Here’s a portal that brings you news as diverse as it can get. Discover the exciting art of mushroom picking from the forests of Oregon, rewind to the most famous forward pass in the history of football, or learn the truth behind the hoax of batmen on the moon.
These are just examples of the kind of information www.smithsonianmag.com, the online version of the Smithsonian magazine published from the world’s largest museum complex in Washington DC, the US.
When the Smithsonian magazine was launched way back in 1970, the idea was to stir curiosity in already receptive minds. Thirty-one years later, the publication — along with its associated website — continues to whet its readers’ appetite for curious information on topics ranging from history, travel and arts to science, people and nature. There are articles, photos, videos, games and more to keep you hooked.
All content on the site is free, making it an easy and interesting resource for young readers on the dynamic changes in today’s world. The site follows a magazine look with several columns of articles dotted with relevant images. And although the homepage is a medley of text, links and pictures, it does not look cluttered but rather tempts you to explore each segment.
The articles are categorised under history and archaeology, people and places, science and nature, and arts and culture. Each category has several sub-segments, making it simple for readers to search and read articles.
The list of write-ups is enviable and so is the quality. The articles give an in-depth view on varied developments around the world.
At the Smithsonian site, there is something for everyone. For history buffs, there are biographies of historical figures, stories of archaeological finds, and news about US and world histories. An arts aficionado may nurture his or her interest in literature, theatre or music. Through the people and places section, you can enjoy a virtual tour of several countries and know about the escapades of famous individuals across the world. The science and nature section will bring you closer to the mysteries of the universe and lead you to discover facts that will make your jaw drop. The travel section will take you to lands far and wide.
What is noteworthy about the Smithsonian magazine website is that it is both educational and entertaining. While the style of writing is easy to comprehend, the content has a strong intellectual and academic touch. The angles adopted are not run-of-the-mill, giving the magazine a unique flavour.
For example, there’s a report that reveals that George Washington was a reluctant first President of the United States of America. Another one on Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo describes his passion for painting witty portraits with fruits, vegetables, fish and trees. There’s even one that discusses what to do if you discovered extraterrestrial life.
The site also has an impressive collection of blog posts that will keep you updated on the Smithsonian museum, ideas and innovations in the field of science and happenings in the area of food. If you get bored of reading, click on the photos and videos for an enriching visual treat. Or get your grey cells ticking with games and puzzles.
The Smithsonian institute is a reputed research organisation. It has 19 museums, nine research centres and 168 affiliate museums. The website too lives up to this illustrious line-up. The content is so varied that it seems to touch on almost all aspects of life, making it an ideal site for young minds to discover and explore. It would appeal to both the serious information seeker and the casual Internet surfer. The articles and features are so in-depth that students can use this as a resource for assignments and projects.
There’s never a dull moment on www.smithsonianmag.com. The only shortcoming, perhaps, is the predominance of articles related to the US.
WHAT IT IS
Online version on the Smithsonian magazine
All features are free
Predominance of articles on