History

Biological Anthropology—Unpacking Race and Biology

What does it mean to be human? Where did we come from? And what unites us in our diversity today? As the world population continues to explode, these big questions about humanity become increasingly important, and biological anthropology is the field of study that tackles them. […]

photo of Conestoga wagon at SI
American History

The Conestoga Wagon: The Road Westward

Conestoga wagons originated in the mid-1700s, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the Conestoga River. They were used to carry people and goods westward and ultimately paved the way for modern highways like U.S. Route 40. […]

photo of Star-Spangled Banner
American History

The Star-Spangled Banner: Stitch by Stitch

The star-spangled banner tells the story of how our fledgling country was in peril in 1814; how the defense of a small fort in Baltimore gave heart to a people; and how we have defined, loved, and almost destroyed, and saved a national treasure. […]

American History

Project Mercury, a Chimp, and the Moon: The Cold War in Space

On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik I putting pressure on the United States space program as the cold war played out in space. The Mercury Seven was a group of test pilots recruited as the first American astronauts. Before launching a human into space, NASA successfully sent Ham, a chimpanzee, into orbit and assured his safe return. NASA and the United States were now ready to grow their space program to the moon and beyond. […]

American History

Alexander Hamilton: His Ideal Republic

Alexander Hamilton believed the most natural form of government was a republic in which everyone would have the freedom to exercise their natural rights, but his childhood in the West Indies taught him that some may be excluded. […]

photo of American bison on National Mall
American History

American Bison: A Story of Near Extinction and Conservation

With the American bison nearing extinction, William Temple Hornaday, a Smithsonian taxidermist, took it upon himself to lead a conservation effort to save the buffalo. His pioneering efforts led to the founding of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. […]

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