Barack Obama

Former presidents have penned memoirs of varying focus and quality.

A Brief History of Presidential Memoirs

Barack Obama's new autobiography joins a long—but sometimes dull—tradition

President Trump originally campaigned on the promise that the U.S. would soon back out of the agreement, and in 2017, he formally started the process.

As of This Morning, the U.S. Has Officially Withdrawn From the Paris Climate Agreement

The country is the first to leave the accord

Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively

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The National Portrait Gallery's Obama Portraits Will Embark on a Five-City Tour

Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald's paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama are set to visit Chicago, Brooklyn, L.A., Atlanta and Houston

Michelle Obama is the 14th consecutive First Lady to have a cattleya orchid named in her honor (above). Last year, the Melania Trump orchid was earning acclaim in the plant world.

Here’s How Horticulturalists Made the Michelle Obama Orchid

This year’s orchid show takes over the cavernous naturally-lit Kogod Courtyard with thousands on view

At the National Portrait Gallery's inaugural American Portrait Gala, Franklin was honored in 2015 with a Portrait of the Nation Prize.

Museum Curators Reflect on the Legacy of the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin dies at 76; her memory lives on at the Smithsonian in artwork, photographs and other ephemera

The specially commissioned portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama make their formal museum debut.

The Obamas' Official Portraits Break New Ground With Their Boldness

A picture-perfect reveal ceremony was by turns heartfelt and humorous

Both Kehinde Wiley and Obama said they were struck by parallels in their life stories. “Both of us had American mothers who raised us, with extraordinary love and support,” Obama said.

Artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald Capture the Unflinching Gaze of the President and First Lady

The nation's first African-American presidency is marked by two prominent African-American portraitists

The Ten Best Photography Books of 2017

These eye-opening works invite us to find ourselves in history and nature

The President with the First Lady in a freight elevator heading to an inaugural ball in 2009.

How Pete Souza Fits Into the Storied History of Presidential Photography

In his new book, the former White House photographer frames a clear picture of the Obama years

Nine letters written by Barack Obama from 1982 to 1984 are being made available to the public for the first time

Barack Obama's Letters From Three Decades Ago

As a striving college student and recent graduate, letters by the future president depict a man coming to terms with his identity and future

The 18-month restoration of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington, the Lansdowne (above: the portrait before conservation treatment is on the left) is completed.

A Rainbow Shines Anew in National Portrait Gallery's Iconic George Washington Portrait 

A glistening Lansdowne Portrait refresh harkens the reopening of "America's Presidents"

When the moment came to ring the Freedom Bell alongside President Obama and the First Lady, Ruth Bonner was overjoyed.

Ruth Odom Bonner, Who Rang the Freedom Bell With President Obama, Passes Away at 100

Looking back on the redoubtable woman who helped inaugurate the African American History Museum

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," President Trump said during his announcement that the United States would be leaving the Paris agreement. Pictured: a steel mill in the Monongahela Valley of East Pittsburgh in the early 1970's.

How America Stacks Up When It Comes to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hint: We're not number one, but we're close

Theodore Roosevelt regularly employed executive orders to achieve his political goals.

History of Now

The Debate Over Executive Orders Began With Teddy Roosevelt's Mad Passion for Conservation

Teddy used nearly 10 times as many executive orders as his predecessor. The repercussions are still felt today

Obama's Powerful Tribute to a Defining Civil Rights Moment

On the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, the first African American president paid tribute to an event in civil rights history

How Obama's Historic 2008 DNC Speech Came Together

Presidential candidate Barack Obama's scheduled speech to the Democratic National Convention fell on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech

Oil portrait of Barack Obama by Kadir Nelson

A Portrait of Obama in the Final Days of His Presidency

Commissioned for <em>Smithsonian</em> magazine, this painting shows a leader at a crossroads

The presidential mask offers Americans a particularly playful—and anonymous—entrance into political humor.

What's Behind America's Obsession With Presidential Masks?

From nose-picking Nixon to Trump-kissing-Clinton, Americans have long imitated their political candidates

The monument protects an array of endemic, threatened and endangered species, including the sperm whale.

Obama Declares the First Atlantic Ocean National Marine Monument

With the announcement of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Obama solidifies his legacy as an ocean guardian

A monarch feasting on milkweed.

Migrating Monarch Butterflies Might Actually Take to the Highway

Threatened pollinators get a trans-continental right of way

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