Movies

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

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

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

A black widow spider hangs from its web.

Eight Fun Facts About Black Widows

The venomous spiders are nimble, secretive and dangerous

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

Visionary executive William Barstow Strong led the second transcontinental line, the Santa Fe, in the 1880s, paving the way for thousands of miles of track.

How the Santa Fe Railroad Changed America Forever

The golden spike made the newspapers. But another railroad made an even bigger difference to the nation

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

“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

“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

Cher stands with Kaavan, the elephant she helped rescue.

How Cher Helped Rescue the World's Loneliest Elephant

A new documentary follows the five year struggle to save an elephant named Kaavan from abuse—and seeks to inspire similar efforts around the world

Merab Ninidze and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Courier.

Based on a True Story

The True Story Behind 'The Courier'

A new spy thriller draws on the fascinating life—and whopping lies—of one of the U.K.'s most famous intelligence agents

James Earl Jones (right) played Jack Johnson, while Jane Alexander (left) portrayed Eleanor Bachman, a fictionalized version of the boxer's first wife.

Based on a True Story

Looking Back at the Legacy of 'The Great White Hope' and Boxer Jack Johnson

The two stars of the play and movie reminisce about their experience adapting the life story of boxer Jack Johnson

Informer William O'Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield, seen wearing a beret in the foreground) provided the FBI with information used to plan Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton's assassination (portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, standing with hand raised at the podium).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Judas and the Black Messiah'

Shaka King's upcoming film dramatizes Black Panther leader Fred Hampton's betrayal by an FBI informant

Netflix's The Dig dramatizes the excavation of an elaborate Anglo-Saxon ship burial.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Netflix's 'The Dig' and Sutton Hoo

One of the greatest archaeological finds in British history, the Anglo-Saxon burial changed historians' view of the Dark Ages

Disney will remove a scene featuring a "shrunken head salesman" and add a new one centered on chimpanzees riding an abandoned boat.

Disney Will Remove Jungle Cruise Ride's Colonialist Depictions of Indigenous Africans

The entertainment conglomerate announced plans to revamp the attraction, which has drawn increased scrutiny in recent months

Smithsonian gemologist Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) meets her colleague, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman 1984, which was filmed at three Smithsonian museums.

How 'Wonder Woman 1984' Was Filmed at the Smithsonian

The blockbuster saw the superhero working as a museum anthropologist. But how accurate was its depiction of the Institution at the time?

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