Smithsonian (magazine)

Last updated

Smithsonian magazine cover.png
September 2008 cover of Smithsonian
Categories History, science, arts, nature
Total circulation
(June 2016)
1,840,077 [1]
First issueApril 1970;53 years ago (1970-04)
Company Smithsonian Institution
CountryUnited States
Based in Washington, D.C., U.S.
ISSN 0037-7333

Smithsonian is a science and nature magazine (and associated website,, and is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., although editorially independent from its parent organization. The first issue was published in 1970. [2] The Smithsonian holds events such as the American Ingenuity Awards, Future Con, and Museum Day.



The history of Smithsonian began when Edward K. Thompson, the retired editor of Life magazine, was asked by the then-Secretary of the Smithsonian, S. Dillon Ripley, to produce a magazine "about things in which the Smithsonian [Institution] is interested, might be interested or ought to be interested." [3]

Thompson would later recall that his philosophy for the new magazine was that it "would stir curiosity in already receptive minds. It would deal with history as it is relevant to the present. It would present art, since true art is never dated, in the richest possible reproduction. It would peer into the future via coverage of social progress and of science and technology. Technical matters would be digested and made intelligible by skilled writers who would stimulate readers to reach upward while not turning them off with jargon. We would find the best writers and the best photographers—not unlike the best of the old Life." [3]

In 1973, the magazine turned a profit for the first time. By 1974, circulation had nearly quadrupled, to 635,000, and it reached the one million milestone in 1975—one of the most successful launches of its time. In 1980, Thompson was replaced by Don Moser, who had also worked at Life, and circulation reached upwards of two million, in turn, by Carey Winfrey upon his retirement in 2001. Michael Caruso succeeded Carey Winfrey in 2011, and served as editor-in-chief until 2019. [4] Since that time Debra Rosenberg and Terence Monmaney have served as executive editors. [5]

Events held

Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards

Every year since 2012, the magazine has sponsored the American Ingenuity Awards, a recognition of innovation in the arts, sciences and technology. Winners have included Bryan Stevenson, Elon Musk, Lin-Manuel Miranda, OK Go, John Krasinski, Dave Eggers, Aziz Ansari, Rosanne Cash, Jeff Bezos, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and David Lynch.

Presenters have included Stephen Hawking (twice), Stephen Colbert, David Byrne, Herbie Hancock, Erin Brockovich, Ruben Blades, Bill Nye, Art Spiegelman and Senator Al Franken.

The American Ingenuity Award itself was created by the artist Jeff Koons. [6]

Future Con

Future Con, formerly The Future is Here, is an annual conference for students and young people interested in science and science fiction, held as part of Washington D.C.'s Awesome Con.[ citation needed ]

Museum Day

Smithsonian arranges Museum Day, when museums in all 50 U.S. states offer limited free admission. In 2018, over 1,400 museums participated. [7] [8]

The offer is free admission for the ticket holder plus one guest, and this ticket is specific to the chosen museum only. [9] The intention is one ticket per person. This is in contrast to the International Museum Day, when participating museums generally offer entirely free admission throughout the day.


Notable past and current contributors to Smithsonian have included:

Related Research Articles

<i>Evening Standard</i> British newspaper

The London Evening Standard, formerly The Standard (1827–1904), is a local free daily newspaper in London, England, published Monday to Friday in tabloid format.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smithsonian Institution</span> US group of museums and research centers

The Smithsonian Institution, or simply the Smithsonian, is a group of museums, education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Founded on August 10, 1846, it operates as a trust instrumentality and is not formally a part of any of the three branches of the federal government. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. It was originally organized as the United States National Museum, but that name ceased to exist administratively in 1967.

<i>NME</i> British music journalism website and former magazine

New Musical Express (NME) is a British music, film, gaming, and culture website and brand. Founded as a newspaper in 1952, with the publication being referred to as a 'rock inkie', the NME would become a magazine that ended up as a free publication, before becoming an online brand which includes its website and radio stations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David A. Cherry</span> American artist

David Cherry is an American artist, author, and illustrator of science fiction and fantasy and has also done substantial work as a marketing artist, concept artist, and 3D modeler in the game production industry. Cherry served as Lecturer and Head of the Art Department as well as Head of the master's degree Program for artists at The Guildhall at SMU, a graduate college dedicated to studies for people who want to work in the game production industry. Cherry was also an attorney, as well as a past president of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (1988–1990). He has been nominated eleven times for Hugo Awards, and 18 times for Chesley Awards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism</span> Journalism school at Columbia University

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is located in Pulitzer Hall on the university's Morningside Heights campus in New York City. Founded in 1912 by Joseph Pulitzer, Columbia Journalism School is one of the oldest journalism schools in the world and the only journalism school in the Ivy League. It offers four graduate degree programs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Science fiction convention</span> Science fiction fan gatherings

A science fiction convention is a gathering of fans of science fiction. Historically, science fiction conventions had focused primarily on literature, but the purview of many extends to such other avenues of expression as films, television, comics, animation, and games. The format can vary but will tend to have a few similar features such as a guest of honour, discussion panels, readings and large special events such as opening/closing ceremonies and some form of party or entertainment. Science fiction conventions started off primarily in the UK and US but have now spread further and several countries have their own individual conventions as well as playing host to rotating international conventions.

