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Smithsonian magazine cover.png
Editor Michael Caruso (editor-in-chief)[1]
Categories History, science, arts, nature
Frequency Monthly
Total circulation
(June 2016)
First issue April 1970; 47 years ago (1970-04)
Company Smithsonian Institution
Country United States
Based in Washington, D.C., U.S.
Language English
ISSN 0037-7333

Smithsonian is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The first issue was published in 1970.[3]


The history of Smithsonian began when Edward K. Thompson, the retired editor of Life magazine, was asked by the then-Secretary of the Smithsonian, S. Dillon Ripley, to produce a magazine "about things in which the Smithsonian [Institution] is interested, might be interested or ought to be interested."[4]

Thompson would later recall that his philosophy for the new magazine was that it "would stir curiosity in already receptive minds. It would deal with history as it is relevant to the present. It would present art, since true art is never dated, in the richest possible reproduction. It would peer into the future via coverage of social progress and of science and technology. Technical matters would be digested and made intelligible by skilled writers who would stimulate readers to reach upward while not turning them off with jargon. We would find the best writers and the best photographers—not unlike the best of the old Life."[4]

In 1973, the magazine turned a profit for the first time. By 1974, circulation had nearly quadrupled, to 635,000, and it reached the one million milestone in 1975—one of the most successful launches of its time. In 1980, Thompson was replaced by Don Moser, who had also worked at Life, and circulation reached upwards of two million, in turn, by Carey Winfrey upon his retirement in 2001.


Smithsonian magazine provides in-depth analysis of varied topics within a diverse range of scientific areas, and adds photography to supplement its comprehensive features.[5] The monthly magazine looks at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution - science, history, art, popular culture and innovation - and chronicles them for its diverse readership.[6]

Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards[edit]

Every year since 2012, the Magazine has sponsored the American Ingenuity Awards, a recognition of innovation in the arts, sciences and technology. Winners have included Elon Musk, Lin-Manuel Miranda, OK Go, Dave Eggers, Aziz Ansari, Rosanne Cash, Jeff Bezos, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and David Lynch.

Presenters have included Stephen Hawking (twice), Stephen Colbert, David Byrne, Herbie Hancock, Erin Brockovich, Ruben Blades, Bill Nye, Art Spiegelman and Senator Al Franken.

The American Ingenuity Award itself was created by the artist Jeff Koons. [7]


Notable past and current contributors to Smithsonian have included:

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Jim Romenesko (October 19, 2011). "Caruso named Smithsonian editor-in-chief". Romenesko+. The Poynter Institute. Retrieved October 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ "AAM: Total Circ for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 U.S. Magazines by Circulation" (PDF). PSA Research Center. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Winfrey, Carey (October 2005), Noxious Bogs & Amorous Elephants: Smithsonian's birth, 35 years ago, only hinted at the splendors to follow, Smithsonian 
  5. ^ "Smithsonian Magazine". Science & Nature Magazines. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ "About Smithsonian". Smithsonian. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards". Retrieved January 12, 2016. 

External links[edit]


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