Virtually explore the American Museum of National History with Smarthistory as your guide
videos + essays
This “lost or stolen friend” left Easter Island in 1869. Carved of dense volcanic rock, it towers over the viewer.
After a century in storage, this “Whale Rider” got a visit from his descendants—and received a token of their love.
Master sailors fashioned these maps from sticks and cowrie shells, registering relationships between land and sea.
This video decodes the hand gestures, symbols, and styles of Buddhas from Thailand, Pakistan, Japan, and China.
In spite its name, this jade figure was a ritual object and never used as an axe.
Take me out to the ballgame: hundreds of courts survive for a ritual ballgame that united Mesoamerican society.
Wearers can toggle between the faces of animals and mythical beings—all with the tug of a string.