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.
Rock and roll, rad sleepovers and bugs named for Beyoncé kept us entertained this week as we pondered yet another panda pregnancy possibility.
NPR Weekend Edition, August 6
In 1958, the guitar riff known as “Rumble” shocked audiences. Its use of distortion and bass made it sound dangerous and transgressive to audiences at the time — and its influence is still heard today. Behind that song was a Native American musician named Link Wray, who went on to inspire legions of rock ‘n’ roll greats. He’s featured in a new documentary called Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World, which aims to finally give Native American musicians their due.
Another rock legend featured in the film is Stevie Salas, who has played with Justin Timberlake, Rod Stewart, George Clinton, Mick Jagger and others. He also helped curate an exhibition about Native Americans in rock ‘n’ roll at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and served as Rumble’s executive producer. Read more from Lulu Garcia-Navarro and hear the story on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
International Business Times, August 8
Sea lice normally feed on fish flesh but they might have made a meal out of an Australian teenager’s feet this weekend. Sixteen-year-old Sam Kanizay was reportedly soaking his legs at the Dendy Street Beach in the Brighton area of Melbourne after playing soccer, but when he came out of the water his feet and legs were covered in blood. The bleeding did not stop and he was rushed to the hospital.
“As soon as we wiped [his legs] down, they kept bleeding,” father Jarrod Kanizay said. “There was a massive pool of blood on the floor [at the hospital].”
Some are speculating that sea lice were what attacked the teen. Read more from Elana Glowatz for the International Business Times.
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History examines the narwhal’s role in indigenous culture and the possible reasons behind its unusual tusk.
News Deeply, August 8
Most people know that polar bears are threatened by climate change. But few are aware that narwhal whales – the so-called unicorns of the sea, which are relied on by northernmost Inuit communities for subsistence and cultural survival – could be even more vulnerable.
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., aims to bring much-needed attention to the narwhal and the imminent threat it faces with climate change. The exhibit, “Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend,” also explores an enduring mystery about narwhals: What exactly is the purpose of that saber-like tusk sticking out of its head? Read more from Brad Badelt for News Deeply.
The New York Times, August 10
Roaming the streets of the Dupont Circle neighborhood about 20 years ago, Julian Hunt spotted a grimy staircase leading down from the pavement to a boarded-up door.
He spent many hours on the phone and in the city’s archives, which led Mr. Hunt to crawl through filthy tunnels with a flashlight to discover an old trolley tunnel inhabited by a small group of homeless people.
Since the city’s trolley service shut down in 1962, the 75,000-square-foot labyrinth had been the site of a subterranean murder, rumored ’80s rave parties and a Cold War-era bomb shelter. Now, Mr. Hunt, an architect who was a founder of the Hunt Laudi Studio, has turned the tunnels into the Dupont Underground art space, which draws 3,000 visitors every month. Read more from Avantika Chilkoti for The New York Times.
The Washington Post, August 10
I woke up Saturday morning next to a large jar of something disgusting. “Agg, worms!” I exclaimed. “Actually, those are krill,” explained Colette, sitting up in her sleeping bag. “They pretty much form the foundation of the ocean food web,” she added, paraphrasing a label on a nearby wall.
That was just one of the many things I learned while camping overnight at the National Museum of Natural History, which, like many D.C.-area institutions, offers folks the opportunity to spend the night for around $135 a person (see chart). Despite the hefty price tag, these programs — which include an evening’s worth of educational activities — are wildly popular and sell out quickly. Read more from Sadie Dingfelder for Washington Post Express.
New York Daily News, August 9
New York’s Girl Scouts joined the push Wednesday for a Smithsonian Museum of American Women’s History on the National Mall in Washington.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who has advocated for the museum for 20 years, said the idea is gaining momentum.
“We are entitled to one, just one museum,” Maloney said at a rally at the Fearless Girl statue near Wall St. “We are half the population.” Read more from Reza Moreno and Reuven Blau for The New York Daily News.
Lonely Planet, August 10
The top 10 most visited museums around the world have been revealed, following a statistical analysis of attendance numbers taken last year. The results come from an index released by the Themed Entertainment Association, an international non-profit organisation working within the hospitality and entertainment field. The index accounts for a total of 107.8 million visitors to museums in total, showing an increase of 1.3 million people on the results from last year.
Attendance grew by 1.2% overall, while Museums in Europe, North America and Asia dominated the top 10 most visited list. Read more from James Martin for Lonely Planet
Posted: 17 August 2017