The Enduring Nostalgia of American Girl Dolls

“Far from avoiding difficult subjects in American history, the brand seeks to address shameful chapters in the nation’s past through the eyes of its pre-adolescent characters.”

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jun 3, 2021
Length: 16 minutes (4,017 words)

A Brief History of the Crock Pot

If you’ve ever come home from a long day at work to the wonderful smell of dinner waiting in your crockpot, you have Irving Nachumsohn to thank.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Nov 26, 2019
Length: 6 minutes (1,728 words)

The Priest of Abu Ghraib

“I wish to end the delusion that good is gained by evil means, or that even maintaining my own economic and physical security is something to be defended by means of violence. I believe that idea to be a lie.”

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 2, 2019
Length: 31 minutes (7,785 words)

The Story of Dyngo, a War Dog Brought Home From Combat

“As we made our way down the hall from my apartment to the front door of the building, he would drop his nose down to the seam of each door we passed and give it a swift but thorough sniff—Dyngo was still hunting for bombs.”

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Dec 21, 2018
Length: 17 minutes (4,310 words)

Becoming Anne Frank

“Why did we turn an isolated teenage girl into the world’s most famous Holocaust victim?”

Author: Dara Horn
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Oct 30, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,591 words)

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul

In the 1960s, Mary Jane Jones modeled herself after Aretha Franklin, but she had the emotion and range of an original soul singer. After a crooked James Brown impersonator forced her to perform as Franklin, she got famous from her own talent, until she gave up show bizness to raise her sons.

Author: Jeff Maysh
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jul 1, 2018
Length: 17 minutes (4,499 words)

Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative

Author Andrew M. Davenport highlights how the work of an oral history project, Getting Word, has informed a shift in the visitor experience of Thomas Jefferson’s primary estate, Monticello.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jun 14, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,226 words)

The Moral Cost of Cats

Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, is pushing a controversial conservation idea: that as the single-biggest man-made danger to bird and small mammal populations in the United States, outdoor and feral cat populations should be controlled, either by keeping pets inside, or by euthanasia and sterilize-and-return programs.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Sep 20, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,772 words)

The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom

A gold rush of fossil-finding is turning China into the new epicenter of paleontology.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Apr 19, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,219 words)

The Strike that Brought MLK to Memphis

In a compelling history of the strike of sanitation workers that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis in 1968, Ted Conover connects the concerns of Memphis fifty years ago with present-day, national movements around labor and income inequality.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 2, 2018
Length: 25 minutes (6,466 words)