Smithsonian

Nick Pyenson, the Smithsonian Institution’s curator of fossil marine mammals, compares the skeletons of ancient whales to the life-sized model of a North Atlantic right whale displayed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Whales have been evolving for more than 50 million years, and long before becoming ocean-dwelling giants, the earliest cetaceans walked on land. 

This Cliff Face Is Packed With Fossilized Whale Remains

An exposed prehistoric seafloor is a hotspot for relics, and now an international team is helping unravel their mysteries

The life-size exhibit presents an inclusive vision of women excelling in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Smithsonian Honors Female Scientists With 120 Bright Orange Statues

The 3-D–printed figures will be displayed on the National Mall in celebration of Women's History Month

Smithsonian's most-read stories of 2021 included an explainer on crocodile evolution, a profile of a teen inventor and a feature on Viking explorer Gudrid the Far Traveler.

Our Top Ten Stories of 2021

From archaeological finds to an invasive weed to Roman bathrooms, these were our most-read articles of the year

This 16th- or 17th-century copper alloy plaque—one of the ten Benin Bronzes removed from view—depicts a high-ranking warrior flanked by musicians and a page holding a ceremonial sword.

History of Now

Why the Smithsonian's Museum of African Art Removed Its Benin Bronzes From View

Displaying the looted artworks does "a huge amount of harm,” says director Ngaire Blankenberg, who has affirmed her commitment to repatriating the objects

In October, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History displayed this vandalized, bullet-ridden marker—one of three placed at the Mississippi site where, in 1955, police found the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

Why Museums Are Primed to Address Racism, Inequality in the U.S.

Smithsonian leaders discuss how the Institution can be a powerful place for investigating and addressing society’s most difficult issues

A humpback whale feeds on sand lance in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Some Whales Can Eat Upwards of 16 Tons of Tiny Shrimp a Day

The giant mammals consume enormous quantities of marine organisms, three times more than previously thought, then their poop fertilizes the sea

The internationally recognized paper artist Jiyong Chung works in the Korean craft of Joomchi (above: Balance IV, detail), a technique that was born of necessity centuries ago.

Three Craft Artists Share How the Pandemic Has Reshaped Life and Art

Traditional and innovative specialists make ready for the upcoming virtual Smithsonian Craft Show and Sale

Flight attendant Lorraine Bay carefully recorded every flight she worked in this log book, found near the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

September 11

Thirty-One Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11

From a Pentagon rescuer's uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy

Simone Biles (pictured) and Naomi Osaka, both Black athletes at the top of their sports, have been vocal about their struggles with mental health.

Race in America

The Relationship Between Race and Wellness Has Never Been More Pressing

A new Smithsonian initiative kicks off this week with a virtual summit examining these urgent issues

Inventive and egalitarian, the Arts and Industries Building is due to open in November after being closed for nearly two decades.

Smithsonian 175

The Storied Past and Inspiring Future of the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building

It was once the Institution's most forward-looking museum. Soon it will be again

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Smithsonian 175

Institutional Memories: 175 Years of the Smithsonian

Get to know the history of the cherished museum and research complex

Two American bison grazed in a paddock behind the Castle. A few years later, in 1891, they joined the first animals at the new National Zoo.

Smithsonian 175

Secretary Lonnie Bunch Reflects on the Smithsonian's 175th Birthday

The Institution's leader looks back on a vibrant history—and ahead to the next two museums

This pre-Inca chest ornament dates to between roughly 800 B.C. and 1 A.D. In 1986, the City of Cusco selected the disc's design as its official symbol and coat of arms.

A Golden Symbol of National Identity Returns to Peru

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has sent an ancient, pre-Inca breastplate back home

Michael Collins' NASA astronaut portrait.

Smithsonian Voices

Remembering Michael Collins

As the third director of the National Air and Space Museum, the former astronaut campaigned for a museum on the Mall in time for the nation’s bicentennial

Beginning next month, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person.When the Zoo opens on May 21, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person. But fair warning—he might be napping.

Smithsonian Announces the Zoo and Seven Museums Open in May

You'll finally be able to see the baby panda in person; here's our comprehensive list of what's on view and tips for visiting

In “Deep Time,” curators used each fossil, including the sea scorpion Eurypterus lacustris, to weave a detailed timeline of Earth’s history.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What Makes for a Great Museum Exhibition

A well-curated show makes the unknown feel familiar—and reveals the unexpected

In makeshift home laboratories, a team of scientists discovered that cotton flannel is the optimal fabric, and their latest study says that the moisture from our breath makes the mask more effective.

How to Build a Better Homemade Face Mask, According to Science

When Covid-19 hit, Smithsonian researchers set up makeshift home laboratories to conduct groundbreaking studies on mask fabric materials

Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji experiences snow for the first time just beyond his indoor exhibit on Sunday. Though he did not venture further, his parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian played around outside.

Watch Giant Pandas and Other Zoo Animals Frolic in the Snow

The weekend's winter snowfall in Washington, D.C. delighted the giant pandas, red pandas, Andean bears and other critters at the National Zoo

“A key tenet of ... constitutional democracy is the peaceful transfer of power following U.S. presidential elections, dating back to the republic’s first presidential election,” said Anthea Hartig, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, in a statement. “This week, that core belief was shaken.”

History of Now

How the Smithsonian and Other Museums Are Responding to the U.S. Capitol Riot

Leading institutions have started collecting artifacts and working to contextualize last week's violent attack

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Smithsonian Voices

Why the Smithsonian Is Encouraging Americans to Talk More Openly About Race

In a year marked by calls to reckon with America’s racial past, the Smithsonian is taking a big step toward helping the nation heal

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