Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Behind the Swinging Doors: A Look Inside Recette’s Kitchen

Behind the Swinging Doors: A Look Inside Recette’s Kitchen



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What goes on behind the kitchen doors at Recette?

Jane Bruce

The kitchen at Recette isn't much bigger than what's in this photo. Executive sous chef Edward Blumfield lets out a yawn while chatting with expeditor Breno Costa, and Luis Capellan prepares dishes on the left.

From the Bar

Jane Bruce

The kitchen at Recette isn't much bigger than what's in this photo. Executive sous chef Edward Blumfield lets out a yawn while chatting with expeditor Breno Costa, and Luis Capellan prepares dishes on the left.

Making Dessert

Jane Bruce

One of the chefs makes chocolate molasses gateaux.

Baby Pictures

Jane Bruce

No, the Recette kitchen doesn't keep photos of restaurant critics on the wall, just photos of chef Schenker's son.

Slow Night

Jane Bruce

There's not a lot of action in the kitchen, so while one chef texts, another prepares a dish for the dining room.

View of the Dining Room

Jane Bruce

A window above the sinks gives a view of the dining room from the kitchen.

More Texting

Jane Bruce

During the quiet time before the dinner rush starts, the chefs spend time on their phones.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Sidedoor


A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS. Feeds like this one provide updates whenever there is new content. FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in popular podcatchers.

Current Feed Content

The Artist Critics Love to Hate

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 04:00:00 -0000

LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.

BONUS: Confronting the Past

Posted: Wed, 26 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.

At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.

Best of the Rest III

Posted: Wed, 19 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”

On The Money

Posted: Wed, 05 May 2021 04:00:00 -0000

We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.

BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn&rsquot

Posted: Wed, 28 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.

We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.

Holding out for a Herring

Posted: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Henrietta the river herring is not a particularly glamorous fish. But she’s got grit. Every summer, she swims out to the Atlantic ocean, and every spring, she makes the 500 mile journey back to Maryland’s Patapsco River, where she was born—a habitat that’s been only partially accessible to herring like her for more than a century. But this year will be different. Join the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s herring tagging team as they study what happens to herring like Henrietta when someone gives a dam.

Hot Bird Summer

Posted: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0000

Every spring, for as long as records have been kept, a crowd of hundreds of black crowned night herons descend on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, mating, eating and generally causing a ruckus. Many of the keepers at the zoo enjoy them, but they can be a tough bird to love.

Every fall, peace is restored when the herons decamp and fly off to… where? For more than a century, nobody knew. Until now.

America's Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon—and her legacy lives on in her recipes.

A Very Cold Case

Posted: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 05:00:00 -0000

American newspaper publisher and all-around eccentric, Charles Francis Hall, was an unlikely candidate to become an Arctic explorer. Nevertheless, he made three trips to the frozen north, until he died there under suspicious circumstances. Sharpen your powers of deduction and join us on Sidedoor for an epic frozen whodunit, featuring shipwreck, romance, and a social media darling with a dark secret.

Life is Hard, Let's Meditate!

Posted: Wed, 24 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As Americans approach a full year of pandemic life, there’s an overwhelming sense of anticipation: when can we get vaccinated? What will life look like in six months? When will life return to normal? Maybe because looking outward feels so daunting, a lot of people are looking inward, through mindfulness and meditation. In this episode of Sidedoor, we learn about mindfulness and meditation through the lens of religion – a Buddhist priest shares the story of her religious journey and we hear about the secular spirituality that young Americans are increasingly following away from religion.

Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

Posted: Wed, 10 Feb 2021 05:00:00 -0000

If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

Tailyr Irvine’s Reservation Mathematics: Navigating Love in Native America exhibition link: https://americanindian.si.edu/developingstories/irvine.html

Sing a Song of Protest

Posted: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

As an up-and-coming young blues singer in the 1950s, Barbara Dane faced a choice: fame and fortune, or her principles. She left the mainstream music industry and became a revolutionary music producer – literally. Spurred by Fidel Castro’s international gathering of protest singers, Dane created a record label that published the sounds of social change around the world, and inspired generations of protest music to come.

How Wonder Woman Got Her Groove Back

Posted: Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 -0000

Wonder Woman is the best known female superhero of all time, but she’s been through a lot. The brainchild of a psychologist, Wonder Woman hit the comic pages in the 1940s as an antidote to the “bloodcurdling masculinity” of male superheroes. But by the early ‘70s, Wonder Woman was having a midlife crisis. She’d given up her bullet-blocking bracelets and lasso of truth…and opened a clothing boutique. It took a feminist magazine cover to make-over Wonder Woman from comic book character to the icon she remains today.

