155 episodes

More than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers and astrophysicists, host Lizzie Peabody sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else. Check out si.edu/sidedoor and follow @SidedoorPod for more info.

Sidedoor Smithsonian Institution

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 39 Ratings

More than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers and astrophysicists, host Lizzie Peabody sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else. Check out si.edu/sidedoor and follow @SidedoorPod for more info.

    Lucy Hicks Anderson

    Lucy Hicks Anderson

    Known for her smashing parties, lighter-than-air souffles and comedic wit, Lucy Hicks Anderson never let anyone tell her how to live her life – not even the courts. When her gender was put on trial in the 1940s, the publicity around her case made her one the first documented Black transgender figures in American history. 

    Guests: 

    Ashleigh Coren, Acting Head of Education for the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative

    C. Riley Snorton, author of Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity

    • 26 min
    Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

    Reservation Math: Navigating Love in Native America

    If you’ve heard the phrase, “full blooded,” you’re already familiar with the concept of blood quantum. But Native Americans are the only peoples in the United States whose identity is defined by it. Through the photography of Tailyr Irvine, displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian, we take a look at the colonial origin story of blood quantum: where it came from, why it endures, and how it continues to impact the most personal decisions many Native Americans make about love and family today.

    Guests:

    Tailyr Irvine, photojournalist; member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; additional interviewer for this episode
    Michael Irvine, member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Nizhóní Ajéí's father
    Cecile Ganteaume, curator at the National Museum of the American Indian and author of Officially Indian: Symbols That Define the United States
    Ruth Swaney, Tribal Budget Director for and member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
    Leah Nelson, member of the Navajo Nation and Nizhóní Ajéí's mother
    Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, social demographer and assistant professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles; citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and Chicana
    David Wilkins, political scientist and professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond; member of the Lumbee Nation

    • 33 min
    Wronging the Wrights

    Wronging the Wrights

    It took pride, deceit, and a giant catapult to set off the feud between the Wright brothers and the Smithsonian. On December 17, 1903, the Wrights made history when they flew across a blustery beach in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The airplane they flew that day is now a centerpiece of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection. This is the story of how it nearly wasn’t.

    Guests:

    Peter Jakab, senior curator at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

    Tom Crouch, senior curator emeritus at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

    • 34 min
    Who Built the White House?

    Who Built the White House?

    "I wake up every morning in a house built by slaves." After Michelle Obama said those words at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, thousands of Americans flooded the White House Historical Association with calls. Who were the enslaved African Americans who built the White House? This led historians from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture and the White House Historical Association on a years-long journey that turned up some interesting answers and even bigger questions. 

    Guests: 

    Lina Mann, historian, the White House Historical Association

    Mary Elliott, curator of American slavery, Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture

     

    • 24 min
    Spooked at the Smithsonian

    Spooked at the Smithsonian

    The Smithsonian Institution was founded on principles of reason and scientific inquiry. So why is the museum home to countless tales of unexplained phenomena and —dare we say — ghost sightings? Inspired by an apparition at the National Museum of American History, we creak across the floorboards of the museum's attics, sneak into an old house in the woods, and even travel back in time to bring you a collection of spooky stories that can only be found at the Smithsonian.

    Guests:

    Molly Horrocks, Collections Manager, Division of Political and Military History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

    Pamela Henson, Institutional Historian at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

    Cpl. Ronald Howlin, Security Officer at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

    Deborah Hull-Walski, Collections Manager, Education Collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

    Melissa Johnson, daughter of Deb Hull-Walski and former skeptical teenager

    Kim Dixon, former volunteer at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

    • 37 min
    Did Meat Make Us Human?

    Did Meat Make Us Human?

    Eating meat is what made us human. At least, that's one of the leading theories to explain how our brains got so big. The theory says that our human ancestors evolved bigger brains as a result of switching from a plant-based to a nutrient-rich meat diet. But earlier this year a Smithsonian researcher discovered that this theory may not have as much meat on its bones as previously believed.

    Guests:

    Briana Pobiner, paleoanthropologist; research scientist and museum educator with the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

    Becky Malinsky, curator of primates, Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

    Andrew Barr, paleoanthropologist; assistant professor of anthropology, The George Washington University

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
39 Ratings

39 Ratings

BigBlueBoxAt221b ,

Choosing a Favourite Child?!

A recent so I heard said people are choosing a fave ep and the producers are encouraging this to better understand what people want.
I say - make some of everything! I’ve listened to all the eps that ‘sounded interesting’ based on their titles, but it’s those that auto-play after that make me think, laugh, or exclaim the most. From fish to creepy dolls to American icons lost in history, these stories are always interesting and offer a glimpse into something I’d never heard about. Love it!

Fermax ,

Brings the Smithsonian to life!

Well-produced stories that are somehow related to items on display at the Smithsonian. The episodes are varied, and all about 20-30 minutes.

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