Skip to Content

Found 14,305 Resources

đź”´Live at the Museum: Stepping Through Deep Time

Smithsonian Channel
Join host Kallie Moore from PBS Eons and paleontologist Adam Pritchard for an up-close look at unique fossils, including the Nation’s T-Rex, in the newly renovated David H. Koch Hall of Fossils at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time (Premieres June 19 9PM ET) #PBSEons

Ask an Expert -- Pioneers of Flight: Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the "Tingmissartoq"

National Air and Space Museum
Dorothy Cochrane, curator in the Aeronautics Division of the National Air and Space Museum, discusses Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and their exploratory flights in the "Tingmissartoq." This informal gallery talk was recorded on October 6, 2010 as part of the National Air and Space Museum's "Ask an Expert" lecture series "Ask an Expert" lectures are presented weekly at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC and biweekly at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. For more information & schedule, see

‪National Museum of Natural History Main Library grand opening, March 17, 2011‬ (r1)

Smithsonian Libraries
This is a video of the remarks made at the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History's new main library. Featured are Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Wayne Clough, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution, and Cristián Samper, Director, National Museum of Natural History. The video was shot by SIL's Joel Richard (thanks, Joel!), titles and transitions added by Gil Taylor (SIL).

“We Heard a Loud Boom!” - Interview with Miracle on the Hudson Passenger

National Air and Space Museum
Within three minutes of takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese causing the aircraft to lose all engine power. Pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane down into the Hudson River, where all 155 passengers on board were rescued by nearby boats. Passenger Beth McHugh recounts her experience on flight 1549, known as the Miracle on the Hudson.

“Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Artist Tiffany Chung probes the legacies of the Vietnam War and its aftermath through maps, videos, and paintings that highlight the voices and stories of former Vietnamese refugees.

“Taternauts” and Spacesuits: How Astronauts Stay Safe in Space - ISS Science

National Air and Space Museum
In this episode of ISS Science, Astronaut Randy Bresnik walks us through the different parts that make up a spacesuit. Also learn how to make and test your own spacesuit using a potato. Click here for lesson plans:

“Sipping Cider Through A Straw” by Ella Jenkins and Friends

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Purchase 'Camp Songs with Ella Jenkins and Friends' on the Smithsonian Folkways website: Ella Jenkins performs “Sipping Cider Through A Straw” with members of the Old Town School of Folk Music and Tony & Kate Seeger of Camp Killooleet. Find this track and other classic camp songs, rounds, silly songs, and campfire sing-alongs on Camp Songs with Ella Jenkins and Friends, available now About 'Camp Songs': Renowned children’s performer Ella Jenkins has vivid memories of singing at summer camps, and if you were a camper, you must too! She and her friends invite you to share those experiences and celebrate her 60 years as a Folkways artist with this recording. Ella assembled a group of children, parents, and teachers from the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, along with Tony and Kate Seeger from Camp Killooleet, to sing these classic camp songs, rounds, silly songs, and campfire sing-alongs with you. Move along with them and make them your own! Most of all, have fun! 62 minutes, 36-page booklet with song lyrics included.

“Quihubo, Raza” by Agustín Lira and Alma from Songs of Struggle & Hope

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
More info: Smithsonian Folkways presents Songs of Struggle & Hope, featuring songs from the farmworker and Chicano Power Movement of the 1960s as well as new creations that speak to social justice. A powerhouse social activist, Agustín Lira spun out songs that fueled the pioneering political theater group Teatro Campesino. “Quihubo, Raza (What’s Happening, People)” became a Chicano anthem during the 60s, and the title works as both a salutation to the audience and a question about what is happening to them historically.

“On Wings of Love”: Dolly Jacobs & Rafael Palacios

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Award-winning circus aerialists Dolly Jacobs and Rafael Palacios presented their act "On Wings of Love" at the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival under the Big Top on the National Mall. Read more: Producer: Colin Stucki Still photo: Caroline Angelo [Catalog No. CFV10939; Copyright 2017, Smithsonian Institution]

“Mega” Architecture: An Evening with Moshe Safdie

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Architect and 2016 National Design Award winner for Lifetime Achievement Moshe Safdie discusses the four design principles that have guided his work over the past five decades and how they relate to the evolution of architecture in the era of globalization. Safdie sheds light on the ramifications of “megascale” and “megastructure,” examining scale, site, buildability, and purpose in residential, commercial, and institutional projects in the context of the work of contemporary architecture.