Edison&rsquos Demon Dolls

Posted: Wed, 16 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In 1890, Americans were delighted when they heard the news that Thomas Edison was using his phonograph technology to give voice to porcelain dolls. But their delight turned to horror when they got their hands on his dolls. In this episode of Sidedoor, we’ll hear a short story that imagines what happens when two little girls receive one of Edison’s talking dolls as a holiday gift, as well as meet one of these dolls with an expert from the National Museum of American history.

To see one of these dolls, check it out on our website.

Bonus Episode: Tempest in a Teacup

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 05:00:00 -0000

This week, we have an episode from the NHPR podcast “Outside/In” about passenger pigeons. The passenger pigeon is one of the world’s most symbolic extinction stories. It’s a cautionary tale of how in just a few short generations, one of the wonders of the world could be completely eradicated. But when that narrative was questioned in a popular book, 1491 by Charles Mann, what does the response tell us about the conservation movement as a whole?

Bonus Episode: That Time the FBI Called

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 05:00:09 -0000

This week, we’re sharing an episode of ‘Detours,’ a new podcast from our friends at GBH and PRX. The podcast shares surprising stories that unfold behind the scenes at the PBS classic TV show “Antiques Roadshow.” In this episode: a rare daguerreotype, Edgar Alan Poe, and…the FBI.

You can find ‘Detours’ wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Gorilla Epidemic

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When a highly-contagious mystery illness spread through the world’s mountain gorilla population, biologists feared the entire species could be lost. Gorillas don’t wear masks or social distance, so there wasn’t much time for the scientists to identify the illness and find a cure for humanity’s hirsute cousins. What they found in 1988 reminds us in 2020 that humans and wildlife share more than a planet: we share disease.

Dress Coded

Posted: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Dress codes have been around a long time—from the old days of long skirts and bloomers to today’s regulation-length shorts. But while the specifics of what girls can wear to school have changed, the purpose of the codes has not.

Appalachia Goes Beijing

Posted: Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei first jammed together, “it was magic.” Fei was shocked to meet an American banjo player so curious about China’s culture and Abigail Washburn met a classically trained composer whose talents on the guzheng, a 2500 year old 21-string Chinese harp, perfectly complimented her banjo pickin’. Today, they collaborate to make a new brand of folk music: one that combines the tones of Appalachia with the melodies of China.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 02 Sep 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secret lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Bonus Ep: Cult of True Womanhood

Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Bonus Episode | This week, we wanted to share “And Nothing Less,” the new short series from our colleagues at the National Park Service and PRX. It gives a much-needed closer look at the twisty history of the 19th Amendment - and its lesser-known heroes. It’s hosted by two fabulous women: Rosario Dawson and Retta. We’ll play the first episode right here, and you can find the rest of the series by searching (enunciate) “And Nothing Less” wherever you get your podcasts!

The Riverkeeper

Posted: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Fred Tutman is the voice of the river. Specifically, Maryland’s Patuxent River. As the Riverkeeper, his job is to protect and preserve all 110 miles of that waterway – a role that takes him both to the courtroom and to the riverbank. But Fred is also the only African American Riverkeeper in the United States, a fact he sees as an indicator of an environmental movement that is incomplete. And it’s the planet that will pay the price.

Votes for Hawaiians

Posted: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:00:00 -0000

100 years ago this month, the 19th Amendment was ratified into the American Constitution. It’s widely remembered as the moment American women gained the right to vote, but history tells a more complex story. For millions of Indigenous Americans living in far-flung territories, the 19th Amendment afforded some rights – but fell well short of what was promised. So this time: how women’s suffrage came to Hawaiʻi – and what was taken from Hawaiians to get there.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Take Who Out to the Ball Game?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Baseball fan or not, you know this song…or at least, you think you do. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is one of the top three most recognizable songs in the country, next to the “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Birthday.” But long-forgotten lyrics reveal a feminist message buried amid the peanuts and cracker jack.

Shredding Skateboarding&rsquos Glass Ceiling

Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Mimi Knoop entered her first skateboarding competition at 24 years old, she never anticipated leaving her mark on the sport forever. But in the early 2000s, she formed an alliance with pioneering skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside to make a simple request: that the X Games – and the rest of the skateboarding industry – treat female skateboarders the same way they treat their male peers.

