What causes disease outbreaks and how can we stop them?

Microscopic images of some of the many diseases explored in “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on view through 2021. (Image courtesy Jeremy Snyder) A hunter touches an infected animal’s blood, a farmer breathes the moist air exhaled by sick cows, contaminated meat is served […]

Almost as many pilots died flying this World War I plane in training as in combat

WWI Sopwith Camel fighter donated by Javier Arango on exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The legends surrounding World War I flying aces engaged in epic dogfights have often overshadowed a grim reality: Many inexperienced pilots died in training accidents in challenging aircraft before they were […]

Smithsonian assists FBI in stolen Ruby Slippers case

[embedded content] Conservators at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History assisted the Minneapolis Division of the FBI in the case of ruby slippers from the “Wizard of Oz” that were stolen in Minnesota in 2005. The museum analyzed and compared the recovered slippers with a pair that has been part of the Smithsonian […]

Bond, James Bond: The ornithologist

Smithsonian Libraries’ copy of the first edition, Birds of the West Indies. Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History The famous fictional British spy, James Bond (code name 007), whose action-packed exploits and international adventures are depicted in books and movies, got his name because it was the most bland name his creator Ian Fleming had ever […]

How do National Zoo animals beat the heat? Bloodsicles and other frozen delicacies

Swimming off with a bloodsicle treat a Cuban crocodile at the National Zoo heads for a private spot to cool off on a sweltering summer day. (Photo by Mehgan Murphy) When the heat and humidity of the Washington, D.C. summer sends its residents scrambling for air conditioning and iced coffee, the animal care specialists at […]

Building a naked mole-rat dream home at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Naked mole-rats in their new home at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Every queen deserves a castle, and the ruler of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s naked mole-rat colony is no different. After 27 years in a maze of transparent plastic tunnels, the queen and her subjects—the naked mole-rat colony—are moving into a more naturalistic exhibit that not […]