More than 315 billion pounds of plastic pollute our oceans, including the Great Pacific trash vortex, a vast patch of plastic debris that some estimates calculate as being twice the size of the continental United States. This horrifying fact is embodied, quite literally, in dramatic sculptures of marine life made entirely from plastic trash collected from beaches. Continue reading Washed ashore: Art to Save the Sea
We all hear about the superstars—the colleagues who make scientific breakthroughs or uncover brilliant young artists or unravel historic mysteries—but what about those colleagues who do exceptional work at indispensable jobs that never make the news? Meet this year’s Unsung Heroes, Smithsonian staff who, day in and day out, make the Smithsonian a great Institution. Continue reading Going the Extra Mile Every Day: The 2016 Unsung Hero Awards
As the U.S. moves to normalize relations with Cuba, Secretary Skorton discusses the Smithsonian’s long history with the island nation and offers some insight into our future plans there. Continue reading Viejos amigos: The Smithsonian and Cuba
From its earliest origins as a Roman festival of spring, May Day has evolved to celebrate everything from pagan fertility to the rights of the working man to a showcase for militaristic strength. Jordan Grant explores the complicated history of the holiday. Continue reading May Day: America’s most traditional, radical, complicated holiday
For the first time in decades, the majestic scimitar-horned oryx will again thunder across the deserts of northern Africa. Continue reading International cooperation makes a comeback
Any Castle worth its sandstone has to be at least a little bit haunted. Our own Castle has seen more than its fair share of sudden death, apparitions and things that go bump in the night. Continue reading Haunted by tragedy…or eccentricity?
“Suspended Animation,” now on view at the Hirshhorn, is an unsettling journey into the digitization of the human experience. Continue reading Take a trip to the Uncanny Valley
You may have heard that an asteroid annihilated the dinosaurs a while back. Do you know what happened next? We know you’re busy, but let Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant director of the National Museum of Natural History, explain the history of life (and death) on Earth in just three minutes. Continue reading The History of Life on Earth in Three Minutes
A vein on the left side of Esperanza’s neck pulses; the fabric of her dress accordions faintly out and in with each breath; her finger twitches and grains of mascara ride eyelids that halfway conceal two smiling eyes. Welcome to the intimacy of slow and the close-up video portraiture of Bo Gehring on view in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery exhibition “Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze.” Continue reading Up close and extremely personal: The video portraiture of Bo Gehring
Legend has it that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. That probably wasn’t such a great idea. Continue reading Note to St. Patrick: Leave the snakes alone, please!