Film

A flag in New York City's Times Square marks MTV's 40th birthday.

At 40, MTV Is Officially Over the Hill

Born in 1981, the network soon grew to include reality TV and the VMAs. But nothing compares to its glory days of 24/7 music videos

Ellen disguised herself as a sickly white man, while William played the part of her enslaved valet.

Follow a Couple's Daring Escape From Slavery in the Antebellum South

A new short film from SCAD chronicles the lives of Ellen and William Craft, who disguised themselves to find freedom in 1848

Mary Boleyn (right) served as Henry VIII's mistress before her sister Anne's (left) ascent to the throne.

The Rise and Fall of Tudor England's Scandalous Boleyn Family

A new documentary offers a more sympathetic view of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle

In the Southwest, Morris documented what she described as a “treasure trove”—a “topography rich in large dry caves, neatly adapted to ancient dwellings and graveyards.”

Women Who Shaped History

Groundbreaking Archaeologist Ann Axtell Morris Finally Gets the Cinematic Treatment

Nearly a century after Morris excavated ancestral Native lands, filmmakers return with an inclusive approach that brings Navajo Nation onto the big screen

Fixed up to look like "Dusty," the Disney animated aircraft that had high-flying aspirations, the Air Tractor AT-301/400A became a hit at air-shows following the success of the first film and its 2014 sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue.

Disney's Dusty Crophopper—the Little Airplane that Could—Comes to the Smithsonian

Iconic Air Tractor aircraft on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center this Saturday

The documentary plays out much like a spy thriller, interrogating the art world and the enigmatic figures who populate it.

Will the Mystery of 'Salvator Mundi' Ever Be Solved?

A new documentary, "The Lost Leonardo," explores the dramatic history of a purported Renaissance masterpiece

Some of the details between the film and its source material are, of course, different, but the themes at their respective hearts remain consistent.

'The Green Knight' Adopts a Medieval Approach to 'Modern' Problems

A new film starring Dev Patel as Gawain feels more like a psychological thriller than a period drama

A publicity still from The Wizard of Oz. A lecturer at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. recently stumbled onto one of the costumes worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film.

Cool Finds

Judy Garland's Long-Lost 'Wizard of Oz' Dress Rediscovered After Decades

A lecturer at Catholic University discovered the rare costume wrapped in a trash bag in a drama department office

Dorothy Gale, the lead character played by actress Judy Garland in 'The Wizard of Oz' served as a lodestone for gay culture

Smithsonian Voices

How Coded Language Like 'Are You a Friend of Dorothy?' Protected the LGBTQ Community

A Smithsonian folklorist explain how Dorothy Gale, played by actress Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz," served as a lodestone for gay culture

The Forever Marilyn statue's June 20 unveiling attracted protesters who view Seward Johnson's 26-foot-tall sculpture as an outdated symbol of sexism.

Why a Newly Installed Statue of Marilyn Monroe Is So Controversial

In the era of #MeToo, some view the sculpture—now on view in California—as a symbol of sexism

The new film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights draws on the real history of Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood.

The Immigrant History of the NYC Neighborhood Behind 'In the Heights'

How Washington Heights, a community in upper Manhattan, became the heart of an award-winning musical and a hotly anticipated film adaptation

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, sizing up the idol, in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Enduring Myths of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Forty years later, archaeologists look back at what the first Indiana Jones movie got wrong about their profession

At the foot of North Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains sits Wallace, an incredibly resilient, Old West mining town.

The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2021

From Alabama's music capital to the self-proclaimed 'center of the universe,' these American towns are calling your name

“We have these iconic figures from history and literature, who people feel possessive about in some way,” says scholar Miranda Kaufman, author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story. “But you have to remember that it’s not a historical reconstruction: it’s a thriller; it’s a drama; it’s entertainment.”

Why the Controversy Over a Black Actress Playing Anne Boleyn Is Unnecessary and Harmful

Long before Jodie Turner-Smith's miniseries came under criticism, British Indian actress Merle Oberon portrayed the Tudor queen

Xerox technology completely streamlined the animation process.

How 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' Saved Disney

Sixty years ago, the company modernized animation when it used Xerox technology on the classic film

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

“Despite taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars introduced generations of fans here on Earth to outer space as a setting for adventure and exploration,” says the museum's Margaret Weitekamp.

Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Lands at the National Air and Space Museum

Udvar-Hazy visitors can watch conservators give the film prop a careful exam before it goes on view in 2022

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery holds an Italian poster (above: Il Quarto Potere, detail) promoting the film.

The Lasting Riddles of Orson Welles' Revolutionary Film 'Citizen Kane'

This year’s award-winning "Mank" attracts new attention to the 80-year-old American classic; two Smithsonian curators share insights

There are over eight million feet of film in the Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA), which is part of the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives. HSFA specializes in storing ethnographic footage created by anthropologists, filmmakers and travelers.

Smithsonian Voices

How Film Helps Preserve the World's Diversity

The Smithsonian's Human Studies Film Archive houses eight million feet of film which can help future generations reflect on the past

During World War II, the United States government incarcerated some 120,000 Japanese Americans, including the Uno family spotlighted in the documentary series.

Education During Coronavirus

Watch 150 Years of Asian American History Unfold in This Documentary

The five-part PBS series chronicles the community's story through archival footage, interviews

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