Travel

Las Salinas in Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Puerto Rico

These Salt Flats in Puerto Rico Are Cotton-Candy Pink

The distinct color of Las Salinas comes from a combination of algae, bacteria, salt and water

A fossilized Modocia typicalis trilobite from Utah

Five Places to See Trilobites in the United States

In a new book, fossil collector Andy Secher takes readers on a worldwide trek of trilobite hotspots

"This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World," featuring Alicia Eggert's stunning 2019-2020 neon sculpture, is on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Craft World Is Undergoing a Democratization

In a new show at the Renwick Gallery, maker’s art is having a renaissance moment, with works that reveal powerful persistence and resilience

Located alongside New Jersey’s southernmost point, Cape May is a stunning Victorian shore community that once played a role in guiding Black enslaved laborers to freedom.

The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2022

From the alleged birthplace of Paul Bunyan to the original gateway to Yellowstone, these towns are buzzing with activity

The Blue-Haired Fairy and the Talking Cricket try to make Pinocchio drink a medicine in an illustration for the children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi (1826-1890).

Who Was Pinocchio's Mysterious Blue-Haired Fairy?

Author Carlo Collodi may have drawn inspiration from one—or a few—female figures in his life

Adorned in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, Victoria Franco takes part in a protest near Los Angeles City Hall on March 19, weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

How Ukrainian and Russian Immigrants View the War From Afar

To residents of Southern California with ties to the Eastern European nations, the conflict feels close to home

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of wood.” An Italian tradition, epitomized by the fictional Geppetto, continues at Bartolucci’s shop in Florence.

The Real Story of Pinocchio Tells No Lies

Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood

The Great Hall boasts works by nearly 50 American painters and sculptors.

What Makes the Library of Congress a Monument to Democracy

The world’s largest book repository has expanded far beyond its original scope to include sound recordings and digitized collections

Olive Trees With Yellow Sky and Sun, oil on canvas, 1889. Van Gogh painted several of his most famous works while at the asylum, including his Iris series and The Starry Night.

When van Gogh Spoke for the Trees

A new exhibition of lesser known works during a pivotal time sheds light on his budding genius

Some 1,500 rhesus macaques live a mile off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico on Cayo Santiago.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican Island Where 1,500 Monkeys Rule

The Caribbean Primate Research Center on Monkey Island is one of the world’s top institutions for studying primate behavior

All are welcome at Papunya Tula's art centers.

Australia's Western Desert Art Movement Turns 50

Since 1972, hundreds of artists have painted under the guidance of Papunya Tula, one of the most respected players in the world of Indigenous art

Cookbook author Grace Young set out to raise awareness of the struggle that Chinatown's business owners were facing, recording her “Coronavirus Stories”—short on-the-spot video interviews with members of the community.

Grace Young, Who Documented the Toll of Anti-Asian Hate on NYC's Chinatown, Receives Julia Child Award

A $50,000 grant is awarded to the culinary historian for her advocacy of Chinese-American culture and cuisine

The natural colors of a stoneware tea bowl from Japan and dating to 1510-1530 "speak of the spaces where Zen Buddhists practiced," says the Reverend Inryū Bobbi Poncé-Barger, a priest for the All Beings Zen Sangha in Washington, D.C.

How to Find Wholeness in the Cracks of a 16th-Century Tea Bowl

A new exhibition, “Mind Over Matter,” invites viewers to pause and connect with the teachings of Zen Buddhism

Guánica 1929 was one of Puerto Rico’s first inns established under the U.S. government.

Puerto Rico

How a Network of Family-Owned Inns in Puerto Rico Is Preserving the Island's Culture

In beach towns and mountain villages, 'paradores' provide guests a truly authentic experience

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture acquired three works by Elizabeth Catlett, representing the artist's impassioned devotion to the dignity, struggle and uplift. 

A Trio of Elizabeth Catlett Sculptures Convey the Power of Service to Humanity

Regarded as “guardians of the Black narrative,” the artworks greet visitors to NMAAHC’s Heritage Hall

Dance of the Heyoka by Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota), 1954

Who Gets to Define Native American Art?

A pivotal letter from Oscar Howe, whose work is the focus of a new exhibition, demanded the right to free expression and the art world began to listen

Since 2017 when the Smithsonian Institution launched its first Earth Optimism Summit, marine biologist Nancy Knowlton notes that positive change is happening. “The price of renewable energy is cheaper than ever, electric vehicles are finally on the verge of taking off, and the world seems ready to protect 30 percent of its lands and water,” she says.

A New Surge of Earth Optimism Takes Center Stage at This Year's Folklife Festival

The challenges are many, but evidence shows that positivity emboldens global conservation efforts

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.

Puerto Rico's unofficial national dish usually consists of fried green plantains mashed with garlic, chicharrón (deep-fried pork skin) and cilantro.

Puerto Rico

A Brief History of Puerto Rico's Beloved Mofongo

And how you can make the hearty, 'crunchy-soft' meal

Emily Erdos, Harvard, Massachusetts, United States 

A map is supposed to symbolize travel, discovery, and possibility, almost all of which COVID-19 has suppressed. I don’t know what comes next, or which metaphorical life turn to take during this time of perpetual uncertainty. As a friend once wrote to me, a map has a quality of authority: Follow the directions, stick to the rules, don’t digress, and you will get to where you want to go. In this time, we all tried to follow the rules, to follow the map, and yet we still got (or are getting) lost in a new normal. 

But maps can encapsulate virtual as well as physical realities. They can symbolize home as much as “awayness.” For me, home is a place, but it’s also people. During the pandemic, those people have been spread across the globe, and my only connection to them is through a screen. So my map is a series of mini, virtual, people-centered maps. Knowing that the person behind each map has their own world and journey gives me comfort. Even more so knowing that those journeys, though currently only virtually connected, will physically intersect again someday.

This Pandemic Mapping Project Shows How Covid-19 Transformed Our Worlds

Hundreds of homemade maps reveal how people from around the globe found their ways through crisis

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