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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This week's edition features an array of perspectives on science: from a space mission in progress 200 million miles away; from women who are shaping the profession's future (and one who pushed back against the constraints of the past); and from an artist who offers a perceptively witty take on the very unfunny legacy of plastic pollution.

They're among the offerings designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you,ve come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.

Joe Scarborough on Truman's Crusade

By 1947, the Soviet Union had moved from being America's uneasy ally in the Second World War to its most feared enemy. In the aftermath of that conflict, only America could afford to defend freedom in the West-and a president who hadn't even been elected to that office found himself spearheading the effort. But Harry S. Truman would wage a high-stakes domestic political battle that convinced friends and foes alike to join in his crusade to defend democracy across the globe from the threat of Soviet communism. In a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Tuesday, November 24, Joe Scarborough-a Washington Post columnist, creator of "Morning Joe," and former congressman-draws on his new book, Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization, to examine how an untested president acted decisively to build a lasting coalition that would influence America's foreign policy for generations to come.

Register for the Program

Beyond Sugar and Spice

The title of a new exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History says it all: Girlhood (It's complicated). Brushing away the traditional "sugar and spice and everything nice" platitude, the museum takes a look at the past to demonstrate that girls are made of stronger stuff-and that they changed history. To explore how American girls from Helen Keller to Naomi Wadler have spoken up, challenged expectations, and been on the front lines of social change, the content features sections on education, wellness, work, fashion, and seven interactive biographical stories. Can't visit in person? The exhibition's companion website gives visitors the opportunity to experience many of the objects and stories featured in Girlhood, and offers the unique opportunity to explore a selection of historical artifacts as high-resolution, narrated 3D scans.

Browse the Girlhood Exhibition Website

Delivery From an Asteroid

In late October, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm and briefly touched the surface of the well-preserved ancient asteroid Bennu to collect dust and pebbles for delivery to Earth in 2023-a voyage that will cover more than 200 million miles. The scientific community is already looking forward to what these bits of Bennu will reveal about the composition of objects in the solar system and asteroid belt-as well as our own planet's origins. In a Smithsonian Voices blog post, learn why scientists from the National Museum of Natural History are particularly interested in the indications that the massive boulders on Bennu's surface have moved a lot over the last few hundred thousand years.

And if you're fascinated by celestial rocks, join George Mason University Observatory's Peter Plavchan and geologist-turned-meteorite scientist Tim Gregory for a night illuminated by meteors and meteorites on Monday, December 14. The Smithsonian Associates Streaming program includes a live all-sky camera viewing of the annual Geminid meteor shower, weather permitting.

Read the Natural History Museum Article

Meteors and Meteorites: Geminids Live

A Formula for the Future

Over six days in October, the Smithsonian's virtual symposium American Women of Science: Recovering History, Defining the Future offered sessions focused on spotlighting lesser-known histories of women in science, sharing current research and programming breakthroughs, and creating opportunities for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future of the profession. Selected full presentations from each day are available to view online. The event was part of the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative.

Science has not always been a welcoming field for women. During her career, microbiologist Rita Colwell, the first woman to lead the National Science Foundation, has observed everything from sexual harassment in the lab to systems that block women from pursuing their chosen specialties, leading professional organizations, or publishing their work. Yet she and other women excelled despite the obstacles they faced. In a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Wednesday January 20, she discusses her new book A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science and examines how women successfully pushed back against the status quo-and what science gained in the process.

Discover More From Smithsonian's Virtual Symposium

Register for the Program

The Art's in the Bag

Will water bottles, yogurt cups, and coffee lids be the pottery shards of our era? The Plastic Bag Store is a public art installation and performance piece by artist and director Robin Frohardt that takes satirical yet serious aim at a culture of consumption and convenience. Timed to coincide with the reinstatement of New York's plastic bag ban, The Plastic Bag Store is an immersive film installation set inside a (fake) grocery store in the heart of Times Square. Stocked with thousands of items made entirely of discarded and reimagined single-use plastics, the shelves tell a story of how the overabundance of plastic waste we leave behind might be misinterpreted by future generations. Frohardt describes the project, commissioned by Times Square Art, as "a visually rich, tactile, and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable, and that there is no ‘away' when we throw something out." Take a look at the The Plastic Bag Store's trailer and you might see the next container of coleslaw you buy in a whole new light.

Learn More About The Plastic Bag Store