Greek Lawmakers Approve Macedonia’s New Name

SmartNews Keeping you current The decision brings an end to a 27-year-old conflict and paves the way for the Republic of North Macedonia to join the NATO alliance Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, left, speaks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prior to meeting on the sidelines of EU and Western Balkan heads of state […]

Joshua Tree National Park Closes Due to Damage to Namesake Trees

SmartNews Keeping you current Many national parks remain understaffed during the government shutdown while instances of vandalism and destruction rise (Shay Spatz/National Park Service) smithsonian.com January 2, 2019 | Updated: January 8, 2019 10:13PM Editor’s Note, January 8, 2019: The Associated Press reports that Joshua Tree National Park will be temporarily closed to visitors due to […]

Hike in the Footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt

When Theodore Roosevelt took office as the United States’ 26th president, he was only 42, the youngest president in the history of the nation. He was also a fanatic for the outdoors, and was actually heading back from a hike when his predecessor, President William McKinley, took a turn for the worst after an assassination […]

Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo Close for the U.S. Government Shutdown

Museum buildings and research centers shuttered, most federal employees furloughed, while excepted Zoo staff continue care of the animals All programs and events will be postponed, relocated to non-federal locations or cancelled. All Smithsonian facilities will remain shuttered until the federal government reopens. (Smithsonian Institution) smithsonian.com December 27, 2018 | Updated: an hour ago Editor’s […]

From Opossums to Bologna: Weird Things Cities Drop on New Year’s Eve

Who needs a ball? Cities get creative on New Year’s Eve by dropping objects that reflect local products and culture The Watermelon Drop in Vincennes, Indiana (Vincennes) smithsonian.com December 31, 2014 | Updated: December 31, 2018 7:33PM Around the world, the dawn of a new calendar year is often met with bright fireworks, a little […]

Why the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Makes for a Complicated History

Editor’s Note, December 21, 2018: After receiving much critical feedback on this story, we’ve asked the writer to expand on his thinking and to provide the fuller picture of the legacy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The text below has been updated in multiple places and the headline has been updated as well. One […]

Seven Places Reinventing the Christmas Tree

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as people deck their halls with fir, pine, spruce and other popular conifers. But for some, having a lush evergreen as their holiday showpiece just isn’t enough. Across the country, people are innovating by taking their holiday decorating skills to the next level and using whatever materials […]

The Best Places to See Reindeer Around the World

Reindeer have been synonymous with Christmas since Clement C. Moore published his famous poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” in 1823, but despite Dasher’s and Dancer’s annual house calls, spotting these furry mammals can be a challenge. That’s because reindeer are usually found in the far northern regions of Europe, North America and Asia, areas […]

Looking Back at George H.W. Bush’s Lifelong Career of Public Service

Throughout his nearly 30-year career in government, former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at the age of 94, served in a dizzying number of positions, from Texas state Republican Party chairman to the highest office of the land. In between, he served as a congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of […]

Watch NASA Land the InSight Spacecraft on Mars

Update, 3:02 p.m. EST: The InSight spacecraft has successfully landed on Mars. After entering the atmosphere of Mars at more than five times the speed of sound, the craft’s heat shield, parachute and retrorockets brought it down for a soft touchdown on the Red Planet. The spacecraft sent an image and a signal back to […]

The Woman Who Invented the Green Bean Casserole

Editor’s Note, November 19, 2018: With Thanksgiving approaching, we are resurfacing this October 2018 story about a holiday favorite. This Thanksgiving, some 20 million Americans will tuck into green bean casserole, a culinary classic consisting of just six ingredients: a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, green beans and […]

How Photographer Alfred Wertheimer Captured Elvis Presley’s Kiss

Editors Note, November 16, 2018: In honor of what would have been Alfred Wertheimer’s 89th birthday today. We are resurfacing this interview with the photographer, who died at age 84 in 2014. An exhibition of his photographs of Elvis Presley appeared at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2010 and we interviewed Wertheimer at the […]

The Surprising Origins of Kotex Pads

Editor’s Note, November 9, 2018: With Veterans Day approaching, we are resurfacing this 2017 story about how a World War I invention led to Kotex pads. What’s in a name? For Kotex, the first-ever brand of sanitary napkins to hit the U.S., everything. The disposable sanitary napkin was a high-tech invention (inspired, incidentally, by military […]

Top 10 Real-Life Grinches Who Did Their Best to Steal Christmas

With the release of yet-another adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, here’s a look at 10 instances of people who deserved a bit of coal in their Christmas stockings. 1. Brock Chisholm was a distinguished Canadian psychiatrist who, as the first director-general of the World Health Organization, came to be called the […]