|Categories||History, science, arts, nature|
|First issue||April 1970|
|Based in||Washington, D.C., U.S.|
Smithsonian is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The first issue was published in 1970.
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."
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."
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.Since that time Deborah Rosenberg and Terence Monmaney have served as executive editors.
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.
Notable past and current contributors to Smithsonian have included:
The Smithsonian Institution, or simply the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and 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.
The National Museum of the American Indian is a museum in the United States devoted to the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution group of museums and research centers.
Lee Bontecou is an American sculptor and printmaker and a pioneer figure in the New York art world. She kept her work consistently in a recognizable style, and received broad recognition in the 1960s. Bontecou made abstract sculptures in the 1960s and 1970s and created vacuum-formed plastic fish, plants, and flower forms in the 1970s. Rich, organic shapes and powerful energy appear in her drawings, prints, and sculptures. Her work has been shown and collected in many major museums in the United States and in Europe.
The Freer Gallery of Art is an art museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. focusing on Asian art. The Freer and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery together form the National Museum of Asian Art in the United States. The Freer and Sackler galleries house the largest Asian art research library in the country and contain art from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Islamic world, the ancient Near East, and ancient Egypt, as well as a significant collection of American art.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is an American documentary filmmaker and portrait photographer based in New York City. The majority of his work is shot in large format.
Crockett Johnson was the pen name of the American cartoonist and children's book illustrator David Johnson Leisk. He is best known for the comic strip Barnaby (1942–1952) and the Harold series of books, beginning with Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Mademoiselle was a women's magazine first published in 1935 by Street and Smith and later acquired by Condé Nast Publications.
Wilson McLean is a Scottish illustrator and artist. He has illustrated primarily in the field of advertising, but has also provided cover art for music albums, sports magazines, a children's book, and other commercial endeavors.
The Spokane Art Center in Spokane, Washington, was a community art school opened in 1938 as part of the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. Its staff included many notable artists, and it was widely considered to be one of the nation's most successful FAP art centers. It closed in 1942.
Sport was an American sports magazine. Launched in September 1946 by New York-based publisher Macfadden Publications, Sport pioneered the generous use of color photography – it carried eight full-color plates in its first edition.
Franklin S. Odo was a Japanese American author, scholar, activist, and historian. Odo served as the director of the Asian Pacific American Program at the Smithsonian Institution from the program's inception in 1997 until his retirement in 2010. As the director of the APA Program, Odo brought numerous exhibits to the Smithsonian highlighting the experiences of Chinese Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, and Indian Americans. He was the first Asian Pacific American curator at the National Museum of American History. He taught American Studies at Amherst College until his death.
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.
Jay Hall Carpenter, is a professional sculptor, perhaps best known as creator of 500 sculptures for the Washington National Cathedral. His oeuvre includes private and public works in the hands of individuals and in American churches, the State Department, the Smithsonian Institution, Canterbury Cathedral, the New England Medical Center, West Point Military Academy, and the State of Maryland. Elected into the National Sculpture Society before the age of thirty, he has won national awards for his sculptures.
George Carey Winfrey was an American thoroughbred racehorse owner and trainer who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
New Philosopher is an ad-free newsstand philosophy magazine distributed throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand, and produced by the team behind the magazine Womankind.
Andrew Baron is a self-taught, award-winning paper engineer and singled out by Robert Sabuda, a leading children's pop-up book artist, as a wunderkind of pull tabs, specific devices used to cause movement in pop-up books.
Grazia Toderi is an Italian artist working primarily in the medium of video art. Born in Padua, and trained in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna, Toderi began working in the medium of media and video art in the 1990s. Currently working out of Milan and Turin, the MIT Museum describes her as "one of the most recognized visual artists working in Italy today". Toderi is inspired in part by Giotto and other early 14th-century painters, but "draws more heavily on contemporary experience, from distant views of cities glowing at night to the zero-gravity ballets of the U.S. space programs". Latvia's NOASS has described Toderi as first gaining critical attention in 1993 after participating in the 45th Venice Biennale, and "often referred to as one of the most important contemporary artists, working in fields of video projection and installation art and is recognized for her iconic use of aerial images of nighttime metropolitan cities." Much of Toderi's video art involves visualizations of the infinite, and Toderi credits this to a "formative moment in her childhood—watching the simulcast of the first moonwalk."
Carey Winfrey is an American journalist. He was the founding editor of Memories magazine and the former editor-in-chief of Cuisine, American Health and Smithsonian magazines.
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."