Westward Expansion

Angel Rodríguez-Díaz, The Protagonist of an Endless Story, 1993, oil on canvas, 72 x 57 7/8 in. (182.9 x 147.0 cm.)

Smithsonian Voices

How Artists Challenge Mythic Conceptions of the American West

Forty-eight modern and contemporary artists who are reclaiming the narratives of their region

Game developers consulted with historians to create accurate depictions of 19th-century Native American life. The new version features playable Native characters.

Innovation for Good

New 'Oregon Trail' Game Revisits Westward Expansion From Native Perspective

Developers hired three Indigenous historians to help revamp the iconic educational computer game

As part of the nation's westward expansion motives, some Midwesterners wanted to move the capital to St. Louis

The Ill-Fated Idea to Move the Nation's Capital to St. Louis

In the years after the Civil War, some wanted a new seat of government that would be closer to the geographic center of a growing nation

Halahtookit, a Nez Perce man, widely believed to be the son of William Clark.

Ask Smithsonian

Are There Native Descendants of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

Women vote at the polls in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In Wyoming, women were voting fifty years before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920.

100 Years of Women at the Ballot Box

How the American West Led the Way for Women in Politics

Western territories and states were the first to expand voting rights for women

The valiant Inez Milholland, standard-bearer in the nation’s struggle for female enfranchisement, is portrayed here by Isabella Serrano.

100 Years of Women at the Ballot Box

Recreating a Suffragist's Barnstorming Tour Through the American West

Inez Milholland Boissevain's campaign to win the vote for women inspires a dramatic homage a century later

Researchers used these five replica clay pipes to "smoke" tobacco and other native plants.

Early Residents of the Pacific Northwest Smoked Smooth Sumac

Researchers used a new technique to detect the chemical fingerprints of specific plant species in a 1,400-year-old pipe's residue

A storm on the Great Salt Lake in Utah exposed the wreckage of what may be a 100-year-old boat.

Cool Finds

Storm Unearths Wreck of Century-Old Boat in Utah's Great Salt Lake

The vessel may belong to a fleet used to construct and maintain a railroad causeway that crosses the briny body of water

This week's selections include The Women With Silver Wings, Tombstone and The Restaurant.

Books of the Month

A 2,000-Year History of Restaurants and Other New Books to Read

The fifth installment in our weekly series spotlights titles that may have been lost in the news amid the COVID-19 crisis

Archaeologist Kate Kolwicz examines fragments of late 19th-century Chinese pottery unearthed in downtown Missoula.

Remnants of a 19th-Century Red-Light District and Chinatown Unearthed in Montana

A trove of artifacts reveals the town of Missoula's remarkable and diverse past

The Bender family abandoned the scene of their crimes, and their ultimate fate remains unclear.

The Kansas Homestead Where America's First Serial Killer Family Committed Its Crimes Is Up for Sale

Authorities recovered the bodies of up to 11 people from the Old West tract of land owned by the notorious "Bloody Benders"

A map shows Mexico and its provinces—which included Mexican Texas—in 1822.

When Mexico's Immigration Troubles Came From Americans Crossing the Border

Before Texas fought for its independence, thousands of settlers from the east entered the country unlawfully in search of land and agricultural opportunity

The museum will be housed in a former brothel known as the Shasta Room

Deadwood Is Getting a Brothel Museum

A non-profit is telling the local history of prostitution in the Wild West town, popularized by the HBO show of the same name

Iwo Jima by David Levinthal, from the series "History," 2013

What David Levinthal’s Photos of Toys Reveal About American Myth and Memory

A new show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum reflects on iconic events including JFK's assassination, flag raising at Iwo Jima and Custer's last stand

In 1912, sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor created Buffalo (model for Q Street Bridge).

Re:Frame

What Do Bovids, Bridges and the West Have to Do With American Art?

In the debut episode of “Re:Frame,” Smithsonian curators explore the iconic symbol of the West, the American Bison

Cool Finds

Nevada Has a Massive New Dark Sky Sanctuary

The night skies at 100,000-acre Massacre Ridge are some of the starriest in the world

Trending Today

One of the Biggest Locomotives of All Time Rides Again

After five years of restoration, 1.2 million pound Big Boy 4014 is visiting Utah to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike

Crocker's Car heads to Promontory Summit in 1869. The car shuttled railroad president Leland Stanford from Sacramento to officially complete the transcontinental railroad, and probably also carried the iconic Golden Spike to the ceremony.

The Last Remaining Rail Car That ‘Witnessed’ the Transcontinental Railroad’s Momentous Day

‘Crocker’s Car’ brought the tycoon Leland Stanford to connect the East Coast to the West in 1869

Pioneers' Flatboat, originally published in black and white in The Century Magazine (volume 92, May to October, 1916).

Recounting the Untold History of the Early Midwestern Pioneers

In his new book, historian David McCullough reveals how the New England settlers made their mark on the U.S.

Detail of photograph by Eadweard Muybridge

When California Went to War Over Eggs

As the Gold Rush brought more settlers to San Francisco, battles erupted over another substance of a similar hue: the egg yolks of a remote seabird colony

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