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May 2011

Smithsonian May 2011

Opening Announcements, Cover, Contents

Departments:From the Editor, Letters, Wild Things, Indelible Images

Departments:Your, Phenomena, This Month in History

Departments:Around the Mall, From the Castle, Behind the Scenes

Departments:The Object at Hand, Making History, What’s Up

Lost City of the Maya

Now overgrown by jungle, the ancient site of El Mirado was once the thriving capital of the Maya civilization.

By Chip Brown


In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake and its tsunami shook the very foundations of Japanese culture and society.

By Joshua Hammer

The Triumph of Dr. Druker

An oncologist’s determination to develop a new treatment for a deadly cancer led to a breakthrough that is transforming medicine.

By Terence Monmaney

By the Shores of Gitch Gumee

Immortalized by Longfellow, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is still worth celebrating, from its rocky cliffs to its Gilded Age cabins.

By Jonathan Kandell

Faithful Monuments

California’s early Spanish missions stand as poignant reminders of the state’s fraught past.

By Jaime Katz

A Garden Through Time

Ten centuries of Japanese landscape design unfold at South Florida’s Morikami Museum.

By Thomas Swick

Have Meme, Will Travel

The author explores a parallel universe where ideas replicate, mutate and evolve like genes.

By James Gleick

The Last Page

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