Fourth of July

One of the Smithsonian Institution's most visited artifacts is the 209-year-old Star-Spangled Banner, the inspiration for the National Anthem.

A New Summer Tradition, a Three-Week 'Civic Season,' Asks Americans to Reflect on the Past and Future

Museums are inviting Americans to embrace the national story from its sins to its successes as a stepping stone towards a better future


How Do Native Americans Observe the Fourth of July?

The answer has always been as complicated as America's history

This Border Collie doesn't look thrilled to be participating in firework festivities.

Why Fireworks Scare Some Dogs but Not Others

Canine scientists investigate why loud sounds cause some dogs to lose their cool and offer insight on effective treatment

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's annual fireworks report, there were about 5,600 fireworks-related injuries between June 22 and July 22 of last year.

Seven Inventions for a Safer Fourth of July

From fireworks shields to seat belts, these inventions throughout history have made summer fun less risky

An 1897 poster critiquing the McKinley administration set during the Fourth of July shows the inherent danger of do-it-yourself fireworks.

The 1900s Movement to Make the Fourth of July Boring (but Safe)

One activist thought celebrating the founding of the nation would be better spent as a "a quiet day under the trees"

Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam

What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?

They may not have been hosting a cookout, but they did know how to imbibe and celebrate

A U.S. Marine carries an American flag on his rifle during a recovery operation in summer 1968

How the Fourth of July Was Celebrated (and Protested) in 1968

Headlines from <em>The New York Times</em> reveal how the nation and the world commemorated Independence Day in what had already been a tumultuous year

Calvin Coolidge, stoic as ever, with his ebullient wife Grace.

For His Patriotic Birthday, Five Facts About Calvin Coolidge

On Coolidge’s would-be 146th birthday, celebrate with some little-known facts about our 30th President

From glow-in-the-dark squid to the terrifying stoplight loosejaw, creatures of the deep have evolved their own living light time and time again.

Why Bioluminescence Evolved to Be Red Light, and Blue

The laws of nature constrict living light to a few hues, which also happen to be quite patriotic

Charleston, South Carolina, was founded in 1670 and is the state's oldest city. The drawing depicts it in 1860.

What Did Independence Day Mean to Southerners About to Secede?

As secession loomed, the Fourth of July took on new significance

President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan meet with the Beach Boys a few months after Reagan's Secretary of the Interior announced that rock bands attracted "the wrong element."

The Secretary of the Interior Once Banned Rock Bands From the National Mall

James Watt, who was outed from office in the early 1980s, said the only songs he knew were 'The Star Spangled Banner' and 'Amazing Grace'

Children salute the American flag in 1915.

The Rules About How to Address the U.S. Flag Came About Because No One Wanted to Look Like a Nazi

During the National Anthem, Americans are asked to put their right hands over their hearts. But why?

An artist's rendition of Juno in orbit around Jupiter. The craft is powered entirely by the sun's rays.

It's Official: We Are Now in Orbit Around Jupiter

After a nerve-wracking entry, NASA spacecraft Juno successfully entered the gas giant's orbit

Four Explosive Advancements for Future Fireworks

From color to sound, the next-gen fireworks are sure to wow

By the “dawn’s early light,” Key saw the huge garrison flag, now on view at the National Museum of American History, waving above Fort McHenry and he realized that the Americans had survived the battle and stopped the enemy advance.

Where’s the Debate on Francis Scott Key’s Slave-Holding Legacy?

During his lifetime, abolitionists ridiculed Key’s words, sneering that America was more like the “Land of the Free and Home of the Oppressed”

A Coney dog

The Origin of the Coney Island Hot Dog Is a Uniquely American Story

They also have very little to do with the New York City amusement park

Miki Sudo takes on the 2013 women's champ Sonya Thomas. Sudo would grab Thomas' title by consuming 34 hot dogs to Thomas' 27.75.

How a Hot Dog Eating Contest Became One of the Fourth of July's Greatest Traditions

Why the American dream is shaped like a hot dog

A new campaign encourages fireworks enthusiasts to be courteous with their explosions this 4th of July.

For Veterans' Sake, Make A Little Less Noise With Your 4th of July Fireworks

Fireworks can trigger PTSD in some veterans, and one organization is trying to raise awareness

14 Fun Facts About Fireworks

Number three: Fireworks are just chemical reactions

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