80 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

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.

    Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

    Cars, Stars, and Rock 'n' Roll

    Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III is no administrative assistant. He’s the head of the largest museum, education, and research complex in the world. He’s also the first historian to lead the Smithsonian. In our season finale, we talk with Secretary Bunch about two stories of people overcoming tremendous obstacles to make a change and explore what the past can teach us about today…and tomorrow.  

    • 29 min
    Ponzi's Scheme

    Ponzi's Scheme

    Nearly 100 years ago, Charles Ponzi stumbled across a loophole in the international postal system and turned it into one of the most infamous scams of all time. This time on Sidedoor, we follow Ponzi from his early days until his epic downfall, and hear from a postal investigator trained to catch swindlers like Ponzi who continue to use the U.S. mail for nefarious purposes.

    • 28 min
    The Worst Video Game Ever?

    The Worst Video Game Ever?

    Deep within the National Museum of American History’s vaults is a battered Atari case containing what’s known as “the worst video game of all time.” The game is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and it was so bad that not even the might of Steven Spielberg could save it. It was so loathsome that all remaining copies were buried deep in the desert. And it was so horrible that it’s blamed for the collapse of the American home video game industry in the early 1980s. This time on Sidedoor, we tell the story of just what went SO wrong with E.T. Episode originally aired June 26, 2019.

    • 26 min
    Finding Cleopatra

    Finding Cleopatra

    Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, we find them both.

    • 26 min
    Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

    Adam Rippon's Olympic Mesh-capades

    When professional athletes face the end of their career, many look ahead with uncertainty and wonder:
    “What’s next?” But when Adam Rippon stood on the Olympic podium in 2018, making history as the first openly gay American to medal at the winter Olympics, he was sure about his next steps. Rippon was a darling of the American Olympic media, entering all of his interviews ready with a joke and a willingness to
    speak candidly about his personal journey. In this episode, Rippon brings that same attitude to Sidedoor, talking about his Olympic costume, fame, and the male private part that we didn’t realize was private.

    • 21 min
    Apollo 12's Really Close Call

    Apollo 12's Really Close Call

    On November 14, 1969, just four months after Apollo 11’s “giant leap for mankind,” the Apollo 12 Saturn V rocket took off for the moon. Seconds later, a burst of static plunged the three-man crew into complete darkness while speeding toward space in a nearly dead spacecraft. For the 50th anniversary, we tell the often-overlooked story of Apollo 12, one full of danger, discovery, and the power of friendship.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

New England SB ,

The Best!

Lizzo Peabody is just terrific! Her singular ability to humanize the topics are insane! I just listened the Apollo podcast. Talking about Astronaut Bean being the middle child and then saying “Like Jan Brady”. Is just brilliant. I mean what is more unexpected and perfect! This podcast is absolutely the reason why this New England resident is looking into getting down there to see all this at the Smithsonian. Thank you so very very much.

Annbass ,

Fascinating, wide-ranging topics

I love Sidedoor podcasts! Just like the myriad branches of the Smithsonian, Sidedoor covers a wide swath of topics, often unusual (recently: Adam Rippon’s costume, an extinct smell, and the Apollo 12 mission ... wow!) The host, Lizzie Peabody, is articulate, perky, curious, and humorous. Because it’s the Smithsonian, she can tap into the best experts. Fascinating. (And saving my sanity from political podcasts.) Thanks so much for your hard work!

Cultura de Paz ,

Engaging, humorous and very interesting

Lizzie Peabody is a superb host—friendly, casual, inviting, with a great sense of humor. Of course the Smithsonian is full of fascinating history that should give her material for years to come. It was so interesting to hear the story of America’s first paleontologists and their discoveries of dinosaur skeletons in the late 1800s—before modern people had ever imagined there were dinosaurs. Highly recommended!

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