Top Stories: April 2021

Smithsonian Institution
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April 2021 News

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Stand Together Against Hate
Photograph by Dr. Felicia Bell, Smithsonian Institution, Our Shared Future: Reckoning with our Racial Past

Educate, Engage, and Inspire with Resources that Combat Xenophobia and Celebrate Asian American Identity

Recent increases in anti-Asian racism and xenophobia throughout the U.S., including violence, harassment, and large-scale dehumanization, have not only caused suffering across communities, but have diverted attention away from knowledge and compassion at a time when it is needed most.

You can help break down barriers of understanding with Standing Together Against Hate, a collection of resources curated by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, including materials for teachers, stories of heritage and modern life, and uplifting music and art.

spring forest
Image courtesy of pixabay by Valiphotos.

Natural Forest Regrowth Has a Clear Carbon Impact

In the search for climate change solutions, advanced technology often gets the most attention. But there’s also a case for letting nature take its course.

A recent study, which combines results from 256 existing studies and efforts from 20 organizations — including the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute — shows how leaving forests undisturbed to regrow naturally can result in a dramatic mitigation of excess carbon.

Don't Miss Out!

Our recent Membership Flash sale just ended and we're excited to be welcoming so many new Friends of the Smithsonian to the family!

If you didn't get a chance to claim your discounted membership for $55 (that's $20 off our standard rate!), we're offering one last chance to join today and enjoy all of the incredible benefits!

Light Blue Nursery
Selection from Light Blue Nursery by Alma Thomas, 1968, acrylic on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1970.324

Try Your Hand at a Painting Inspired by Alma Thomas

Look outside your window and get inspired by the colors and patterns of nature!

Artist Alma Thomas utilized repetitive shapes and spring themes to create bold works of art. Gather objects from inside and outside your home to create your own take on Thomas’ style with this guide from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. This activity is perfect for all ages and no artistic prowess is required! When you’re finished, share your painting with the Hirshhorn on social media with #HirshhornInsideOut.

Xiao Qi Ji
Giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji tries his first taste of bamboo. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Happy Half-Birthday, Xiao Qi Ji!

From the moment his hearty squeal heralded his arrival, giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji has been of the most beloved bears on the planet. Now at the six-month milestone, Xiao Qi Ji has tasted his first bamboo shoots, had an encounter with a snowman, and made his first expedition outside the den.

You can see some of the cub’s cutest moments in a birthday video collection from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Your After-Taxes To-Do List

As tax season winds down, now is the perfect time to begin planning for a secure future for your loved ones. Here’s what you should consider when creating and updating your estate plans.

Adopt-a-book Salons
Adopt-a-Book Salons will sponsor materials from the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives’ collections.

Adopt-a-Book with the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

National Libraries Week is April 4-10! Celebrate by attending an Adopt-a-Book Salon with the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.

Each online event will introduce you to books and materials which are critical to future research, as well as the librarians and curators who care for them. Adopt one of these essential books to celebrate a milestone, honor a loved one, or leave your mark on history.

Fauci with model
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci holds his personal 3D-printed model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion during the "Great Americans Awards Program." Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who recently received the Smithsonian's Great Americans Medal, has donated his personal 3D-printed model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The model, which Dr. Fauci used extensively to explain the coronavirus, will join other items related to healthcare during the pandemic, including the first empty U.S. Covid-19 vaccination vial, a vaccination card, and scrubs worn by nurse Sandra Lindsay, the first American to receive an approved vaccine.
Art of Collecting
Illustrations from The Art of Collecting by Ludi Leiva.

The Art of Collecting Showcases the Thought and Artistry Behind Object Curation

Smithsonian curators faced a new set of challenges and sense of responsibility this year collecting during the pandemic and protests for racial justice. Explore their impressions in The Art of Collecting, an illustration by artist Ludi Leiva.

black hole
Galaxy J0437+2456 is thought to be home to a supermassive, moving black hole. Image credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Astronomers Discover a Black Hole on the Move

Scientists have long theorized that supermassive black holes can wander through space. Now, researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have identified the clearest case to date of a supermassive black hole in motion. The team surveyed 10 distant galaxies and tracked beams of radio light caused by water orbiting the black holes to check for motion.

James Smithson's Trivia Corner
James Smithson, c. 1765-1829 (detail), James Roberts, 1753-c.1809, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Trivia: America’s Arctic Achievements

Did you know that the Smithsonian assisted with America’s first official expedition to the North Pole?

Joseph Henry, the first Smithsonian Secretary, provided 21 pages of instructions from specialists in astronomy, magnetism, geology, and other subjects to the crew of the first U.S. government-funded Arctic expedition in hopes of receiving specimens for study and collection. While the expedition did pass the record for furthest point north reached by ship at the time, it ultimately did not reach the North Pole nor return with extensive materials.

Which was America’s first government-funded attempt to reach the North Pole?

Image credits: National Portrait Gallery; Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in the Years 1819-22 by Sir John Franklin, London. Wikimedia commons; U.S.S. Polaris, Equipped for Arctic Exploration by Detroit Publishing Co. Courtesy of the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division; Frederick Cook's expedition, United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs

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