George Washington

The Lockkeeper's House is the oldest building on the National Mall. After years of neglect, it is now open to the public.

The National Mall's Oldest Building Is Now Open to the Public

The long-lived Lockkeeper's House represents centuries of D.C. history

Painted to inspire a sense of patriotism among 19th-century Americans, Washington Crossing the Delaware still has cultural sticking power today. 

'Washington Crossing the Delaware' Sails Toward the Auction Block—and Could Fetch $15 Million

The smaller version of the iconic painting was displayed at the White House for decades

The only reference to 355 appears in an August 15, 1779, letter: “I intend to visit 727 [Culper code for New York] before long and think by the assistance of a 355 [lady in the code] of my acquaintance, shall be able to outwit them all.”

Women Who Shaped History

The Myth of Agent 355, the Woman Spy Who Supposedly Helped Win the Revolutionary War

A single reference in the historical record has spawned an array of adaptations, most of which overstate the anonymous figure's role in the Culper Spy Ring

William Trost Richards, Along the Shore, 1903

The Sights and Sounds of the Sea Have Inspired American Artists for Generations

Exhibition spotlights crashing waves, maritime voyages and seafaring vessels painted by Georgia O'Keeffe, Normal Rockwell and Jacob Lawrence

Over the span of two years, Washington visited all 13 original states (14 if you count Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts), traveling on horseback and by carriage along rutted dirt roads and over rising rivers.

When George Washington Took a Road Trip to Unify the U.S.

Nathaniel Philbrick’s new book follows the first president on his 1789 journey across America

Lightning strikes the iconic Washington, D.C. landmark “twice per year on the high end and once every five years on the low end,” says meteorologist Chris Vagasky.

Watch a Bolt of Lightning Strike the Washington Monument

The iconic obelisk remains temporarily closed as workers repair an electronic access system damaged by the storm

The free silver movement—which fought to allow for unfettered silver coinage alongside the gold standard—reflected the divides of 1890s America.

The U.S. Government's Failed Attempt to Forge Unity Through Currency

In the late 1890s, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving tried to bridge the divide between silver and gold with a series of educational paper certificates

New displays at Arlington House center the stories of individuals enslaved by Lee and his family.

Robert E. Lee's Former Home Reopens With Renewed Focus on the Enslaved

Built by George Washington's adopted son, Arlington House recently underwent a three-year "rehabilitation" project

Illustration of Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, the likely inspiration for Molly Pitcher, stoking a cannon for the U.S. Pennsylvania artillery during the Battle of Monmouth

Women Who Shaped History

Molly Pitcher, the Most Famous American Hero Who Never Existed

Americans don't need to rely on legends to tell the stories of women in the Revolution

A framed display of locks of George and Martha Washington's hair is estimated to sell for upward of $75,000.

Trove of Presidential Memorabilia, From Washington's Hair to JFK's Sweater, Is Up for Sale

RR Auction is offering a collection of nearly 300 artifacts, including a signed photo of Abraham Lincoln and a pen used by FDR

A dress worn by Martha Washington from the collection of the National Museum of American History. The gown's basic style is typical of the early 1780s.

Women Who Shaped History

Why Martha Washington's Life Is So Elusive to Historians

A gown worn by the first First Lady reveals a dimension of her nature that few have been aware of

The Library of Congress recently completed a major digitization effort, making collections of 23 U.S. presidents' papers available online for study. From left: Calvin Coolidge, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Benjamin Harrison and Thomas Jefferson; behind: Jefferson's June 1776 draft of the Declaration of Independence

Library of Congress' Presidential Papers, From Washington's Geometry Notes to Wilson's Love Letters, Are Now Online

Four newly added collections mark the conclusion of a two-decade digitization project

This year's top titles include One Mighty and Irresistible Tide, You Never Forget Your First, and Caste.

Holiday Gift Guide

The Ten Best History Books of 2020

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how the country got to where it is today

Halahtookit, a Nez Perce man, widely believed to be the son of William Clark.

Ask Smithsonian

Are There Native Descendants of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

"This coin is the Holy Grail of all dollars," says Laura Sperber, president of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

The World's Most Expensive Coin Is Up for Sale

Expected to fetch upward of $10 million, the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar was one of the first coins struck by the newly created U.S. Mint

The Washington Family, painted by Edward Savage in New York City while Washington was the nation's president. The children in the portrait are Martha Custis Washington's grandchildren, to whom George was a father figure.

The Father of the Nation, George Washington Was Also a Doting Dad to His Family

Though he had no biological children, the first president acted as a father figure to Martha's descendants

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Virtual Travel

Explore Washington, D.C. From Home With This Free, Smithsonian Scholar-Led Tour

Narrated by Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Richard Kurin, the 24-part video series blends history with modern mainstays

"Washington and His Cabinet" lithograph by Currier & Ives

The President's Cabinet Was an Invention of America's First President

A new book explores how George Washington shaped the group of advisors as an institution to meet his own needs

Washington, who tended to favor surprisingly silly names for his animals—his dogs answered to Sweetlips, Drunkard and Madame Moose—went literal when it came to the mule, who he called Royal Gift.

George Washington Saw a Future for America: Mules

A newly minted celebrity to the world, the future president used his position to procure his preferred beast of burden from the king of Spain

The Landsdowne portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

A New Book About George Washington Breaks All the Rules on How to Write About George Washington

Alexis Coe's cheeky biography of the first president pulls no punches

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