“Lessons Learned from the Civil War” with Eleanor Jones Harvey - Summer Institutes Keynote Address

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Eleanor Jones Harvey, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, delivered the keynote address at the 2014 Summer Institutes: Teaching the Humanities through Art. In this talk, Harvey discusses curating her 2012 exhibition, "The Civil War and American Art," and the insights and discoveries she made along the way. Directed to an audience of history and language arts teachers, Harvey discusses the integral role of primary source material to her research, investigates how to “read” a painting, and considers how to engage today’s students with history.

“I Hear the Collection Has Some Giant Ground Sloth Dung" [Live Highlight]

Smithsonian Channel
Watch the Full Livestream: You’ve got paleontological questions; we’ve got answers. Watch our YouTube Livestream with Kallie Moore from PBS Eons and paleontologist Adam Pritchard in the newly renovated David H. Koch Hall of Fossils at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time (Premieres June 19 9PM ET) #PBSEons

“Historia de un Amor” by John Santos Sextet & Bobi Céspedes

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Representing the "Sounds of California" and the Latin jazz of the San Francisco Bay Area, the John Santos Sextet with vocalist Bobi Céspedes took the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage on July 9 at the 2016 Folklife Festival. In the song “Historia de un Amor,” written by Panamanian composer Carlos Eleta Almarán, the ensemble evokes a broken heart after a great love disappears. Percussionist John Santos is also a composer, Afro-Latino music educator, and three-time Smithsonian Folkways producer. Céspedes is a vocalist and composer who specializes in Cuban son and other Afro-Caribbean music and culture. Camera: David Barnes, Andrea Curran, Lillian Schneyer, Ryan Shank, Albert Tong, Charlie Weber, John Wetmore Editor: Ryan Shank Audio Recordist: David Walker This concert was sponsored by the Sakana Foundation. [Catalog No. CFV10833; Copyright 2016 Smithsonian Institution]

“Closing the Cycle”: Sustainable Fashion with Eileen Fisher and Patagonia

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
In conjunction with the exhibition Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse, a discussion with two fashion leaders whose companies are at the forefront of the industry’s sustainability movement. Eileen Fisher, who founded her namesake company in 1984, and Nellie Cohen, Patagonia’s Worn Wear program manager, will explain how their organizations have innovated the reuse of textiles in the production process and transformed “closed cycle” design into a profitable business model. Moderated by Associate Curator of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, Susan Brown.

“Chiura Obata: American Modern” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Chiura Obata ranks among the most significant California-based artists and Japanese American cultural leaders of the last century. Born in Okayama, Japan, Obata immigrated to San Francisco as a teenager in 1903. By then, he was integrating Western practices into his art-making, and continued experimenting with new styles and methods throughout his seven-decade career. As a professor at University of California, Berkeley, and a founder of the East West Art Society, a Bay Area artists’ collective, he facilitated cross-cultural dialogue, despite widespread prejudice against Asian Americans. In 1942, when World War II fears and Executive Order 9066 forced Obata and more than one hundred thousand West Coast Japanese Americans into incarceration camps scattered across the western United States, he created art schools in the camps to help fellow prisoners cope with their displacement and loss. After the war, Obata returned to his callings as a painter, teacher, and cultural ambassador with scars that brought new emotional force to his work.

“Chachme Sia Daare” by Homayoun Sakhi, Salar Nader, Kepa Junkera, and Eneritz Aulestia

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
The second day of the 2016 Folklife Festival ended with a welcome surprise of cross-culture. Homayoun Sakhi and Salar Nader from California invited Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera, along with Sorginak member Eneritz Aulestia, on stage for the conclusion of the concert. Despite a language barrier and no time to rehearse, the blend of Afghan and Basque music seemed to be a natural combination. During their one song together, the two duos traded improvised solos as well as verses in their native languages, Dari and Euskara. The collaboration proved that sharing and experiencing cultures is a positive, worthwhile mission. Videography: Andrea Curran, Joshua Davis, Caleb Hamilton, Lillie Schneyer, Ryan Shank, Abby Sternberg Editing: Ryan Shank [Catalog No. CFV10818; Copyright 2016 Smithsonian Institution]

“Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975” at Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum
"Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975" examines the contemporary impact of the Vietnam War on American art and brings together nearly 100 works by fifty-eight of the most visionary and provocative artists of the period. Listen to Melissa Ho, curator of 20th century art, talk about "Artists Respond" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

‘The North Star’ Amplified Black Voices. How a 2019 Reboot of Frederick Douglass’ Paper Hopes to Do the Same

Smithsonian Magazine

Four pages, two dollars, one vision: This is what hope looked like to many Americans in December 1847 when Frederick Douglass’ newspaper, The North Star, first appeared in print. The seasoned journalist, now a global crusader for the cause of abolition, poured profits from his British speaking tour into the start-up enterprise. Working with editor Martin R. Delany and others, Douglass inaugurated the press in Rochester, New York. The newspaper’s title referred to the Underground Railroad’s skyward guide, and the masthead proclaimed: “Right is of no sex–Truth is of no color–God is the father of us all, and all we are brethren.”

