Smithsonian Magazine April 2021

Smithsonian Magazine takes you on a journey through history, science, world culture and technology with breathtaking images from around the world.

United States
Smithsonian Institute
kr 36,10
kr 180,86
11 Utgaver

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2 min
“polar bears represent a livelihood for the people of churchill.”

That’s Amore! In a city that is riotous with people, cars and movement, the margherita pizza is the calm in the storm (“Pie Is a Constant”). Naples is as much of an ingredient as yeast or basil. — D. Jelks | Louisiana Arctic Ecology Polar bears represent a livelihood for the people of Churchill (“The Ice Is Calling”) and they give us an indication of what is happening with our planet. I remember hearing 20 years ago how they were having issues catching seals because of a lack of sea ice and how they would terrorize Churchill looking for food. They took on the mantle of being a nuisance. I believe attitudes have changed. — Sheila Smith | Covington, Tennessee Cracking the Code In “Cuba Confidential,” it is implied that during World War II a machine was…

2 min
a new mosaic

FAMOUS ARTIFACTS might bring audiences into our museums, but curation helps them understand what they have come to see. Curation lets our collections sing. Every Smithsonian object has a rich back story to contextualize and interpret. With a portfolio that spans research and scholarship, development and design, curators make our collections accessible to broad audiences, bringing unknown narratives to light or inviting reconsideration of already-beloved artifacts. From “Americans” at the National Museum of the American Indian to “Deep Time” at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian exhibitions help audiences understand how we got to where we are, and how our choices today affect the future of our country and planet. This month, I think back to a project that illustrated the power of what a great exhibition can achieve: the…

5 min
game on

THE FIRST-EVER baseball game that you would recognize took place in Hoboken, New Jersey, on June 19, 1846, when the New York Knickerbockers played the more prosaically named New York Baseball Club. There had been bat-and-glove competitions throughout the Northeast, to be sure, but the Knickerbockers made things official, formalizing the number of teammates, the rules of play and the uniform: They arrived at the stadium, Elysian Fields, dressed in matching shirts and pantaloons and wide-brimmed hats made of thin, plaited wood strips. That day’s game featured nine innings, nine field positions and an untimed pace of play—customs that hold to this day. Though the Knickerbockers’ stipulation that each player “must also have the reputation of a gentleman” has been sadly strained over the years by dugout-clearing brawls and cheating scandals,…

2 min
inside béisbol

ROBERTO CLEMENTE—the Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder whose fabled talents and devotion to charity made him one of the most beloved ballplayers ever, and who died tragically at 38 in an airplane crash —began his career in Puerto Rico in 1952, playing for the Cangrejeros de Santurce before adoring crowds. Arriving in Pittsburgh in 1955, Clemente built a heroic 18-year career, inspiring generations of Latino men and women to seek their fortune on the field. A multitude of players came to the United States from Spanish-speaking islands and countries and helped make baseball, and American life, what they are today. A new Smithsonian traveling exhibit, ¡Pleibol!, organized by the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service with federal funding administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, brings stories…

1 min
but is it still avant-garde?

APIONEERING abstract painter, Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943) was also a skilled crafter of beautiful objects, from intricately beaded handbags to minimalist marionettes. That dual focus, says Eva Reifert, a curator at Kunstmuseum Basel in Taeuber-Arp’s native Switzerland, may be part of why her work has long been overlooked: “If artists try to bridge categories, people don’t know what to make of it,” she says. But this year a new exhibition, on view at the Kunstmuseum through June before it travels to the Tate Modern in London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, aims to make amends. Through some 400 works, including jewelry, textiles, drawings and paintings, the show tells the story of an artist whom Reifert calls “a hub” of the avant-garde scene in the 1920s and ’30s, deeply involved…

8 min
listening to the fishes

AMONG THE MANY PUZZLES that confronted American sailors during World War II, few were as vexing as the sound of phantom enemies. Especially in the war’s early days, submarine crews and sonar operators listening for Axis vessels were often baffled by what they heard. When the USS Salmon surfaced to search for the ship whose rumbling propellers its crew had detected off the Philippines coast on Christmas Eve 1941, the submarine found only an empty expanse of moonlit ocean. Elsewhere in the Pacific, the USS Tarpon was mystified by a repetitive clanging and the USS Permit by what crew members described as the sound of “hammering on steel.” In the Chesapeake Bay, the clangor—likened by one sailor to “pneumatic drills tearing up a concrete sidewalk”—was so loud it threatened to…