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Helen Gibson once remarked, “I certainly do get angry when I hear someone say, ‘I bet she didn’t do that herself.’”

Women Who Shaped History

Hollywood's First Professional Stuntwoman Jumped From Planes and Swung Onto Trains

Dubbed "the most daring actress in pictures," Helen Gibson rose to fame in the 1910s

Of the roughly 750 First Folios printed, at least 235 known copies survive today.

Without the First Folio, Half of Shakespeare's Plays Would Have Been Lost to History

The 400-year-old text presented the Bard's plays as serious literature, muddling the boundaries between popular culture and high art

The heist seemed like a mystery that would never be solved—until a deathbed confession by a career criminal led to the recovery of almost all of the missing timepieces.

The Time Thief Who Stole 106 Rare Clocks in a Daring Heist

Authorities eventually recovered 96 of the lost timepieces, including a $30 million watch commissioned for Marie Antoinette

The Smithsonian's podcast Sidedoor uncovers the climate change insights hidden in old paintings (above: Shivalal, Maharana Fateh Singh Crossing a River During the Monsoon (detail), c. 1893).

What Centuries-Old Indian Court Paintings Tell Us About Climate Change

This month’s Smithsonian podcasts include a deep dive into India’s monsoon weather patterns and discussion of animals in flight

Darcelle XV, Portland, Oregon, 2019

LGBTQ+ Pride

The 92-Year-Old Queen Who Shaped the History and Future of Drag

Darcelle XV, the world’s oldest performing drag queen, died in March, but her spirit will live on

The tightly stacked dwellings of Corippo are so close together they appear two-dimensional. 

How Alberghi Diffusi Turn Villages Into Hotels

Originating in Italy, "scattered hotels" turn alleyways into hallways and piazzas into living rooms

The character of Ursula, a sea witch who gives Ariel her legs, is based on the drag performer Divine.

'The Little Mermaid' Has Been Subverting Expectations for Decades

The 1989 Disney movie musical may have saved the Disney corporation, but it also sent important messages about identity to its young audiences

Candy Wrapper Museum curator Darlene Lacey was 15 when she started collecting for her "roadside attraction." Building the online museum has led to all kinds of surprises—including being sent a Necco scrapbook saved from a dumpster (pictured above).

Take a Peek Inside the Candy Wrapper Museum

Your trash is my treasure—and a sweet reminder of the past

Tens of thousands of people in the United States may be connected to this album, which museum officials say offers an "unprecedented opportunity for people of mixed heritage, especially, to access never-before-seen ancestral portraits."

Find Out If Your Ancestor Is Among These 19th-Century Silhouettes in This Newly Digitized Collection

The itinerant artist William Bache’s portraits are contaminated by arsenic, but now the National Portrait Gallery offers easy access

The analysis focused on 67 manillas from five shipwrecks off the coasts of Spain, Ghana, the United States and England. The largest study of manillas to date, the project aimed to use lead isotope analysis to pinpoint where the bracelets were produced. 

New Research

What Shipwrecks Reveal About the Origins of the Benin Bronzes

A new study traces the metal used to craft the brass sculptures to manilla bracelets produced in Germany and used as currency in the slave trade

Two panels from Last on His Feet, depicting boxers Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries

A New Graphic Novel Takes Readers Inside the Fight of the Century

The pages highlight the dramatic, racially charged match between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries

A circa 1825 sampler made by Ann E. Kelly at Leah Maguire's school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

A 19th-Century Textile Stitches a Tale of Women's Liberation

Beloved by her pupils, schoolteacher Leah Maguire embraced her freedom through sewing this sampler

Clarice Beckett painted Luna Park (1919) across the street from a Melbourne amusement park. "Her eye alighted on fleeting moments," says gallery director Jason Smith.

The Great Australian Modernist the World Almost Never Knew

A new exhibition shines a light on the stunning work of Clarice Beckett

Lucy Maud Montgomery, 14. During this period, as she put it in her diary, she had begun to harbor “dreams of future fame.”

The Author of 'Anne of Green Gables' Lived a Far Less Charmed Life Than Her Beloved Heroine

L.M. Montgomery created a classic of children's literature, but what about her lesser-known works?

Since its debut in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has only grown in popularity. No longer a niche game, it’s been played by more than 50 million people to date.

14 Fun Facts About Dungeons & Dragons

Before watching the new movie adaptation, here's what you need to know about the history of the fantasy role-playing game

An elaborate dance sequence from the 1943 production, choreographed by Agnes de Mille

Behind 'Oklahoma!' Lies the Remarkable Story of a Gay Cherokee Playwright

Lynn Riggs wrote the play that served as the basis of the hit 1943 musical

An anonymous watercolor portrait of Francis Johnson holding an early 19th-century horn

Long Before Jazz, Frank Johnson Was Playing the Hottest Music in America

The innovations of a forgotten genius who laid the groundwork for the nation's signature music

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Announcing the Winners of Smithsonian Magazine’s 20th Annual Photo Contest

From Norway to Nepal, this year’s winning images span the globe to capture the extraordinary

The museum's curator Ryan Lintelman says the egg is emblematic of the cultural import of Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley, who battles the magnificently ugly "xenomorph."

The Stars Are Aligned at the National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Curator Reveals New Details on an Egg From Sigourney Weaver’s Iconic ‘Alien’ Franchise

Get the inside scoop on the iconic prop, now on view in the exhibition “Entertainment Nation”

Richard’s life has long sparked debate, with two competing views of the last Yorkist king emerging in the centuries after his reign ended in 1485.

Based on a True Story

'The Lost King' Dramatizes the Search for Richard III's Remains. The Monarch's Life Was Even More Sensational

A new film offers a sympathetic portrait of the 15th-century ruler, who seized the crown from his nephew before dying on the battlefield