Smithsonian Debuts New Podcast “Sidedoor”

Series Explores the Unexpected Overlaps in Science, Art, History and Culture
October 26, 2016
News Release
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“Sidedoor” takes a deep dive into the kind of stories only the Smithsonian can tell. Now available for download, the podcast draws on the Smithsonian’s vast resources of museums, research centers and world-renowned experts to make surprising connections between seemingly unrelated stories.

Each episode features three distinct stories that are connected by a common theme such as deception, conflict, identity or bending the rules. The debut episode, “Tech Yourself,” explores how a cultural anthropologist sees the impact of the “selfie,” a contemporary artist’s use of computer simulations to critique humanity, and how railroads and factories pushed society toward adopting standardized time. The second episode, “Special Delivery,” now also available for download, covers orangutan prenatal care, the U.S. Postal Service’s foray into missile-delivered mail, and how to tell a joke like the legendary comedian Phyllis Diller.

“Sidedoor” is hosted and produced by Smithsonian employee Tony Cohn and Smithsonian Digial Studio podcast producer Megan Detrie who were inspired by the diversity of knowledge held by the Smithsonian’s many experts who, in addition to studying the museums’ vast collections of art, history, science and culture, are also active researchers working in 120 countries. “Sidedoor” will air eight episodes in its first season; new episodes will debut every two weeks.

“Telling great stories has always been central to the Smithsonian mission,” Cohn said. “A podcast is a natural next step to reach new audiences and expose them to the many interesting stories the Smithsonian’s experts can tell. We want to help people connect the dots to a larger picture and have some fun while doing it.” 

Listeners can download the podcast on iTunes or stream it on The full episode schedule is:

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