History & Cultures

FEATURES

Article
Boats Connect Us to the Ocean More than any other objects, boats symbolize human connection to the ocean. As you look through the center of the Ocean Hall, past the model right whale ,...
2012 marked the 70th anniversary of a series of World War II battles in the...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Meet seven of the most fearsome pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy. Like...
Sea ice is typically viewed as the domain of physical and natural scientists,...

LATEST POSTS

Join marine archeologists as they trace the history of the Trouvadore , a slave ship bound for Cuba that wrecked in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, and the ship’s passengers unusual path to freedom.
This 1874 photo of a squid draped over a bathtub was the first ever taken of...
In the 19th century, "whalebone" was an important fashion tool—however, it...

LEARN MORE

The ocean holds a lot of history. Warships from World War II have been found on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean through the...

The Ocean Blog

Smithsonian surveys along the lower north shore of Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada have revealed evidence of a long history of Native American occupation, beginning with the Maritime Archaic Indian...
The ocean was the world's highway, and ships brimming with precious cargoes plied the waters. These merchant ships were tempting targets for pirates, who prowled the seas' major trade routes in...
Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began as a way for fisherman to keep a record of the fish they caught. The fisherman would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then...
Douglas Chilton uses traditional carving tools to shape the Raven Spirit canoe. Chilton—a master carver and member of the Tlingit Nation—transformed the log into a 26-foot-long, traditional...
Blackbeard’s flag showed a skeleton piercing a heart and toasting the devil. Watch a slideshow about legendary pirates of the Golden Age , and learn more about an unusual pirate: William Dampier ,...
Classic examples of Northwest Coast art, these rattles from British Columbia illustrate the sophisticated way of life salmon helped provide. They were used during shamanistic performances to cure...
This painting of swarthy buccaneers in the midst of a fierce battle was painted by the prolific American marine painter Frederick J. Waugh, and won an award in 1910. The New York Times wrote: “The...
Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began as a way for fisherman to keep a record of the fish they caught. The fisherman would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then...
Master carver Douglas Chilton rides at the prow of his creation—the Raven Spirit canoe—at its ceremonial launch in Washington, D.C. The canoe is now on display in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall...
This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History opened its doors, but the Smithsonian’s work in marine science dates back more than 160 years. In fact, our marine collection —...
At a ceremony on the edge of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., Douglas Chilton and other members of the Native community officially name the canoe Raven Spirit and launch the craft. More about...
Subscribe to History & Cultures