One Smithsonian

Addressing complicated issues and global problems such as zoonotic diseases, climate change, and the rapid loss of natural resources resulting from human activities and population pressures requires work that spans disciplines and organizational boundaries. The Smithsonian’s potential to tackle complex challenges, as well as to innovate in design, technology, and other pursuits, is greatest when our museums, galleries, Zoo, research centers, education centers, and mission-support offices work together as One Smithsonian.

This section of the Dashboard highlights forward-thinking, interdisciplinary, and cross-Smithsonian activities that tackle pressing issues and chart new paths that the Smithsonian is particularly well suited to address due to its unique combination of science, history, art, and culture experts and global partnerships. Learn more at Smithsonian Global, Smithsonian Insider, and Join the conversation at Second Opinion.

The Long Conversation

The Long Conversation

On Friday, Dec. 1, the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building was the scene of a radically different Smithsonian experience—a seven hour conversation consisting of a relay of short, unmoderated, two-person dialogues, unified by a common question: What makes you optimistic about the future? Conversationalists from all walks of life included musician Yo-Yo Ma; Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser; writer for The Atlantic Frank Foer; Director of Harvard’s Center for the Environment Daniel Schrag; neuroscientist Cori Lathan; and Latinx comic-book writer Gabby Rivera. Watch The Long Conversation here.

Buddha, China, Tang dynasty (618–907), hollow-core lacquer with pigment and gilding

Interplay of Science and Art at the Sackler

A new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Secrets of the Laquer Buddha, uses X-radiography, computerized tomography, X-ray fluorescence analysis, scanning electron microscope, and other methods to provide insights into the lacquer process used in sixth- and seventh-century China. Visitors can peer into the science behind the art of ancient lacquer used in three extremely rare life-sized Chinese Buddha sculptures from the Freer Gallery of Art, Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Players from the Tampa Smokers

Latinos and Baseball

The National Museum of American History is collaborating with the Smithsonian Latino Center, Smithsonian Affiliations and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, along with 10 partner organizations, to carry out the Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues initiative. The multi-year initiative and community collecting project builds on a growing body of original research, oral histories and collections that document the impact Latino communities have had on American history and culture through the sport.