Space Shuttle Discovery DC Fly Over

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is seen from Top of the Town in Arlington, Virginia as it flies near the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, in Washington.

Space Shuttle Discovery DC Fly Over

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) flies near the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, in Washington. Discovery, the first orbiter retired from NASA’s shuttle fleet, completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times, and traveled 148,221,675 miles.

Discovery Has Landed (VIDEO)

Shuttle Touched Down at Dulles Airport; Next Stop—Smithsonian

April 17, 2012

The shuttle Discovery, the longest-serving orbiter in history, landed at Dulles airport today at 11:05 a.m. EDT.

National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy-Center


Director: Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, USMC (Ret.)
Number of Artifacts/Specimens: 1,993 aviation, 976 space, and 47 art
Visitors (2012): 1.4 million



Smithsonian and Monticello to Offer Webinar “Jefferson: Revolutionary Thinker” April 27

April 16, 2012

The Smithsonian Institution and Monticello will present the daylong webinar “Jefferson: Revolutionary Thinker” Friday, April 27, from 9:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. While developed for teachers and secondary school students, the webinar is free and open to the public; however, registration is required at smithsonianconference.org:

Samuel Williams’s Telescope

Photo: Harold Dorwin, Smithsonian

This telescope was made in 1768-69 by Edward Nairne of London. Samuel Williams, a minister and professor of astronomy at Harvard College, used this telescope to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun.

1845 Reproduction of Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin Patent Model, patent issued 1796

Photo: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian

In Whitney’s day, inventors sent paperwork, a model, and $30 to the secretary of state (then Thomas Jefferson) in order to obtain a patent. After a fire destroyed the Patent Office and its contents in 1836, officials re-created some of the records and models. This model may have been based on existing gins as well as on other models made by Whitney.


Sample of Penicillin Mold

Photo: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian

In September 1928, British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming found something unusual growing in his laboratory. Mold had contaminated a plate of staphylococci, disease-causing bacteria. Where the mold had spread, the bacteria had disappeared.


CBS Microphone, 1930s

Photo: Hugh Talman, Smithsonian

This microphone was used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to broadcast radio addresses, known as “fireside chats.” Through times of crisis such as the Great Depression and World War II, Roosevelt broadcast more than 30 fireside chats between 1933 and 1944 and developed an intimate, reassuring rapport with the American people that helped build confidence in his leadership.

Joseph Ellicott’s Tall Case Clock

Photo: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian

In 1769, Pennsylvania clockmaker and millwright Joseph Ellicott completed this complicated tall case clock. On three separate dials, it tells the time and shows the phases of the moon; depicts on an orrery the motions of the sun, moon, and planets; and plays selected 24 musical tunes on the hour.