Showdown Hall of Fame
Science Bracket Bao Bao

Bao Bao The Giant Panda Cub

Smithsonian's Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Black, white, and cute all over

Almost a year old, Bao Bao is often seen climbing trees in her yard.  Her birth via artificial insemination is a conservation success story and builds on the Zoo’s leading scientific reproduction research to increase the population of the endangered Giant Panda, which numbers as few as 1,600 in the wild. Vote for Bao Bao and join the Zoo in its mission to save species.

History BracketStar Spangled Banner

Star Spangled Banner Flag

National Museum of American History

Just turned 200 years old.

Originally the length of a school bus, the flag was made in a brewery with the help of four teens. Francis Scott Key saw that it was “still there” after the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, inspiring him to pen the lyrics that begin, "O say can you see..." 

Culture BracketWoody Guthrie

"This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie (Full Version)

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Definitive recording of America's iconic folk song

Woody Guthrie’s best-known song, and perhaps one of America’s. This 1944 master recording of the protest song-turned-anthem is one-of-a-kind, but also fits atop the soundtrack for the American experience. It’s often called “America’s second national anthem.” 

Art BracketGeorge Washington

George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)

National Portrait Gallery

One of the best known full-length images of Washington

The Portrait Gallery has the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House and this one is our most famous. Washington hated sitting for his portrait, even by one of the best portraitists in America, so reward him by voting for this painting! 

Science Bracket Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

National Air and Space Museum

Space Shuttle Program’s most frequent flyer

I am the champion of the space shuttle fleet! The longest-serving orbiter, I flew more missions, carried more astronauts, and visited the International Space Station more times than any of my sister ships. Plus, I dazzled thousands flying atop a 747 on my way to my permanent home, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. I am Discovery.

Science Bracket Nations T rex

The Nation's T. rex

National Museum of Natural History

I’m 38 feet long, but have arms shorter than yours

I am the tyrant lizard king, the top of the food chain, and the star of blockbuster movies. I inspire dreams, haunt nightmares, and I rule the biggest natural history museum in the world. I’m one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century and research about me continues today.

Culture Bracket Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Over 90 nations represented in 47 years and still going strong

An Indian village, a Japanese rice paddy, and a New Mexican adobe plaza. All were built on the National Mall for the Folklife Festival. Founded in 1967, this two-week international exposition of living cultural heritage has brought more than 23,000 artists, performers, craftspeople, cooks, and others to the National Mall to demonstrate traditional skills and knowledge to one million visitors a year. 

Culture Bracket SITES

Wile E. Coyote from “What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones"

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

A wolf that can’t catch a break!

I’ve been running after a pesky bird since 1949.  I was created by animator Chuck Jones for the cartoon “Fast and Furry-ous” and am constantly being outsmarted by the Road Runner (and gravity).  I was inspired by author Mark Twain’s description of the coyote as "a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton" that is "a living, breathing allegory of Want." 

Art Bracket Peacock Room

The Peacock Room

Freer and Sackler Galleries

This masterpiece not only fills the room—it IS the room

Stunning to behold, the Peacock Room also has a juicy backstory. Along with lush tones of blue and gold, the room features a motif of fighting peacocks—representing the squabbles over its creation. 

Art Bracket Hirshhorn

Hirshhorn Building

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Brutalist, Round, and Free

Hard and forbidding on the outside, shot through with light on the inside, Gordon Bunshaft’s monumental concrete doughnut is a metaphor for the difficulty and depth of modern and contemporary art. 

History Bracket Railcar

Segregation-era Southern Railway Car No. 1200

National Museum of African American History and Culture

80 feet long. 77 tons. 44 seats. 2 separate sections.

This 44-seat railway car was a segregated passenger car from 1940-1960 – white and “colored” passengers were separated by a divider. Because tangible remnants from America’s segregation era are rare, this rail car will help the Smithsonian tell the important story of Jim Crow-era segregation laws. 

History Bracket Smithson's Will

James Smithson's Will

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Generous Englishman Founds World’s Largest Museum Complex

In James Smithson's will, the English scientist bequeathed his fortune to a country he’s never visited, to found an “establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” AKA the Smithsonian. Nothing’s more Smithsonian than that! 

Art Bracket Cooper Hewitt

The Carnegie Mansion

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

112 years old and full of design, creativity, and innovation

The Carnegie Mansion cannot wait to take off its hard hat and reopen its doors for the first time in three years on Dec. 12th! Revamped and redesigned, the Mansion brings design to life with creative technologies while remaining true to its roots. 

