Philanthropy

"The Grave of Bonaparte" sheet music, song and music by L. Heath, as performed by the Hutchinson Family Singers, Boston, 1843. "The Grave of Bonaparte," recalling the French leader who vanquished much of Europe before being defeated, reflected the Hutchinson Family Singers' concern for the cause of freedom abroad as well as at home.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Arts Have Inspired Social Change

Americans have a long tradition of inspiring and elevating movements for change using benefit concerts, song and other artistic traditions

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives invites you to a series of four Adopt-a-Book Salons in March and April.

Smithsonian Voices

Calling All Bibliophiles: Here's How to Adopt a Book

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives invites you to a series of four Adopt-a-Book Salons in March and April

Maggie Lena Walker

Smithsonian Voices

How Maggie Lena Walker Became the First Black Woman to Run a Bank in the Segregated South

Time to reclaim the legacy and success of the first Black woman in the nation to organize and run a bank in the segregated South

Two filmmakers launched a nationwide fundraiser to help save the surviving bars.

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars

Only 15 nightlife spaces dedicated to queer and gay women remain in the United States

Johns Hopkins, founder of the Baltimore university that bears his name, enslaved at least four unnamed men in 1850. Pictured behind Hopkins is the 1850 "slave schedule" with his name (#33, circled in blue) and the enslaved individuals' ages.

New Research

Long Heralded as an Abolitionist, Johns Hopkins Enslaved People, Records Show

The Baltimore university that bears his name announced new research that "shattered" perceptions of the Quaker entrepreneur

"Engaged philanthropy is vital to democracy," writes Smithsonian scholar Amanda B. Moniz, who studies the history of giving in America. Above: charity workers bring groceries to those isolating with symptoms of Covid-19.

The Storied History of Giving in America

Throughout American history, philanthropy has involved the offering of time, money and moral concern to benefit others, but it carries a complicated legacy

In the recent "Portraits" podcast, LL recounts why he turned to a 100-year-old masterpiece of the richest person in modern history—John D. Rockefeller Sr.—for his power pose.

How a Maverick Hip-Hop Legend Found Inspiration in a Titan of American Industry

When LL COOL J sat for his portrait, he found common ground with the life-long philanthropical endeavors of John D. Rockefeller

A wealthy widower built the unusual property over a 36-year period.

Virtual Travel

Take a Free Virtual Tour of the Winchester Mystery House

The California landmark is closed, but you can explore its bizarre architectural features from afar

"It was hot, sweaty, exhausting work. But it was also life-changing and inspiring, channeling our love to do something as simple as this: to feed the people," chef José Andrés writes in We Fed an Island, recounting his nonprofit's effort to feed Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria.

American Ingenuity Awards

José Andrés' Generous Helping of Humanity

Braving storms, floods and earthquakes, the renowned chef is forging a new way to feed the needy

The mostly retired singer-Songwriter Paul Simon told financier and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein that a recent dream has prompted him to work on a new extended piece of music.

Paul Simon Has 50 Ways to Charm an Audience

As the 2019 recipient of the Smithsonian’s Great Americans Medal, the musician divulged he still has one more song to write

On the lid of the two-ounce can of Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, her top-selling product, appears an African-American woman with thick, flowing hair. That woman was Walker herself.

Ingenious Women

How Business Executive Madam C. J. Walker Became a Powerful Influencer of the Early 20th Century

A tin of hair conditioner in the Smithsonian collections reveals a story of the entrepreneurial and philanthropic success of a former washerwoman

"We hope to capture the way artists and the arts help us understand other causes, and how they give their time and talent to support them," says Amanda Moniz, the museum's curator of philanthropy.

These Signature Artifacts Embody the Giving Spirt of Artist-Philanthropists

From Misty Copeland to Lin-Manuel Miranda, a new Smithsonian display spotlights creators who have shaped communities

Pumalin Park

Trending Today

Chile Designates 10 Million Acres of Land as National Parks

Spurred by the donation of 1 million acres of privately owned land, the country is adding two national parks to its system

Madame Pompadour, by Francois Boucher

Madame de Pompadour Was Far More Than a ‘Mistress’

Even though she was a keen politicker and influential patron, she’s been historically overlooked

A suit worn by actor Lin-Manuel Miranda for the popular Broadway hit Hamilton  and a mid-1800s portrait of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton by Daniel Huntington arrive at the Smithsonian.

A Portrait of Eliza Hamilton and a Costume Worn by Lin-Manuel Miranda for 'Hamilton' Arrives at the Smithsonian

Paying homage to the spirit of philanthropy, the museum honors the Eliza Project and the Graham Windham orphanage

J. Ralph (left) and Sting (right), the night's honorees. Visible in the foreground is Sting's 1978 Stratocaster guitar, which is now a part of the Smithsonian collections.

Acclaimed Musicians Sting and J. Ralph Spread Social Justice Through Song

The Smithsonian honors two composers whose work and philanthropy are inextricably linked

Latrines in Bangladesh

New Research

This "Perfume" for Toilets Could Help Improve Sanitation Around the World

The odor-masking scent could help convince people to choose latrines and prevent pollution of waterways with waste

Awaroa Beach

Cool Finds

New Zealanders Just Crowdfunded a New Addition to this National Park

Over 40,000 people donated to buy Awaroa Beach and gift the site to Abel Tasman National Park

David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway preview the “Giving in America" display at the National Museum of American History.

The Day a Bunch of Billionaires Stopped by the Smithsonian

A new effort to study the history of philanthropy is announced and a number of significant charitable contributions are recognized

Melinda Gates, with caregivers in Rampur Bhuligadha, India, says infant deaths can be halved by 2025.

Melinda French Gates on Saving Lives

The co-chair of the world's largest philanthropy talks about what can be done to improve global health and poverty