Incarceration Camps Is 1,000 Pages Long

The Ireichō contains 125,284 names—and a new exhibition invites the public to honor them

“I was the daughter of an enormously popular president and the first girl in the White House since Nellie Grant, and I looked upon the world as my oyster,” Alice recalled in her 1933 autobiography.

Women Who Shaped History

From a White House Wedding to a Pet Snake, Alice Roosevelt's Escapades Captivated America

Theodore Roosevelt's eldest daughter won the public's adoration with her rebellious antics

Rhea L. Combs (left) and Ava DuVernay (right) share a laugh in front of DuVernay’s portrait during the National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2022.

See Stunning Portraits of Ava DuVernay, José Andrés and the Williams Sisters

The National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award honors seven changemakers, from Anthony Fauci to Clive Davis

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

The entrance to the CIA Museum in Langley, Virginia

See Inside the Rarely Seen and Newly Reimagined CIA Museum

Off-limits to all but a few in-person visitors, the museum is starting to welcome the public, online at least

The final facial reconstruction depicting John Barber, 55

Art Meets Science

Scientists Reconstruct Face of 19th-Century Man Accused of Being a Vampire

He was a victim of tuberculosis—and a target of the vampire panic that swept through New England

In the more than 100 years since his death, William Still has been marginalized, sometimes even forgotten, by histories of the movements to which he contributed so much.

The Forgotten Father of the Underground Railroad

The author of a book about William Still unearths new details about the leading Black abolitionist—and reflects on his lost legacy

American ambassador Joseph C. Grew (left) meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda (right) in October 1941, two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Untold Stories of American History

The American Ambassador Who Tried to Prevent Pearl Harbor

A new book explores the diplomatic efforts of Joseph C. Grew, who was assigned to Tokyo between 1932 and 1942

Joan Didion sitting in her wicker chair in 2003. The chair is one of the writer's many belongings being auctioned on November 16.

Women Who Shaped History

You Could Own Joan Didion's Sunglasses, Sofas and Shawls

The revered writer's furniture, household items, books and artworks will be auctioned at Stair Galleries on November 16

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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

Ontario International Airport in southern California

You Can Now Meet Friends and Family at the Gate at This California Airport

Ontario International Airport's new program allows non-ticketed individuals to venture beyond security

Protesters attend a rally in support of affirmative action in college admissions on October 31, 2022.

History of Now

The Origins of the Term 'Affirmative Action'

The phrase was first used in early 20th-century employment laws

Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues explores the legendary singer and trumpet player's life and legacy.

This Rap Documentarian's Latest Subject? Louis Armstrong

Sacha Jenkins tells the jazz musician's story through rarely-seen archival footage and letters

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