Top Stories: November 2021

Smithsonian Institution
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November 2021 News

See what your support makes possible.

FUTURES Remixed is a three-day virtual and in-person event full of entertainment, conversation, and discovery for all ages.

Glimpse into the FUTURES November 19-21

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building will open to the public on November 20 with FUTURES, an immersive exploration of the ideas, art, and technology shaping our tomorrows.

Join in for FUTURES Remixed, a virtual and in-person opening weekend celebration November 19-21. Livestream a sneak peek tour with Bill Nye (yes, the science guy!), participate in an unexpected conversation with Kal Penn, hear a musical performance from the indie pop trio SHAED, and so much more!

An ofrenda is a tiered altar filled with pictures of departed family members, decorations, and personal offerings like favorite foods to nourish the spirits in their journey. Learn more about ofrendas and other Día de los Muertos traditions with videos from the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Celebrate Family and Tradition with Día de los Muertos Crafts

Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, much of Latin America, and Mexican American communities in the United States on November 1 and 2. Deeply rooted in Aztec and Mesoamerican traditions, Day of the Dead is a time when families gather to honor loved ones who have died. They create ofrendas, or altars, covered with pictures of their departed family members, lit candles, sweets, decorations, and personal offerings like favorite foods and drinks to nourish the spirits in their journey. Filled with food, music, and dancing, Day of the Dead is a lively celebration in honor of those who have passed before us.

You can celebrate this meaningful holiday with your family with crafts, coloring pages, and videos from the Smithsonian American Art Museum!

Alice Award books
Two recently published Smithsonian books have been selected for the 2021 Alice Award short list! This honor is given annually to richly illustrated books that have made valuable contributions to their field.

E. McKnight Kauffer: The Artist in Advertising and ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now complement bold exhibitions on printmaking and graphic design from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

See exhibition highlights from Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer »

Take a virtual tour of ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now »
Cheetah cubs
Five new cheetah cubs in their grassy den. Because mom is very protective of her babies, the cheetah cam and stealth photos like this are the best way to see these cute cubs for now! Photograph courtesy of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Cheetah Cubs Capture the Spotlight at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute recently welcomed a litter of cheetah cubs! The five cubs were born on October 12 and are a significant addition to ongoing breeding and conservation efforts. The litter will stay in mom's care without interference from human caretakers until she is comfortable leaving them for extended periods.

In the meantime, you can catch all the cuteness on the Cheetah Cub Cam! Mom will occasionally move the cubs to different dens, but when they’re on camera you’ll be able to see them snuggle and hear them chirp to get her attention.

Native Cinema Showcase
The National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year's showcase will take place online from November 12-18.

Native Cinema Showcase Offers an Array of Stories from Indigenous Filmmakers

Join the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian as they present Native Cinema Showcase, an annual celebration of films that center language, healing, identity, and activism from filmmakers across Indigenous communities.

See the full schedule of virtual events including feature films, shorts programs, and panel discussions taking place November 12-18.

Protoplanetary disk
In this artist's conception, planets form from the gas and dust in the protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star. Image by M.Weiss for the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

Astronomers Discover No Two Planetary Soups are Alike

Astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have mapped out the molecules in five "protoplanetary disks," regions of dust and gas where planets form around young stars.

Their research shows that chemicals are not dispersed uniformly within each disk, which may result in vastly different "soups" of planet-forming ingredients. This means two planets could form around the same star but have very different organic inventories and likelihoods of sustaining life.


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Ngwenya Glass by James Magagula
James Magagula, Ngwenya Glass, The Chief Herdsman and His Cattle, 2018, hot-sculpted glass, 30 x 60 x 70 cm, The Corning Museum of Glass, Gift of Ngwenya Glass, 2019.9.1. Photo courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York.

New Exhibition of Contemporary Art Glass Shatters Expectations

Glass has been used as a creative medium for millennia, but today’s artists are still finding ways to innovate with this challenging material.

Discover a fresh global perspective of what glass can do with stunning examples of contemporary glasswork in New Glass Now at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This Thursday, November 4, at 7 p.m. ET, join artist Deborah Czeresko, winner of the first season of the Netflix competition show Blown Away, for a virtual conversation about the evolution of glass blowing across the centuries.

Meaning in Music series
Host Dometi Pongo investigates the lasting legacy of hip-hop in Meaning in Music, a five-part video series.

Original Series Explores the History and Impact of Hip-Hip

The U.S. Senate has unanimously declared November to be Hip-Hop History month! A uniquely American genre, Hip Hop has broken musical ground, shaped culture, and has transcended boundaries to speak to people around the globe.

Celebrate the diverse history of Hip-Hop with Meaning in Music, a five-part video series from the Smithsonian Channel and MTV News, featuring experts from across the Smithsonian Institution. The series is free to watch and share on Facebook.

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

Trivia: Sedimentary Sleuthing

Smithsonian scientists have been combing the ocean floor to unlock the prehistoric history of coral reefs. By tracking the debris left by one animal in particular, paleobiologists are able to reconstruct conditions before human interference and see how the ecosystem has changed over time.

Which of these odd animal remnants are scientists scooping up?


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