Smithsonian Cares

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The Smithsonian is supporting and helping our country in a time of great need. Even though our buildings are closed, the Smithsonian is here for you from home with vast digital resources. Education teams are providing distance learning resources to support and stay connected with the communities we serve, including caregivers, students, and teachers. Smithsonian scientists, curators, and historians are sharing their expertise through video and online events. New content is being added daily by web and social media teams.

We hope that you will feel connected to the power of art, history, and culture, inspired by the quest to understand the natural world around us, and emboldened by the Smithsonian as we document and explore.

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Sharing Our Work and Knowledge

Meet some of the directors, curators, scientists, animal keepers, and others who make up the Smithsonian community.

Ellen Stofan, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum, shares what the Smithsonian means to her and the impact our museum can have on people around the world.

Melanie Adams, director of the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum, speaks of the power of community as the world grapples with COVID-19. The museum is collecting and amplifying stories of community support and care through Moments of Resilience.

Sewing machines are now in the front line of defense against the pandemic as people around the world are making masks for themselves and health care workers. This is not the first time that people have organized sewing circles for a cause. Museum Theater Specialist Julie Garner takes us back 180 years.

Dr. Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History, shares her experiences combining parenting with fieldwork in Kenya.

Brian Cannon of Smithsonian's National Zoo walks through the process of making unique cakes for our giant pandas that are both delicious and nutritious.

Noriko Sanefuji, Museum Specialist at the National Museum of American History, discusses World-War-II-era artifacts that represent community life of incarcerated Japanese Americans and reveal the complexities of living in the camps and striving to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

Shannon Brogdon-Grantham discusses why she cares so much for her work as a photograph and paper conservator at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute.

What is an illuminated manuscript? Allie Alvis, special collections reference librarian for the Smithsonian Libraries, shares the answer, plus names one of her favorite books in our two million+ collection.

Even George Washington’s Spy Master worked from home! See the secrets of his portable desk revealed in this from home video by Bethanee Bemis, a political history museum specialist at the National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Geologist Liz Cottrell fields your inquiries about super volcanoes (specifically Yellowstone!) and skunks. See more in the video series "The Doctor Is In."

Dr. Vera Korasidis, a palynologist at the National Museum of Natural History, explores how we use fossil plants to understand how Earth's climate has changed in different places over time.

Kim Komatsu, Ecosystem Conservation Ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, reveals how bacteria can help farmers in an episode of Nature Brain, videos that deliver weird and surprising science to your brain in two minutes or less.

With many restaurants closed, pantry staples are splaying a starring role in dinner preparation. National Museum of American History Curator Peter Liebhold tells the story of the fascinating woman behind those cans of tomatoes.

Emily Jacobson works as a paper conservator at the Freer and Sackler. In this video, Emily explains how to study and conserve gold used in Islamic manuscripts, such as Qur'ans found in our collections.

Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) historian Hannah Byrne runs through five easy steps to help you get started doing oral history at home. For more tips about what questions to ask and how to ask them, head to the SIA website.

National Museum of the American Indian Cultural Interpreter, Michaela Pavlat (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), demonstrates a string game. See additional examples of using string games in storytelling.

Dr. Virginia Mecklenburg, Chief Curator, Smithsonian American Art Museum, discusses American resilience and the Great Depression.

National Air and Space Museum space history curator Margaret Weitekamp discusses the science fiction TV show Babylon 5 and how it is represented in our collection.

National Museum of Natural History Paleontologist Scott Evans explains that even an imperfect fossil can unlock a wealth of information.

Exhibition specialist John Piper, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, walks us through creating a Whistler designed frame..

Archivist Jennifer Morris and artist, community historian, and donor Dianne Dale discuss how the Dale-Patterson Family Collection tells the story of four generations, giving context to the larger story of the Anacostia community.

Brittany Hance, a photographer at the National Museum of Natural History, shares some fabulous images and explores some of the many important reasons why our museum has a Photo Services Team.

Folk culture and popular culture are often seen as polar opposites. However, both rely heavily on formulas and conventions. In this short video, Smithsonian folklorist James Deutsch explains more.

Smithsonian American Art Museum media conservator Dan Finn and Steven Zucker discuss preserving Nam June Paik's "Electronic Superhighway."

National Air and Space Museum aeronautics curator Jeremy Kinney discusses a slightly unusual part of our collection—Gilmore the flying lion.

Curator Frank Feltens from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art discusses Hokusai's piece, "Breaking Waves."

Museum Specialist and music enthusiast Timothy Anne Burnside tells us what music means to her and a bit about her work at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Why is preserving cultural heritage so important to the Smithsonian Libraries? Vanessa Haight Smith, head of the Libraries’ preservation department, answers that question and more!

National Air and Space Museum space history curator Margaret Weitekamp talks about the mothership model used in filming of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Erin Stromberg tells how the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s primate keepers train our gorillas and orangutans—like Iris, featured here—to participate in their own preventative health care.

Linsey Haram, postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, answers the question, "Can animals live in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?"

Dr. Sarah Newman, James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Dr. Beth Harris discuss Superman, World War II, and the Japanese-American experience through artist Roger Shimomura.

Jeff Place, Smithsonian archivist and producer, talks about working with the Pete Seeger Collections over the last thirty years and the publication of “Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection” in 2019. 

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Archaeologist Dr. Ashley Sharpe talks about the Punta Blanca archaeological site.

Hall Wallace, Curator of Electricity Collections at the National Museum of American History, shows how a 1960s Dolby Noise Reduction Machine worked.

Smithsonian's National Zoo keeper Heather Anderson shows why blue-billed curassows are one of her favorite bird species.

Smithsonian folklorist and curator Betty J. Belanus talks about American ginseng. Her project “American Ginseng: Local Knowledge, Global Roots” is part of the Earth Optimism program for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center parasite biologist Katrina Lohan talks about parasites in the food web and the astounding number and diversity of parasites on Earth.

A conversation with Dr. Anne Showalter, Digital Interpretation Specialist, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Dr. Beth Harris about Jaune Quick-To-See Smith's work "State Names."

Karma Nanglu always knew that he wanted to study animals. Now, as a paleontologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, he studies the animals from the Cambrian Period (541-484 million years ago).

Laura La Beur, a marine science educator at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida, discusses the importance of sustainable aquaculture in presenting the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems exhibit at the St. Lucie County Aquarium.

Malcolm Collum, the Engen Conservation Chair and Chief Conservator at the National Air and Space Museum, and conservator Lauren Horelick discuss the Museum's principles of restoration, conservation, and preservation.

National Air and Space Museum space history curator David DeVorkin answers the question "What is space science?"

Marc Valitutto, wildlife veterinarian at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, talks about studying infectious disease in different species to help prevent and predict pandemics.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Paleontologist Advait Jukar explains how the origins of Africa’s Grevy’s zebra can actually be traced back 2.5 million years ago to North America.

Discover more Smithsonian videos »