That sweeping directive shaped The North Star’s coverage of injustice, which often stretched across the Atlantic to cover the European revolutions of 1848. Foreign or familiar, the cause of freedom filled The North Star’s pages and inspired a transatlantic community of activist readers. “A revolution now cannot be confined to the place or the people where it may commence, but flashes with lightning speed from heart to heart, from land to land, till it has traversed the globe, compelling all the members of our common brotherhood at once, to pass judgment upon its merits,” Douglass wrote in one editorial. Describing events in Paris, his words hit home for Americans. From the beginning, Douglass’s North Star supplied news and nurtured revolution.

Building on that legacy, a modern version of The North Star launches today as a multiplatform media outlet, led by progressive journalists Shaun King and Benjamin P. Dixon, with historian Keisha N. Blain at the helm as editor in chief. Through written content, podcasts, video broadcasts, and an app, the new North Star editorial team plans to explore issues of civil rights, human rights, and social justice in America and around the world. Inspired by Douglass’ focus on “liberty, humanity, progress,” this North Star reboots the idea of grassroots journalism. “In thinking about reviving The North Star, we wanted to meet the needs of someone living in 2019,” Blain says. The North Star platform will provide a new online ecosystem for interpreting news, encouraging dialogue, and providing concrete solutions. “We are unapologetic in our stance, and I think people appreciate that,” Blain says. “If you need the tools to make your work even more effective, come here.”

In the original North Star, Douglass’s call for abolition swelled with each issue. Subscriptions grew to more than 4,000; in 1851 it merged with another abolitionist newspaper, Gerrit Smith’s Liberty Party Paper. Amid the fractious politics of the 1840s and 1850s, which saw the rise of third parties like the Know Nothings and violent clashes in Kansas and Virginia, Douglass’s North Star was a voice of moral authority. Living up to the masthead’s pledge, Douglass swung the paper’s spotlight onto the women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, held in July 1848. “There can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in the making and administering of the laws of the land,” he wrote in a North Star editorial.

The newspaper’s vast mission, which had brought him into contact with diverse activists, worked a deep change in Douglass’ outlook. Shortly before his death, the great orator rose to address the 1888 International Council of Women, the lessons of his long years at The North Star still fresh in his mind. “When I ran away from slavery, it was for myself; when I advocated for emancipation, it was for my people,” Douglass told the crowd. “But when I stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question, and I found a little nobility in the act.”

He gave reform-minded readers an outlet that both rivaled William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator, which Douglass left to start The North Star, and amplified the blossoming political power of the African-American press. Once enslaved himself —in 1838 he fled the Maryland home of his owner and settled in New England—Douglass used his publication to redefine American liberty.

“Frederick Douglass was able to teach himself to read and write over the objections of his overseer and master,” says Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., a descendant of Douglass and Booker T. Washington who serves as director of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. “When he escaped from slavery and began to speak out, he started to build his own strategy for the abolition of slavery. The North Star was a mouthpiece for the enslaved and the oppressed. It was an opportunity for him to speak for the voiceless. The importance of that newspaper in that time cannot be overstated.”

When Frederick Douglass began the newspaper in 1847, he changed the national conversation on race and rights. Douglass, Delany, and publisher William C. Nell carefully curated each issue, with help from transatlantic contributors and relatives who worked in the Rochester newsroom. “We’re proud of that legacy,” Morris says of The North Star’s origins. “It was a family enterprise for sure.”

According to historian Heather Cox Richardson, who studies the political thought and culture of the 19th century, The North Star gave African-Americans a public channel that hadn’t existed before. “Voices that are not heard cannot be included in American debate; they can only be reflected by those others who care about them,” she says. When Douglass chose to leave The Liberator, he turned away from the paternalism of Garrisonian abolitionism, and opened up a new path for the movement. His founding of The North Star signaled a new chapter for both the man and his mission. Frederick Douglass’ leadership of the North Star, along with his shrewd use of new forms of mass media like photography, sent a bold message about the visibility of African-American citizenship. “Only a presence in national debate can change the national narrative,” Richardson says.

