199 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
    • 4.6 • 2K 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.

    Rocket Man

    Rocket Man

    In the twentieth century, the jetpack became synonymous with the idea of a ‘futuristic society.’ Appearing in cartoons and magazines, it felt like a matter of time before people could ride a jetpack to work. But jetpacks never became a mainstream technology, leaving many to wonder…why? In this episode of 99 Percent Invisible, producer Chris Berube travels to the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum to find out for himself.This episode was produced by Chris Berube. He spoke with Bill Suitor, Don Erwin, and the Smithsonian’s Colleen Anderson. David Taylor reported on the rocket belt for The Washington Post in 2022, and Steve Lehto wrote about the belt, and other jetpack technology, in his book The Great American Jetpack.Transcript available here: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/rocket-man/transcript/

    • 40 min
    A Giant Listening Project

    A Giant Listening Project

    It’s been called ‘the most noble and absurd undertaking ever attempted by any state.’ During the height of the Great Depression, the U.S government hired out-of-work writers and laid-off reporters and sent them out to record the stories of all kinds of Americans. Called the Federal Writers’ Project, historians have called the program a giant “listening project.”While on our summer break, we’re sharing the first episode of a new podcast series called The People’s Recorder. Host Chris Haley sets the stage, laying out 1930s America, the New Deal, and the cultural forces that both supported and opposed the Writers’ Project. The project of holding up to America raises questions: What history gets told? And who gets to tell it? You can listen to rest of the series by searching for The People’s Recorder wherever you get your podcasts. Find out more at peoplesrecorder.info  Guests:Scott Borchert, authorDavid Bradley, novelistDr. Douglas Brinkley, historianDr. Tameka Hobbs, historianDavid Kipen, authorDena Epstein, daughter of Hilda PolacheckStuds Terkel, oral historianLinks and Resources:American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' ProjectBorn to Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' ProjectAuthor Scott Borchert on the Federal Writers' Project and the WPA guidebooksArticle on Library on Congress symposium on The Millions Further ReadingSoul of a People by David A. TaylorRepublic of Detours by Scott BorchertCalifornia in the 1930s by David KipenFirst Person America by Ann BanksHenry Alsberg by Susan DeMasiLong Past Slavery by Catherine A. StewartBarracoon by Zora Neale HurstonHard Times by Studs Terkel

    • 25 min
    The Lost Woolly Dog

    The Lost Woolly Dog

    For thousands of years, fluffy white dogs could be found across the Pacific Northwest. Their exceptionally soft, crimpy hair was shorn like sheep’s wool, spun into yarn, and woven into blankets and robes by indigenous women who carefully tended them in communities across Coast Salish territory. But a hundred years ago, the woolly dog quietly vanished. Why? Today, the only known pelt of this extinct breed is in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and it might hold some answers. Through collaborate research combining Western science with Indigenous knowledge, we delve into this animal’s genome to learn the real story of the woolly dog’s disappearance. Guests:Audrey Lin, evolutionary molecular biologist, research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and postdoctoral scholar at the American Museum of Natural HistoryLogan Kistler, curator of archaeobotany and archaeogenomics in the anthropology department of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Liz Hammond-Kaarremaa, master spinner who studies traditional Salish textiles as a research associate at Vancouver Island University and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural HistorySteven Point / Xwĕ lī qwĕl tĕl, grand chief of the Stó:lō Tribal Council, chancellor of the University of British Columbia, former lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, retired judge, and member of the Skowkale First NationDebra Sparrow / θəliχʷəlʷət, weaver, artist and knowledge-keeper from Musqueam. Foundational Salish weaving revivalist who, with her sisters, she has worked for decades to rejuvenate and teach traditional Salish weaving. Violet Elliot / Snu’Meethia, weaver and teacher from Snuneymuxw First Nations living in Cowichan First Nations. She has been weaving for over 28 years.Melissa (Missy) Hawkins, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History 

    • 41 min
    Cosmic Journey II: Voyage into the Abyss

    Cosmic Journey II: Voyage into the Abyss

    Hitch a ride on the Chandra X-ray Observatory as it scours deep space for some of the most enigmatic and misunderstood objects in the universe: black holes. What are they good for? Absolutely something.This is the second episode of a two-part journey celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's operation of the space telescope. Join us this summer for a cosmic journey full of events and virtual resources from around the Smithsonian that will transport you from our closest star, the sun, to the far reaches of the universe.Find the full schedule on our website or follow along on social media @Smithsonian.Guests: Kim Arcand, Visualization Scientist and Emerging Tech Lead for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Daryl Haggard, professor of physics at McGill University in the Trottier Space InstitutePriyamvada Natarajan, astrophysicist and professor at Yale University  

    • 32 min
    Cosmic Journey I: "Stellar Buffoonery"

    Cosmic Journey I: "Stellar Buffoonery"

    Black holes could unlock the mysteries of creation and live at the heart of nearly every galaxy. But these invisible balls of extremely dense matter have never been fully understood, especially when they were only a theory. We travel through a cosmic wormhole back to the 1930s to learn how the first astrophysicist to successfully theorize a black hole, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, was ridiculed and rejected by his scientific community.This is the first episode of a two-part journey celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's operation of the space telescope. Join us this summer for a cosmic journey full of events and virtual resources from around the Smithsonian that will transport you from our closest star, the sun, to the far reaches of the universe. Find the full schedule on our website, si.edu/cosmicjourney. Or follow along on social media @Smithsonian.Guests: Kim Arcand, Visualization Scientist and Emerging Tech Lead for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Priyamvada Natarajan, astrophysicist and professor at Yale University  Arthur I. Miller, author of "Empire Of The Stars: Obsession, Friendship, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes"

    • 34 min
    Cicadapalooza

    Cicadapalooza

    The cicadas are back for some fun in the sun, and this time, they’re louder than ever! For the first time since 1803, Broods XIII and XIX will be emerging at the same time, covering the American South and Midwest with trillions of cicadas. As Smithsonian entomologist Floyd Shockley readies his nets for the biggest bug invasion in centuries, we look back at the emergence of Brood X in 2021, and explore how cicadas have captivated our human ancestors for millennia.

    Guests:

    Floyd Shockley, entomologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

    Gao Hong, professional pipa player, composer, and educator

    Jim Deutsch, curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

    Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

Duffy CoFax ,

Great Stuff

This is an excellent show, always interesting material. I love that the topic are generally totally new to me.

AnnOh305 ,

Interesting Topics Not Stressful

We listen to podcasts during dinner and Sidedoor is an excellent non-stressful very well done, informative, entertaining, and engaging podcast. We have learned a lot about things we had no idea about. Highly recommend.

Fran from PT ,

This is a great podcast

Always well researched and interestingly presented - Great job sidedoor hosts, I always look forward to another podcast by you!

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