We're more than a museum. We're 19 of them and the National Zoo. Legal:

Here's something to snack on while you wait for @smithsoniannmnh's new fossil hall to open next year.
The Nation’s T. rex and its cast—shown decapitating a Triceratops—as well as a number of other fossils have officially made their way back to the museum, where they’ll be reassembled in the coming months. You'll be able to see 700 specimens when The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils – #DeepTime opens on June 8, 2019.
#DeepTime starts at the very beginning: 4.6 billion years ago. The exhibition will give visitors tools to interpret the past, present and future and see how the choices we make today will live far beyond us.


Journalist and civil rights activist Ida Bell Wells was born into slavery on this day in 1862.

When she was in her early 20s, Wells was dragged from a segregated train for refusing to give up her seat to a white patron. It led her to start writing about issues of race and politics in the Deep South, and she went on to own three newspapers.

In 1892, three black businessmen—Tom Moss, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart—were killed in Memphis where Wells had lived. She began a decades-long campaign against lynching, traveling the South and gathering records. Her investigation “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All its Phases" was groundbreaking reporting that exposed racial injustice.

This photograph, c. 1893, is by Mary Garrity in @smithsoniannpg's collection.


Who chooses the color of your stuff? Color forecasting companies anticipate trends and try to predict how global attitudes will affect color choice.
The invention of synthetic color in 1856 revolutionized how color was picked and marketed for consumer goods. More colors available meant more opinions about how to choose the right one.
After World War II, specialists started advising big industries about the colors they should consider for their products. Now almost every consumer product company consults trend forecasts and relies on color predictions.

This book from color forecasting company PeclersParis in France is in our @cooperhewitt's exhibition “#Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color,” which draws on the collections of the museum and our @silibraries. See it through Jan. 13, 2019.


Today in 1804, Aaron Burr fatally shoots Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr, who was vice president at the time, blamed Hamilton for recent political losses.
The original dueling pistols are on display through Sept. 16 at our @nationalpostalmuseum, on loan from JPMorgan Chase Corporate History Program, as part of “Alexander Hamilton: Soldier, Secretary, Icon.” As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton championed the Post Office Department in its earliest form, and the exhibition includes mail, portraits and postage that reflect his life and career.
Want to see #Hamilton in D.C. for free? Just visit @smithsoniannpg. His portrait by John Trumbull is on permanent view at the museum. #HamiltonDC


Small but mighty at 6 to 12 inches long, the mantis shrimp can easily crack open crabs, snails, oysters and even aquarium glass.

It strikes with such velocity that the water around it boils, creating vapor-filled bubbles (called supercavitation). When the bubbles collapse, they create a shock wave that can stun or kill the prey.

If their powerful claws weren't enough, the mantis shrimp also has eyesight beyond what we can imagine. Humans have three types of color-receptive cones (the basis of how we perceive color) while the mantis shrimp has 16.

This 1758 illustration of the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus), by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus, is in @smithsoniannmnh.


The male Bocon toadfish tries to win over the ladies with a song that drowns out the competition.
Off the coast of Bocas del Toro, Panama, these fish have bulging eyes, puffed-out cheeks and fleshy barbels dangling from their mouths. They rely on their singing to attract a mate to their burrows.
Marine biologists with @smithsonianenvironment and other organizations were trying to record the sounds of the reefs at a @smithsonianpanama field station, when the toadfish sang over everything else.
Each toadfish has its own distinct voice and style, a combination of grunts (like clearing their throats) and boops (the part of the song that’s supposed to attract females). Scientists also found the group of toadfish engaged in an underwater sing-off of sorts, interrupting and singing over each other.


Space is the best place to eat ice cream, because it never drips. The temperature is stable on the International Space Station around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and surface tension and low gravity mean that anything that does melt will stick together.

So what kind of ice cream do astronauts eat? The regular kind.

So-called astronaut ice cream was originally developed for the 1968 Apollo 7 mission, but it's unclear whether it ever made it to space.

Its crumbly texture makes it a threat—crumbs can fly everywhere and potentially into an astronaut's eyes or into electrical panels. (Our @airandspacemuseum curator suspects the astronauts might not have been so keen on the chalky taste either.) Real ice cream made its way into orbit when a freezer was flown to the International Space Station in 2006. 📸: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on the International Space Station, Apr. 20, 2015, NASA


In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on this portable desk, which is now in our @amhistorymuseum.

While Jefferson's words outlined the ideals of a new nation—“life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—he had about 130 enslaved men, women and children living and working at his Monticello plantation.

In an 1852 speech, Frederick Douglass emphasized that the history of American freedom cannot be separated from American slavery. “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?" he asked: "Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” But Douglass had hope.

It took 87 years after the Declaration of Independence for the Emancipation Proclamation, and Americans have continued to challenge their nation to live up to its aspirations in the fight for civil rights based on the principle that all people are created equal.

See our @nmaahc’s page for more about Douglass’ speech. #FourthOfJuly


Planning a backyard barbecue? The suburban backyard as we know it developed after World War II, when people began moving out of congested cities and into new suburban developments that included private backyard spaces.
The mid-century backyard became an extension of the house—a "room" designed for relaxing, recreation, cooking and entertaining.
A shift from blue-collar jobs to white-collar jobs and the 40-hour workweek, along with an increase in disposable income, meant people had the time and money for DIY projects. They transformed uniform backyards into personalized outdoor living spaces.
Wartime manufacturers of materials like aluminum and concrete pivoted to new products for a suburban lifestyle. The average consumer could now get aluminum grill spatulas and tongs, patio furniture, and colorful and tough outdoor fabrics.
This 1960s photo by Molly Adams shows the Farnham family in their Mendham, New Jersey, garden. It's in @smithsoniangardens' Archives of American Gardens, and part of @sitesexhibitions' traveling exhibition “Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard." #AmericanBackyards


We could use a cold beverage.💦This pitcher is specially made for champagne with a section underneath the handle—called the "bladder"—where you can put ice to keep your beverage chilled but not diluted.
To create the texture on the outside, the glassworker would have rolled the form in glass shards, or plunged it into a bucket of water while it was still hot. The resulting material is called craquelle (or crackle) glass, which resembles melting ice.

It's possible both methods were used for this pitcher, manufactured by the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company between 1875 and 1885. It’s in our @cooperhewitt’s collection.


In villages, towns and cities, everyday life in #Catalonia revolves around a civic calendar marked by the feasts of the patron saints.

The streets fill with people and vendors selling food and mementos, and then elaborate masquerades parade through the main plazas and long streets.

Giants like the ones in this video, decked out in rich fabrics and jewels dance with slow intentionality, while devils wear black capes and set off dramatic fireworks.

Thanks for following along this @smithsonianfolklife takeover! Come see all of this in action at the #2018Folklife Festival, on now through July 8 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


Kwasi Asare is one of the Africa’s most prominent and accomplished weavers. Carrying on a tradition he learned from his father, he is best known for kente cloth, the highly prized Ghanaian textile that traditionally symbolized royalty, honor and leadership.

Asare loves weaving demonstrations because it gives students of all ages the opportunity to develop a stronger mind-body connection by being absorbed in careful, detailed work with their hands.

Asare is one of the artisans featured in the “Crafts of #AfricanFashion” project located in our @smithsonianfolklife Festival Marketplace and presented in partnership with @nmafa and @nmaahc.

Come say hello! The #2018Folklife Festival runs through July 1 and from July 4 through 8. 📸: Stanley Turk