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

951 posts 631,444 followers 76 following

These saucer magnolias do a great job framing our Castle building, designed by James Renwick, Jr. and completed in 1855.
Follow @smithsoniangardens, who are keeping a close eye on the storm forecast, for updates on all our spring blooms.


When Jane C. Webb Loudon became interested in botany in the 1830s, gardening manuals were highly technical and intended for people already in the field.
The British writer, who had already penned a science fiction novel as a teenager, wanted to change that.
Loudon worked to write books that made horticulture and gardening understandable and accessible—something women could pursue as a hobby. She was also a self-taught artist and became a respected botanical illustrator.
People bought thousands of copies of her books, which included “The ladies' flower-garden of ornamental annuals” (where this illustration is from in our @silibraries) and the four-volume “The Ladies' Flower-Garden.” #WomensHistoryMonth


We’re on #BloomWatch behind the Castle. @smithsoniangardens, who keeps our spaces looking so beautiful, predicts these saucer magnolias will be in full bloom late this weekend or early next week.

Smithsonian Institution Building

Gretchen Bender was a pioneering media artist of the 1980s who blurred the line between commercial culture and art.
Her work was found in galleries and mass media—she designed the credits for the TV show “America’s Most Wanted”—and she became famous for her multichannel choreographies of recycled TV imagery, which she called “electronic theater.” This is a clip of her 1984 piece “Dumping Core,” named after the tech term for overloading hard drives. It features a cacophony of news footage, corporate logos and computer animations across 13 monitors.
Bender borrowed and reorganized moving images to reflect the speed of information at the time, when cable TV was changing so much of marketing and entertainment. She critiqued the fast-paced culture of mass media of which she was an inextricable part.
The piece is on view now in our @hirshhorn’s #BrandNew80s exhibition. #5WomenArtists

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

#InternationalWomensDay poster from 1975, printed by the Women’s Graphics Collective, in our @cooperhewitt.
Four Chicago-based women designers founded the group in 1970, bringing together women designers and activists to produce art that advanced the goals of the women’s movement.

They opened their doors to any woman who wanted to collaborate—regardless of formal art training—and every poster was designed and completed by committee, rather than by individuals.
This design uses direct symbols to communicate a message of unity, which was popular in political and activist posters from the 1960s and 1970s. #WomensHistoryMonth

Cooper Hewitt

Today our @amhistorymuseum welcomed objects donated by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
She was sworn in as the 52nd Speaker of the House on Jan. 4, 2007. In addition to the wooden gavel she received at the ceremony, Pelosi donated the burgundy suit she wore and the original copy of the speech she gave that morning.
The artifacts will join the museum’s political history collection, which dates back to the early 1700s. There are no immediate plans to display them. #WomensHistoryMonth

National Museum of American History

Travel companion goals: yaks beside Pangong Lake in India, photographed by Yusuf Chiniwala.

This photo is one of 60 finalists in @smithsonianmagazine's 15th annual photo contest. Vote for your favorite at through 2 p.m. ET on March 26.
On March 27, they will announce the Readers' Choice award alongside the Grand Prize and category winners. It's also the start of the next year's photo contest, so get those cameras and yaks ready.


Popular look this season? Statement necklaces. This one in our @cooperhewitt, designed by Liv Blåvarp, is made of birch and rosewood.
When Blåvarp began making jewelry in 1984, she wanted to create structures that seemed alive.
She made large pieces so they would naturally and elegantly follow the contours of the neck or wrist. Wood allowed her to work with larger volumes that wouldn't become too heavy.

To keep her pieces as natural as possible, Blåvarp used light-toned woods like birch stained with bright, vibrant colors, while darker woods like rosewood are treated with oil to bring out their natural grain and color.

Cooper Hewitt

Black-footed ferrets are North America’s only native ferret species, which used to live all across the western plains. Once believed to be extinct, black-footed ferrets have made an incredible recovery, thanks in large part to the work done at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). The last remaining wild animals were caught between 1985 and 1987 to establish a breeding center in Wyoming. In 1988, we were the first to receive offspring from those 18 and breed black-footed ferrets outside of Wyoming.
Every year, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ferrets born at SCBI are released to the wild.
Currently, 28 reintroduction sites cover parts of Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, New Mexico, Canada and Mexico. Each year, between 150 and 220 black-footed ferrets are released from preconditioning programs that familiarize the animals with burrows (underground tunnels) to increase the chance that they will survive in the wild. About 4,500 ferrets have been released since the program's inception.
Thanks for following our #WorldWildlifeDay takeover! See more at @smithsonianzoo. #WeSaveSpecies

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

In January, a male Guam rail chick hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. He is part of a breeding program to save his species and will be repatriated to Guam.
The Guam rail went extinct in the wild largely due to the invasive brown tree snake introduced to the island by humans, but breeding programs have restored wild Guam rail populations to more than 200 individuals.

In 1985, we were the first organization outside of Guam to receive these birds for breeding. Last September, our team released two Guam rails born at SCBI on the island of Rota.
The release of those chicks, along with 47 others born at different facilities, marked the first time in 32 years that Guam rails living in the wild outnumbered those in human care.
This is @smithsonianzoo—follow us for more about how #WeSaveSpecies. #WorldWildlifeDay

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Where and when will the next global health crisis occur? As part of @USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threat program PREDICT, scientists in @SmithsonianZoo’s Global Health Program are on the ground in Myanmar, training local wildlife biologists on how to answer that question.

To conduct their research, Global Health Program scientists and local biologists travel to the Hlawga and Hpa An National Parks to collect samples from animals that frequently come into contact with humans (like rats and bats) for any signs of genetic material from dangerous virus families. The training includes how to collect the samples safely with the proper biosecurity gear and how to screen the samples for potential pathogenic viruses.

In addition to identifying the potential for disease outbreaks in humans, identifying animals that are carriers for deadly diseases like SARS can help curb illegal poaching. #WorldWildlifeDay #WeSaveSpecies


Once common along highland streams in western Costa Rica and Panama, the variable harlequin frog (Atelopus varius) is critically #endangered, decimated by the amphibian chytrid fungus. But through years of research and breeding, Smithsonian scientists have created a thriving colony in human care.

In January, we released approximately 500 frogs in Panama’s Colon province as a first step toward a full-scale reintroduction of this species. In order to monitor the released frogs over time, 30 are wearing miniature radio transmitters. They also have elastomer (stretchy polymer) toe markings that glow under UV light—that way scientists can tell which frogs were part of the original study.
Before frogs are reintroduced into remote areas, it’s critical to learn how they fare in the wild and what needs to be done to increase their chances of survival. The locations of the trial releases will allow scientists to easily monitor them.
Researchers are hopeful these trials will provide insight into the challenges faced by a frog as it transitions from captivity into the wild, and ultimately help the Smithsonian and partners create a self-sustaining population in the wild.
Follow us at @smithsonianzoo to keep up with their efforts. #WorldWildlifeDay #WeSaveSpecies