National Portrait Gallery

This year's titles include I Was Better Last Night, Accidental Ecosystem and Winslow Homer: American Passage.

The Best Books of 2022

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2022

This wide-ranging list offers context for our rapidly changing world

Rhea L. Combs (left) and Ava DuVernay (right) share a laugh in front of DuVernay’s portrait during the National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2022.

See Stunning Portraits of Ava DuVernay, José Andrés and the Williams Sisters

The National Portrait Gallery's 2022 Portrait of a Nation Award honors seven changemakers, from Anthony Fauci to Clive Davis

"Sidedoor" host Lizzie Peabody creaks across museum attic floorboards and sneaks into an old house in the woods (above: What lurks inside the Sellman House at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center?) to investigate the spooky stories that only a few dare to tell.

The Ghosts Who Haunt the Smithsonian

Mysterious tales head up podcast offerings for late October and November

This month, Portraits, a podcast from the National Portrait Gallery, revisits "Finding Cleopatra," a Sidedoor episode with host Lizzie Peabody exploring the life of the artist Edmonia Lewis (above: a photographic portrait by Henry Rocher, c. 1890).

Cleopatra’s Iconoclastic Sculptor Was Her Own Kind of Queen

Smithsonian podcasts delve into the life of Edmonia Lewis, how astronauts sleep, the evolution of the human brain; and drop in on painter Kay WalkingStick

Barack and Michelle Obama at the unveiling ceremony on September 7

Who Are the Artists Behind the New Obama Portraits?

Robert McCurdy and Sharon Sprung add their unique pieces to the White House's collection

In “Postage Pairings,” from the National Portrait Gallery, host Kim Sajet speaks with the Smithsonian's Daniel Piazza, curator of philately, about postage stamps (left: 29c single, july 30, 1993) reproduced from portraits (right: Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, c. 1785).

The Revolutionary Role Mail Played in America’s Fight for Independence

Hear about the colonial period postal service in the latest "Portraits" podcast

Septima Poinsette Clark by Brian Lanker, 1987

Women Who Shaped History

These Black Women Changed America

Thirty years ago, photographer Brian Lanker made indelible images of historical lives; a new exhibition says their stories have never seemed more relevant

Many of this year’s 42 finalists (above: Customer Service Representative by Marianna Olague, 2020) delve into the American psyche, depicting life during the Covid era.

These Are the New Faces of American Portraiture

In its 16th year, the Outwin Portrait Competition reflects the stunning vision of contemporary portrait-based art

Hassinger's video (above: Birthright by Maren Hassinger, 2005) is a powerful history of seven orphaned children, a story of stolen labor and stolen lives, a family chronicle “that came out of being enslaved, the aftermath of slavery,” says the artist.

Join in a Meditation on the Twists of Memories Handed Down From One Generation to Another

A new commission, based on the acclaimed video 'Birthright' by artist Maren Hassenger, explores the legacy of slavery in family history

Alison Elizabeth Taylor's Anthony Cuts Under the Williamsburg Bridge, Morning (2020), received first prize in the 2022 Outwin competition.

Trending Today

Portrait of a Covid-Era Haircut Claims First Prize in the Outwin Boochever Competition

Judges for the triennial National Portrait Gallery contest chose Alison Elizabeth Taylor's "marquetry hybrid" out of a pool of 42 finalists

The Godfather was named Best Motion Picture–Drama in the 1973 Golden Globe Awards and Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

Studio Executives Did Not Want Marlon Brando for the Title Role in 'The Godfather'

On the film's 50th anniversary, a Smithsonian historian reflects on the cultural phenomenon of the blockbuster hit

With every hope that Covid-restrictions will soon give way to happier times ahead, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City plan a bright year of grand new showings

Twenty-Two Smithsonian Shows to See in 2022

Falcon hunting, Watergate, a Kusama mirror room and the new Latino Gallery await

This commemorative Edmonia Lewis "forever" stamp will go on sale January 26, as the 45th installment of the USPS's Black Heritage series. 

U.S. Postage Stamp Will Honor Edmonia Lewis, a Sculptor Who Broke the Mold

As a Native American, Black and Roman Catholic woman, Lewis overcame prejudice to become a sought-after sculptor in late 19th-century Europe

One reader wonders what graffiti was like before spray paint.

Ask Smithsonian

What Did Graffiti Look Like Before Spray Paint and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Being the Ricardos features Nicole Kidman (left) as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem (right) as Desi Arnaz.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Being the Ricardos'

Aaron Sorkin's new film dramatizes three pivotal moments in the lives of comedy legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Titled Avant-Garde, the monumental shaped canvas alludes to Liu as a “guard” of a socialist reality she did not condone.

The Revolutionary Portraiture of Hung Liu

For this large-scale retrospective of the Asian American artist, who died this summer, east meets west in an exquisite collision

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Josephine Baker's remains will be reinterred at Paris' Panthéon on November 30.

Performer Josephine Baker to Be First Black Woman Buried at Paris' Panthéon

The talented entertainer, activist and spy will be the fifth woman accorded one of France's highest honors

Chuck Close Self-Portrait, dye diffusion transfer prints, 1989

Chuck Close, Artist Whose Photorealist Portraits Captivated America, Dies at 81

The painter, who faced accusations of sexual harassment later in life, continuously changed his artistic style

Shaped mostly like a diamond, Washington, D.C. is organized by geographical divides centered on the U.S. Capitol and the White House, using mathematical principles employed by the original designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant.

Track the Hidden Histories Lurking in the Street Names of Washington, D.C.

A new exhibition highlights the people behind some of the capital city’s roadways, plazas and parks

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