America&rsquos Unknown Celebrity Chef

Posted: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 04:00:00 -0000

When Lena Richard cooked her first chicken on television, she beat Julia Child to the screen by over a decade. At a time when most African American women cooks worked behind swinging kitchen doors, Richard claimed her place as a culinary authority, broadcasting in the living rooms of New Orleans’s elite white families. She was an entrepreneur, educator, author, and an icon – and her legacy lives on in her recipes. Today: her improbable rise to prominence, and her famous gumbo.

Young Harriet

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

In 2017, a photograph of Harriet Tubman surfaced that had been lost to history for more than a century. In a feature of the National Portrait Gallery’s Portraits podcast, we hear the story behind this picture, and how its discovery changes the way we see Tubman – not just an icon of freedom and human dignity, but a courageous young woman.

The People's Insect

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 04:00:00 -0000

To look at them, you might think, “Monarch butterflies aren’t going anywhere fast.” But each year, these beauties complete one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, soaring more than a mile high to gather on a few mountaintops in Mexico they’ve never seen before, yet somehow they all know where to find. We unlock the secrets lives of monarchs, and learn how to support them on their journey.

Best of the Rest II

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

A perplexing tattoo. Ancient erotica. Killer bees on the loose. This episode is full of short stories we’ve been eager to tell, but couldn’t… until now. It’s Sidedoor’s second-ever “Best of the Rest!”

Learn more about the Freer & Sackler’s collection of shunga, the National Museum of American
History’s Great Historic Clock of America on si.edu.

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Three billion birds have gone missing since 1970. And conservation biologist Pete Marra considers it his life’s work to make sure more don’t slip away without a fight. In this episode, we go bird-spotting with Pete, and learn what each of us can do to bring birds back.

The Milkmaid Spy

Posted: Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Virginia Hall dreamed of being America’s first female ambassador. Instead, she became a spy. Joining the ranks of the U.S.’s first civilian spy network, she operated alone in occupied France, where she built French Resistance networks, delivered critical intelligence, and sold cheese to the enemy. All on one leg.

The Last Man To Know It All

Posted: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:00:00 -0000

Alexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them *scary. *It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this episode, we learn how Humboldt - through science and art - inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

Outer Space & Underwear

Posted: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 05:00:00 -0000

In the Venn diagram of life, it’s hard to imagine what spacecraft and women’s underwear might have in common. And that’s probably what NASA engineers thought back in 1962 when they asked a handful of companies to design a spacesuit that would keep a man alive and mobile on the moon. Nobody counted on the International Latex Corporation, whose commercial brand, Playtex, was known for its bras and girdles. But lingerie, and the expert seamstresses who sewed it, played a critical role in those first well-supported steps on the moon.

We're Back!

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2020 05:00:04 -0000

Get ready for season five! Our new season begins on Wednesday, March 4th. Journey with Lizzie through our many side doors for a behind-the scenes view of the Smithsonian.

Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:00 -0000

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.

Ponzi's Scheme

Posted: Wed, 08 Jan 2020 05:00:00 -0000

Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

The Worst Video Game Ever?

Posted: Wed, 25 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

Finding Cleopatra

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 05:00:00 -0000

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
“What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

Apollo 12's Really Close Call

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:00:00 -0000

On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

Dynamite!

Posted: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 04:01:00 -0000

In its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory
to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

This Episode Smells

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 04:01:02 -0000

Smell connects us to memories of the people and the places of our lives. But what if it could connect us to a past we’ve never experienced? That's the goal for one team of artists and scientists who used DNA to try to revive the scent of a flower extinct for more than a century.

The Dinosaur War

Posted: Wed, 02 Oct 2019 04:01:55 -0000

Behind the fossilized teeth, bones, and claws displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall is the story of two men and a nasty feud. During the paleontology boom of the late 1800s, scientists O.C. Marsh and Edward Cope went from good friends who named species after each other, to the bitterest of enemies who eventually ruined each other's lives and careers. Come for the dinos, stay for the grudges. Episode originally aired June 12, 2019.

The Woman in the Frame

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 04:01:49 -0000

Did you know that Martha Washington was essential to America’s Revolutionary War effort? Or that Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? According to journalist, writer, and commentator Cokie Roberts, many of America's First Ladies were dynamic, politically engaged trailblazers who are often overlooked. We sit down with the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery director, Kim Sajet, to talk about a recent episode of the museum’s new podcast, Portraits. In it, she and Cokie discuss four First Ladies who are remembered for their influence on American history.

Note: As many of you have probably heard, Cokie Roberts passed away in the days since we originally recorded this episode. Our heart goes out to all of Cokie’s family, friends, and people like us who have enjoyed her work for decades.


Watch the video: Behind Those Swinging Doors (August 2022).