History

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Nov. 27, 2019, 10:02 a.m. The Smithsonian Institution’s 3-D digitization portal currently features 124 interactive artifact models. Of these offerings—among others, the list includes Amelia Earhart’s flight suit, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and the remnants of a supernova—just under 100 are available for download as 3-D print-ready files, making it easy for art,
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In the roughly 470 years since its creation, layers of smoke, candle wax, dirt and plaster have accrued on Michelangelo’s Bandini Pietà, also known as La Pietà or the Deposition. Soon, however, the Renaissance masterpiece will be restored from a dingy, darkened sculpture to its former alabaster glory. As the Bandini Pietà’s long-time home, Florence’s
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In Thanksgiving pageants held at schools across the United States, children don headdresses colored with craft-store feathers and share tables with classmates wearing black construction paper hats. It’s a tradition that pulls on a history passed down through the generations of what happened in Plymouth: local Native Americans welcomed the courageous, pioneering pilgrims to a
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When Leeann Wallett reflects on happy days from her childhood, she thinks of New Year’s Eve. Each year, Wallett’s mother would whip up an impressive spread of 1970s-style appetizers. “My mom was never a huge cook,” Wallett recalls, “but when she did cook, it was spectacular.” The centerpiece of these meals was a miniature Crock
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Over the weekend, the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry unveiled a huge cache of ancient artifacts and mummified animals—most significantly, the rare remains of at least two lion cubs—discovered in Saqqara, a necropolis located just south of Cairo. According to a statement posted on the ministry’s Facebook page, the trove includes 75 wooden and bronze statues of
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Centuries before New York City sprawled into a skyscraping, five-borough metropolis, the island of Manhattan was a swampy woodland. Ponds and creeks flowed around hills and between trees, sustaining nomadic Native Americans and wildlife. But after the Dutch established a colony in 1624, water shortages and pollution began threatening the island’s natural supply, sparking a
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On Monday, authorities busted an international archaeological crime scheme in a sting dubbed “Operation Achei.” Per a press release, more than 350 police officers across five countries worked together to recover 10,000 ancient Greek and Roman artifacts stolen from archaeological sites in the Calabria region of southern Italy. The Italian Carabinieri Department for the Protection
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The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery rolled out the red carpet for its star-studded guest list of more than 700 people for the 2019 American Portrait Gala this past week. The museum courtyard filled with heads of state, TV personalities, artists and scientists to celebrate the recipients of the “Portrait of a Nation” prize. Honorees included
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The history books we loved most in 2019 span centuries, nations and wars. From womanhood to nationhood, they challenge the construction of identity and mythology. They tell the stories of celebrity weddings, bootlegging trials, and people, places and things we thought we knew but prove, upon closer inspection, to be far more complex. The Season:
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Peru’s Nazca Lines—a series of huge geoglyphs etched into a coastal plain in the country’s southern desert—have mystified archaeologists since they were first spotted nearly a century ago. The roughly 200-square-mile stretch of land is known for its carvings of geometric shapes, birds, monkeys and humanoid figures. Thanks to a new analysis conducted by an
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Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman provides a decades-spanning look at one man’s relationship to organized crime, organized labor, and the truth—however slippery that concept may be. That man, Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, was a union official and mob associate whose story intersects with labor organizer Jimmy Hoffa, the Mafia, and the Kennedys. The
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When Charlotte Brontë was 14 years old, she wrote a trio of stories for a tiny handmade book set in the fictional town of Glass Town, West Africa. Titled The Young Men’s Magazine, the matchbook-sized miniature was drafted with a specific audience in mind: namely, an army of toy soldiers owned by the author’s younger
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In the spring of 1900, twenty-four years after Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone, a Danish inventor named Valdemar Poulsen unveiled the “telegraphone” at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. It was an engineering marvel—Poulsen recorded sound on a wire using nothing but a magnet, similar to the principle that underlies computer hard drives—and it was
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