<i>Maximum PC</i>

Maximum PC, formerly known as boot, is an American magazine and website published by Future US. It focuses on cutting-edge PC hardware, with an emphasis on product reviews, step-by-step tutorials, and in-depth technical briefs. Component coverage areas include CPUs, motherboards, core-logic chipsets, memory, videocards, mechanical hard drives, solid-state drives, optical drives, cases, component cooling, and anything else to do with recent tech news. Additional hardware coverage is directed at smartphones, tablet computers, cameras and other consumer electronic devices that interface with consumer PCs. Software coverage focuses on games, anti-virus suites, content-editing programs, and other consumer-level applications.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum</span> Design museum in Manhattan, New York

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is a design museum housed within the Andrew Carnegie Mansion in Manhattan, New York City, along the Upper East Side's Museum Mile. It is one of 19 museums that operate within the Smithsonian Institution and is one of three Smithsonian facilities located in New York City, the other two being the National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center in Bowling Green and the Archives of American Art New York Research Center in the Flatiron District. Unlike other Smithsonian museums, Cooper Hewitt is not free to the public and charges an admissions fee to visitors. It is the only museum in the United States devoted to historical and contemporary design. Its collections and exhibitions explore approximately 240 years of design aesthetic and creativity.

<i>Fantastic</i> (magazine) American fantasy and science fiction magazine, 1952–1980

Fantastic was an American digest-size fantasy and science fiction magazine, published from 1952 to 1980. It was founded by the publishing company Ziff Davis as a fantasy companion to Amazing Stories. Early sales were good, and the company quickly decided to switch Amazing from pulp format to digest, and to cease publication of their other science fiction pulp, Fantastic Adventures. Within a few years sales fell, and Howard Browne, the editor, was forced to switch the focus to science fiction rather than fantasy. Browne lost interest in the magazine as a result and the magazine generally ran poor-quality fiction in the mid-1950s, under Browne and his successor, Paul W. Fairman.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fleet Science Center</span> Science museum and planetarium in San Diego, United States

The Fleet Science Center is a science museum and planetarium in Balboa Park, located in San Diego, California. It is at the east end of the El Prado Drive walkway, next to the Bea Evenson Fountain and plaza in central Balboa Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California African American Museum</span> Museum in Los Angeles, California

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maggie Thompson</span> American editor and columnist

Maggie Thompson, is an American longtime editor of the now-defunct comic book industry news magazine Comics Buyer's Guide, science fiction fan, and collector of comics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Museum of African American History and Culture</span> Museum in Washington, DC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), colloquially known as the Blacksonian, is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It was established in 2003 and opened its permanent home in 2016 with a ceremony led by President Barack Obama.

The Literary Gazette was a British literary magazine, established in London in 1817 with its full title being The Literary Gazette, and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences. Sometimes it appeared with the caption title, "London Literary Gazette". It was founded by the publisher Henry Colburn, who appointed the journalist and contributor William Jerdan as editor in July 1817. Jerdan wrote most of the articles and set the character of the magazine, and then became a shareholder and eventually the owner. He retired in 1850, and the magazine ceased publication in 1863.

<i>Look</i> (UK magazine) Defunct British glossy fashion and celebrity weekly magazine

Look was a glossy high street fashion and celebrity weekly magazine for young women that ran for eleven years (2007–2018). It was published by TI Media, and edited by Gilly Ferguson. The magazine focused on fashion, high street shopping advice, celebrity style and news, and real-life stories.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zoe Crosher</span> American artist and enthusiast

Zoe Crosher is an American artist and enthusiast whose work has been exhibited widely at institutions such as the Aspen Art Museum, LACMA, MoMA, and the California Museum of Photography. Crosher lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

The Madison Museum of Fine Art (MMoFA) is located on the town square of Madison, Georgia, USA. The museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.

Give a Day, Get a Disney Day was a promotion created by The Walt Disney Company to increase attendance at its theme parks and promote volunteerism across North America. The company partnered with American charitable and non-profit organizations to provide volunteer opportunities; individuals who volunteered with associated charities and non-profits received a voucher for one free admission to a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park. The promotion had been scheduled to run from January 1, 2010, through December 15, 2010, but ended early, as the full allotment of one million free days were committed by early March.

George Carey Winfrey was an American thoroughbred racehorse owner and trainer who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Michael Caruso is an American magazine editor. He is the fourth editor-in-chief of the Smithsonian magazine, a position he held from 2011 to 2019. He was credited for coining the term "elevator pitch."


  1. "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  2. "Top 100 U.S. Magazines by Circulation" (PDF). PSA Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Winfrey, Carey (October 2005), Noxious Bogs & Amorous Elephants: Smithsonian's birth, 35 years ago, only hinted at the splendors to follow, Smithsonian, archived from the original on February 2, 2013
  4. "Michael Caruso Steps Down as Editor in Chief of Smithsonian Magazine".
  5. "Smithsonian Magazine".
  6. "Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards". Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  7. Brownell, Matt (September 23, 2011). "Free Museum Day: This Saturday!". TheStreet.
  8. "Museum Day: Free admission to nearly 1,500 US museums". September 19, 2018.
  9. "| History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places Smithsonian Magazine".