ICYMI: Highlights from the week that was March 19 – March 25, 2017

No one can keep up with everything, so let us do it for you. We’ll gather the top Smithsonian stories from across the country and around the world each week so you’ll never be at a loss for conversation around the water cooler.

We took a look at how culture evolves and why history must be preserved even as we learned some surprising lessons from the past this week. We also saw that humans are the cruelest animals of all.


Clip art banner with ICYMI in black speech bibble

Global fund to protect cultural heritage launches with $75m and board led by US billionaire Thomas Kaplan

On Friday, France will propose a new resolution to UN Security Council to safeguard sites in conflict zones around the world

The Art Newspaper, March 20, 2017

French president at podium addresses seated audience

French President François Hollande officially launched the fund on 20 March, at the Louvre in Paris (Photo: Élysée)

Update: On Friday 24 March, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the destruction of cultural heritage during armed conflicts, notably by terrorist groups, and holding the perpetrators accountable for their acts. Drafted by France and Italy, resolution 2347 also makes operational recommendations to counter art trafficking. It is the first ever resolution adopted by the Security Council to focus on protection of cultural heritage worldwide.

A new global fund to protect cultural heritage in war zones, spearheaded by France and the United Arab Emirates, has so far raised $75m of a planned $100m. The fund was officially launched today, 20 March, at the Louvre in Paris by the French President François Hollande and the vice premier minister of the Emirates, Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Read more from Vincent Noce for The Art Newspaper.

Empowering Women, One Meetup At A Time

WAMU 88.5, March 20, 2017

Women holding banner pose for photo

Members of Girl Power Meetups pose in the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery with one member’s artwork. Photo: Jessica Diaz Hurtado / WAMU

On a recent weekend afternoon, around 20 young women gathered in the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery to share homemade ‘zines, paintings and crochet fashion designs. The women were participating in the latest in a series of Girl Power Meetups, gatherings that organizer Samera Paz describes as a space where young women can come together, share art and create meaningful relationships.

“We just bring girls of all ages and all backgrounds together, just showing how important it is to bring girls into a space and make it safe for them to express themselves and to connect and to create art,” Paz said. Read more and listen to the full report from Jessica Diaz-Hurtado for WAMU.

Dead Zones Also Kill Coral Reefs All Over The World

The Science Times, March 21, 2017

Closeup of staghorn coral

PhD candidate Philip Kushlan works on brushing algae from a piece of staghorn coral that is in a holding tank. (Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Not only the acidic ocean or warm salt water is the major killer of coral reefs in the oceans but also the dead zone, which has low oxygen. This is the very first study that linked dead zone to the bleaching of coral reefs in the oceans. “Ocean warming and acidification are recognized global threats to reefs and require large-scale solutions, whereas the newly recognized threats to coral reefs caused by dead zones are more localized,” Andrew Altieri of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama said. Read more from Jaswin S. Singh for The Science Times.

How are U.S. zoos keeping animals safe?

PBS Newshour, March 22

Two crocodiles in enclosure

A picture taken Mar. 2 shows two crocodiles taking a sun bath at the Park Belvedere in the capital Tunis. A group of visitors at the Tunisian zoo had stoned a crocodile to death the previous day. Photo by AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID.

In the past month, there’s been a surge of zoo-related violence and injury in the news. A flamingo was stoned and kicked to death in Prague. A white rhino in a Paris zoo was killed, its horn sawed off. El Salvador’s prized hippopotamus, “Gustavito,” died of wounds after he was violently attacked, and a crocodile at a Tunis zoo died after it was stoned by visitors.

The incidents have again raised questions for animal rights activists and zoos alike about what’s being done to keep zoo animals safe. Read more from Alison Thoet for PBS Newshour.

Major shake-up suggests dinosaurs may have ‘UK origin’

BBC News, March 22

Close up of T. rex skull

The shake-up means savage, meat-eating dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex get reclassified (Photo by Millard H. Sharp)

The first dinosaurs may have originated in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly in an area that is now Britain.

This is one of the conclusions of the first detailed re-evaluation of the relationships between dinosaurs for 130 years.

It shows that the current theory of how dinosaurs evolved and where they came from may well be wrong.

This major shake-up of dinosaur theory is published in this weeks’s edition of the journal Nature. Read more from Pallab Ghosh for BBC News.

Teen’s scrapbook amazes Smithsonian curators

CNN, March 23

Young African American girl in gloves, coat and saddle shoes

Laura Fitzpatrick posing in Brooklyn in the early 1940s.

From 1938 to 1948, Laura Fitzpatrick photographed her friends and neighbors in Brooklyn and kept a detailed scrapbook of 500 photographs. Her remarkable photos, unseen by the public for years, are now part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. See the photos on CNN.

Using the term ‘Latinx,’ exhibition shows immigrants who merged into cultures of their new homes

The Washington Post, March 23

Colorful mural

Rosalia Torres-Weiner depicts the Statue Of Liberty in one of her works on view in the “Gateways/Portales” show at the Anacostia Community Museum.

The top 10 U.S. cities with the highest percentages of Latin American residents are, not surprisingly, in Texas, California and Florida. But none of them is featured in “Gateways/Portales” at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. The exhibition sticks closer to home, surveying the Latino surge in Washington and Baltimore, as well as Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Read a review of the exhibition by Mark Jenkins for the Washington Post.


Posted: 26 March 2017
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.