Thomas Jefferson

André Michaux, a French botanist, was an ambitious explorer whose legacy has largely been forgotten.

The Forgotten French Scientist Who Courted Thomas Jefferson—and Got Pulled Into Scandal

A decade before Lewis and Clark, André Michaux wanted to explore the American continent. Spying for France gave him that chance

A statue of Benjamin Bannecker on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, as seen in 2020

History of Now

Meet Benjamin Banneker, the Black Scientist Who Documented Brood X Cicadas in the Late 1700s

A prominent intellectual and naturalist, the Maryland native wrote extensively on natural phenomena and anti-slavery causes

The statue of Hannah Dunston has been vandalized with red paint in recent months

Why Just 'Adding Context' to Controversial Monuments May Not Change Minds

Research shows that visitors often ignore information that conflicts with what they already believe about history

The election of 1800 didn't invent the idea of a peaceful transition of power from one set of ideals to another, but it did engrave the United States into history as a democracy.

Inauguration History

How John Adams Managed a Peaceful Transition of Presidential Power

In the election of 1800, for the first time in U.S. history, one party turned the executive office to another

Former presidents have penned memoirs of varying focus and quality.

A Brief History of Presidential Memoirs

Barack Obama's new autobiography joins a long—but sometimes dull—tradition

Thomas Jefferson, who had suffered great criticism for his religious beliefs, once said that the care he had taken to reduce the Gospels to their core message should prove that he was in fact, a “real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

Why Thomas Jefferson Created His Own Bible

In a new book, Smithsonian curator of religion Peter Manseau tells of how <em>The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth</em> first sparked hot controversy

The third president evidently had a love of vanilla ice cream.

Make Thomas Jefferson's Recipe for Ice Cream

The co-author of the Declaration of Independence also drafted a radical recipe

In the U.S., although Humboldt’s name has vanished, his ideas have not (above: Humboldt in His Library (detail) by Eduard Hildebrandt, 1856).

Alexander von Humboldt

Who Was Alexander von Humboldt?

Smithsonian curator Eleanor Jones Harvey explains why this revolutionary 19th-century thought leader is due for a reconsideration

Clarence Barnes and Craig Wade with the banner in the Wade family home.

How Two 1950s Kids Playing on the Railroad Tracks Found a National Treasure

Sixty years later, curators at the National Museum of American History talked to the brothers who found a relic of the 1800 Adams and Jefferson election

Winnie-the-Pooh dolls owned by A.A. Milne's son Christopher Robin

Get Excited: The New York Public Library Is Launching Its First Permanent Exhibition

Come 2020, new gallery will feature a rotating trove of artifacts drawn from NYPL's 46 million-strong collection of treasures

Monticello's main house and South Wing

Putting Enslaved Families' Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative

An oral history project deepens our understanding of U.S. history by sharing accounts of the community owned by Thomas Jefferson

Kraft advertisement in the Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948

A Brief History of America's Appetite for Macaroni and Cheese

Popularized by Thomas Jefferson, this versatile dish fulfills our nation's quest for the 'cheapest protein possible'

What's the Difference Between Moths and Butterflies and More Questions From Our Readers

You asked, we answered

The Whiskey Rebellion

History of Now

The First Presidential Pardon Pitted Alexander Hamilton Against George Washington

How to handle the Whiskey Rebellion was the first major crisis faced by the new government

A census enumerator's records from the 1790 census, the first-ever to be conducted in the United States.

The First US Census Only Asked Six Questions

America’s founders agreed that the census was important, but it wasn’t long

The United States's version of the Imperial system is based on an older British version.

America Has Been Struggling With the Metric System For More Than 200 Years

The United States is the one of the world's only holdouts at this point, but it could have been the first country outside of France to adopt the system

When the writing box is unfolded, it offers a slanted writing surface, a drawer to hold inkwells and quills, and plenty of room for paper.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

History Was Writ Large on This Desk Belonging to Thomas Jefferson

The ingenuity of this clever writing box was matched only by the young republic's innovative declaration for nationhood

The hearth Hemings may have warmed herself by in Monticello's south wing.

Cool Finds

Sally Hemings Gets Her Own Room at Monticello

A renovation at Thomas Jefferson's estate will give the slave he likely fathered at least six children with a display in what may have been her quarters

Horatio Greenough’s 12-ton marble statue of George Washington heralds the newly reopened west wing gallery.

Renovated Museum Wing Delves Into Untold Chapters of American History

“The Nation We Build Together” questions American ideals through exhibits on democracy, religion, diversity and more

Aaron Burr exhorting his followers at Blennerhassett Island Ohio River 1805

Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and the American Way of Treason

The U.S. had good reason to be cautious about drawing a line between disloyalty and conduct deserving of prosecution

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