Pop culture

A boy riding his bike while delivering newspapers with his dog in tow, 1970s

What Ever Happened to the Neighborhood Paperboy?

To mark the premiere of Amazon's "Paper Girls," we delved into the surprisingly murky history of bicycle-riding newspaper carriers

A still from “Squid Game”

How Korean Pop Culture Took the World by Storm

A new exhibition will explore the rise of South Korean fashion, movies, music and more

Donald Duck title card art, circa 1942

How Disney Propaganda Shaped Life on the Home Front During WWII

A traveling exhibition traces how the animation studio mobilized to support the Allied war effort

A scene from "Light and Magic"

Art Meets Science

This Visual Effects Studio Transformed Movies Forever

A new documentary tells the story of Industrial Light and Magic, the pioneering team that brought films like "Star Wars" and "Jurassic Park" to life

Frontispiece; Title Page (1893), Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris for the Kelmscott Press

Medieval Art's Enduring Hold on Pop Culture

In a new exhibition at the Getty, prints and paintings from the Middle Ages sit beside pop culture artifacts

The Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland in California

Disney Reveals Rebranding for Controversial Splash Mountain Ride

Come 2024, the attraction—inspired by the racist 1946 movie "Song of the South"—will be reimagined as Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Austin Butler as Elvis in the new biopic

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind Baz Luhrmann's 'Elvis'

The new film dramatizes the life and legend of Elvis Presley from the perspective of his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker

My Comrade documented the early careers of some of today’s most famous drag queens.

The Zine That Documented Drag’s Campy Coming of Age

The queer publication shone a joyous light on an underground culture during the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS crisis

Left: Photo of the dress from a Bonhams auction listing. Right: Father Gilbert Hartke with the gifted garment

There’s No Place Like Home—but What’s the Right Place for Dorothy's Dress From 'The Wizard of Oz'?

Donated to the head of Catholic University’s drama department in 1973, the garment's ownership is now at the center of a legal dispute

Haribo products are available in more than 100 countries, with 160 million Goldbears leaving factory floors around the world every day.

The Colorful History of Haribo Goldbears, the World's First Gummy Bears

2022 marks the centenary of the German candy company's flagship product

Shania Twain performs during the Zurich Film Festival in September 2021. 

What Do Pop Stars Have That One-Hit Wonders Don't

A new study finds that artists who had creative portfolios before an initial hit were more likely to continue creating hits

Actress Blake Lively wore a Statue of Liberty–inspired gown whose copper bow unfurled into a blue-green train.

Gilded Age Excess Lived on at the 2022 Met Gala

Celebrities paid tribute to the era of extravagance through gold-adorned ensembles, splashy headdresses and more

At the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the story of the Watergate whistleblower Martha Mitchell (detail, oil on canvas, Jan De Ruth, 1970) from Pine Bluff, Arkansas—who pundits dubbed the "Mouth of the South"—is revisited in a new exhibition, "Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue."

Martha Mitchell Was the Brash 'Mouth of the South' That Roared

A portrait reveals the dignity behind the maligned woman who stepped up to tell the truth

View of the Space Needle and the Century 21 Exposition fairgrounds in Seattle in 1962

The Rise and Fall of World's Fairs

Sixty years after Seattle's Century 21 Exposition, world's fairs have largely fallen out of fashion in the U.S.

An original illustration from a children’s book, I Dissent, No I Dissent, depicts Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia—opposites in ideology, politics and jurisprudence—facing off against each other. 

New Artifacts Document the Soaring Popularity of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Smithsonian bestows its Great Americans Award on the former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Just as Wordle has its share of detractors today (a phenomenon only magnified by social media), a look back at newspaper reports from the 1920s shows that the crossword faced its own number of critics.

A Century Before Wordle Went Viral, Crossword Mania Swept the Country

In the 1920s, puzzling inspired a Broadway musical, built a publishing house and counted the queen of England as a fan

A western-style performance outfit worn by Patsy Cline and sewed by her mother. The suit features record-shaped patches stitched with the titles of some of Cline's records.


 

Women Who Shaped History

When Patsy Cline Broke Through as a Country Music Phenom

The recording star sported a homemade suit as spectacular as her voice

Set to an asking price of $200 million, Pop artist Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is poised to become the most expensive 20th-century painting sold at auction.

Iconic Andy Warhol Portrait of Marilyn Monroe Could Sell for Record-Breaking $200 Million

One of the artist’s "Shot Marilyns," the sage blue silkscreen could become one of the most expensive 20th-century paintings ever sold at auction

Lucille Ball in 1938

Women Who Shaped History

Who Was the Real Lucille Ball?

"I Love Lucy" is having a moment—but we're still not ready to see its star and creator clearly

With the world on the brink of destruction, three of the earliest comic book superheroes (above: an array of 1940s covers from the Smithsonian collections) joined in the war effort, hawking bonds, boosting morale and entertaining troops.

Before the Riddler, Batman's Archenemy Was Hitler

A Smithsonian collection of vintage Golden Age comic books tells a story of WWII propaganda, patriotism and support of the war effort

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