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.
The Goddess of Broadway
When Diosa Costello took the stage in the 1939 production of “Too Many Girls,” she became the first Puerto Rican performer to tread the boards on Broadway. She was fearless, funny, and brimming with talent. She never considered herself a trailblazer, but her legacy – and the gowns she left at the Smithsonian – tell a different story
The Artist Critics Love to Hate
LeRoy Neiman was a colorful man, both figuratively and literally. His handlebar mustache, long cigar, and sketchpad were fixtures at the sidelines of American pop culture: from boxing matches to jazz clubs and political conventions. His paintings, sketches, and prints papered the second half of the 20th century, highlighting American icons in his colorful expressionist style. He was rich, famous, and adored by many Americans… but not the art critics.
BONUS: Confronting the Past
One hundred years ago this week, from May 31 and June 1, 1921, a mob targeted and destroyed nearly 40 blocks of a wealthy black neighborhood in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later. This is the story of the Tulsa Race Massacre and why it's important that you know it.
At least 1,256 homes, along with churches, schools, businesses and even a hospital were deliberately burned or destroyed. Recently found documents are helping historians and researchers better understand the events that took place. And lots of this work is happening by staff at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In fact, part of the Power of Place exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the events of the massacre.
Best of the Rest III
Groucho and Freddy. Oryx and ostriches. Cats and dinosaurs. These things go together like… well, they really don’t go together at all. These are fun-sized stories in one goodie bag of an episode. It’s Sidedoor’s third “Best of the Rest!”
On The Money
We carry portraits around all the time: pocket-sized history lessons in the form of dollars and cents. The recent decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has us thinking about who’s on our money, and how they got there. This episode of the “Portraits” podcast, from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, takes a whirlwind tour of money of yore, featuring everything from piles of bunnies to George Washington’s nipples. This episode will have you taking a closer look at the portraits you might be sitting on right now.
BONUS: The 1957 Pandemic That Wasn’t
In 1918, a flu pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide. Forty years later, it nearly happened again. This week on Sidedoor we go back to a time when the viruses were winning, and we remember one man, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, whose vaccine virtuosity helped turn the tide in the war against infectious diseases.
We’ve updated this episode with a bonus interview to reflect on what we’ve learned from our current pandemic. If you want to learn more, please see vaccinesandus.org.