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A peek into our collections, one object at a time
Basquiat's Presence Continues To Loom Large in Modern Art
More than 30 years after his death, Jean-Michel Basquiat remains a strong presence in modern art.
Keys to the Future
Octavia Butler was a master storyteller and considered the godmother of Afrofuturism.
Art That Bridges Cultures
Chiura Obata's artwork captures the "Great Nature" of the American West.
Serving Up Holiday Classics
The iconic casserole dish with military roots.
Sometimes a belt is more than fashion—it can tell a story.
It's Alive! It's Alive!
The story of Frankenstein has been told many times—even in comics.
The Latina Pilot Who Broke Barriers
Having earned more than a dozen awards, Maj. Marisol Chalas is the first Latina National Guard Black Hawk helicopter pilot.
Stay Sharp This School Year
Decades after it was first introduced, this pencil sharpener can still be found in classrooms across the U.S.
Rolling With the Women of Roller Derby
The fun and rough-and-tumble sport of roller derby.
The Elusive Furry Pink Fairy Armadillo
Furry and the smallest of all armadillos, the pink fairy armadillo can fit in the palm of your hand.
The Eagle Has Landed
The Apollo 11 patch is the only one in NASA's history that doesn't include the astronauts' names.
Pigs in Spaaaaaace
The Muppet Show's
Swinetrek parody of
Lost in Space
and other space-themed shows of the 1960s and ’70s featured this extra.
We Want the Funk!
Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip, and come on up to the Mothership.
Meet the Smithsonian Secretary Who Studied the Sun
The Smithsonian’s fifth Secretary Charles G. Abbot (from 1928–1944) was particularly interested in solar changes.
Adding Insult to Extinction
A triceratops had a very bad day.
Hang Ten With Surfing Legend Duke Kahanamoku
Surf's up! A dive into the legacy of the "Big Kahuna," considered the father of modern surfing.
Mermaid or Manatee?
The resemblance is uncanny....It may seem absurd now, but centuries ago manatees were mistaken for mermaids.
First-Ever Image of a Black Hole
Captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, this image reveals the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87.
Cixi, the Last Empress Dowager of China
From concubine to empress: Cixi effectively ruled China for nearly 50 years.
Vera Rubin: Lifelong Astronomer
Rubin is best known for finding evidence of dark matter.
such as the 19th-century
pictured here, came to symbolize a woman’s individuality and entrance into society.
Pepón Osorio created “El Chandelier” for a performance that explored the life of a Puerto Rican woman living in New York.
Bond, James Bond: Ornithologist
The Smithsonian collections contain bird specimens that the real James Bond collected in the Caribbean.
A Patently Better Egg
Building a better frying pan—a complete one-pan breakfast.
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