Why relaunch The North Star now? “We’re in an incredibly complicated and consequential time politically,” King says. “There are lots of changes that are happening, that people are fighting for on the grassroots level, globally and politically, not just justice reform.” Critically, The North Star also aims to fill what Dixon calls “a big gaping hole” in the current media landscape, by welcoming “black voices and people of color to not only speak on our issues and community, but to speak on all issues.” As The North Star community takes shape, a blend of hope and history bolsters the project’s launch. “We’re telling the narrative from our perspective,” Dixon says. “The time has always been there.”

‘Frost Quakes’ May Have Caused Mysterious Booms in Chicago

Smithsonian Magazine

A biting polar vortex has settled over the Midwest, causing frigid temperatures that have snapped power lines, grounded thousands of flights and led to the deaths of at least eight people. The deep freeze may have also been responsible for the mysterious booms and bangs that gave some Chicago residents a fright in the early hours of Wednesday morning—a phenomenon known as “frost quakes,” according to CNN affiliate WGN9.

The outlet says that after posting about the possible quakes on social media, it received “tons” of responses from people who had heard strange booming noises during the night.

“I was scared and thought it was the furnace,” one Facebook user wrote. “I kept walking through the house. I had everyone’s jackets on the table in case we had to run out of here.”

Frost quakes, also known as “cryoseisms,” happen when underground water freezes and expands (as frozen water is wont to do) quickly. This rapid expansion pushes against soil and rock, causing them to crack, which in turn creates loud booms. According to Live Science’s Rafi Letzter, frost quakes are relatively rare events that require three conditions to occur: rain or melting snow that saturates the ground, a sudden fall in temperature that causes the earth to freeze, and ground that is free of snow, which can insulate the soil from rapid temperature drops.

At least one recent study suggests that these subzero shake-ups could become more common, possibly due to factors related to climate change—in Canada, at least, Letzter writes. With a predicted frequency of warm, wet winter air masses, the ground will remain damp and snow-free more often, so frost quakes will accompany extreme cold snaps when they do occur.

In mid-January, reports of frost quakes also popped up in Indiana and Connecticut when a deep freeze settled in after Winter Storm Harper, reports Brian Donegan for The Weather Channel.

Conditions may have been right for frost quakes to rattle Chicago; according to Melissa Griffin of ABC News, parts of the Midwest were covered with melting snow before being walloped by temperatures that plummeted well below zero. But it will be difficult to confirm if the quakes actually happened; the booms they create may sound powerful, but frost quakes are actually “very small compared to even a small earthquake,” John Bellini, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, tells Alicia Fabbre of the Naperville Sun.

“You’d have to have a seismologer right next to where it occurs,” Bellini adds.

Ben Duebelbeiss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, tells Fabbre that the cracks heard this week could be attributed to factors other than frost quakes, like falling branches or houses creaking in strong gusts of wind. Whatever the case may be, it’s best for those affected by the polar vortex to heed officials’ warning and stay indoors until the bitter cold subside.

​Wild Inside the National Zoo: Sea Mammal Smarts

Smithsonian Channel
To see what's so remarkable about seals and sea lions, dive in with ​caretakers at Smithsonian's National Zoo. They'll show us how they interact with these intelligent creatures and introduce us to a special gray seal who's also a U.S. Navy veteran. From: WILD INSIDE THE NATIONAL ZOO: Sea Mammal Smarts

​Why Do Sea Lions Bark?

Smithsonian Channel
If you're near a sea lion, chances are you'll hear its distinctive bark before you see it. Here, caretakers at Smithsonian's National Zoo explain why they make these sounds and what they're trying to say. From: WILD INSIDE THE NATIONAL ZOO: Sea Mammal Smarts

​How the Great Fire of 1871 Actually Benefitted Chicago

Smithsonian Channel
Though tragic, if it hadn't been for the Great Fire of 1871, it’s unlikely Chicago would have had the opportunity to redesign the city with the modern skyline it has today. From: AERIAL AMERICA: Illinois

​How Well Can Seals and Sea Lions See Underwater?

Smithsonian Channel
Seals and sea lions spend a good chunk of their time underwater. Caretakers at Smithsonian's National Zoo fill us in on how their eyes adapt to sea life. #ZooQs From: WILD INSIDE THE NATIONAL ZOO: Sea Mammal Smarts

​Fascinating: Why Are These Birds So Angry?

Smithsonian Channel
A scientist places a taxidermied bird in monarch flycatcher territory. The live birds are more likely to attack the models that look like them. But why? From: ISLANDS OF CREATION
1-24 of 14,305 Resources