Art Bracket Electronic Highway

Electronic Superhighway

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Great American road trip in 51-video channels and neon

Artist and visionary Nam June Paik transformed technology into an artist's medium. His Electronic Superhighway captures the energy and diversity of America’s 50 states and our global creative culture. 

Art Bracket Black Gold

Black Gold I by Yinka Shonibare MBE

National Museum of African Art

“I am here to protest, but I am going to do it like a gentleman.” – Shonibare

Over 22 feet, this piece uses fabric made in Europe, but identified as African and places it on a splash of black referencing Africa’s contested oil resources. Shonibare's work is "a testament to the contemporary understanding of colonial and post-colonial African identity….It’s not about authentic African experience or the authentic British experience—it lies somewhere both between and separate.” 

History Bracket Inverted Jenny

Inverted Jenny

National Postal Museum

The Million Dollar Stamp

The USPS’s most famous error occurred in 1918. Only one sheet was printed of this airmail stamp showing an upside-down JN-4-H “Jenny” airplane before the error was caught. Rumor is that the postal clerk didn’t notice the mistake because he'd never seen an airplane. Today, this prized rarity has been auctioned at close to $1 million. 

History Bracket Picasso Handwriting

Pablo Picasso’s handwritten list of artists for the 1913 Armory Show

Archives of American Art

One of the few examples of Picasso’s handwriting at the Smithsonian

Pablo Picasso knew modern art. Organizers of the 1913 Armory Show—the first international exhibition of modern art in the United States—sought Picasso’s advice on avant-garde European artists. This list is of Picasso’s recommendations. The Europeans stole the show: their works caused uproar in the press and attracted massive crowds. Art in the United States was forever changed. 

History Bracket Marian Anderson Fur Coat

Fur Coat worn by Marian Anderson at Lincoln Memorial

Anacostia Community Museum

She made history by singing anyway

By 1939, Marian Anderson was a star in Europe. However, Howard University's request to the Daughters of the American Revolution to use Constitution Hall for an Anderson concert was denied due to her race. Instead, in a watershed moment in civil rights history, it was arranged for Anderson to give a public concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939. 

Science Bracket Giant Magellan Telescope

Giant Magellan Telescope

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

World's biggest mirrors—18 tons each

Size matters. The GMT is taller than a 20-story building, heavier than 1,000 Giant Pandas, and 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope. It will search for alien life and reveal secrets of the universe. 

Science Bracket Titanoboa


Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

My name means "titanic boa"

After dinosaurs became extinct, I lived in a South American swamp, eating giant crocodiles and Smart-car sized turtles. A Smithsonian researcher discovered my fossilized skull bones and vertebrae in Colombia, and their size led experts to estimate that I was the largest, longest, and heaviest snake to ever exist on land. 

Science Bracket Haupt Garden

Enid A. Haupt Garden

Smithsonian Gardens

A 4.2 acre rooftop garden standing atop 3 Smithsonian museums

Comprised of three smaller gardens, this gem of a garden has been delighting visitors to the Smithsonian since 1987 by celebrating of a diversity of plants. The Victorian parterre changes color and plantings with the seasons, the Fountain Garden cools off birds and people alike in the summer, and the Moongate Garden is a peaceful respite from the busy National Mall.

Culture Bracket Mitsitam Cafe food

Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe

National Museum of the American Indian

Where else can you see, hear, smell, touch, and TASTE as you learn?

The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe is the Smithsonian Institution’s only award-winning and Zagat-rated restaurant.  As an extension of the Museum’s exhibitions, the Cafe’s seasonally changing menu brings Native cuisine from the entire Western Hemisphere to one place – a truly uniquely delicious experience! 

Culture Bracket Korean Taco

The Korean Taco

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian Latino Center

Corn tortilla + Kimchi + Bulgogi: #AsianLatino cuisine is America in a bite

Enter the Korean taco: an almost inevitable, edible and enviable invention after Asian and Latino communities spent decades marinating together, creating together, laboring together and organizing together. The Smithsonian Asian-Latino project spotlights this magnificent invention to offer tasty and profound insights into the American experience. 

Culture Bracket Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman #1

Smithsonian Libraries

Nearly 75 years old and still a superhero!

Great Hera! Wonder Woman #1 broke new ground with its hero’s winning combination of strength, smarts, and style. Her backstory has closely followed many of the major shifts in American history, merging fiction, modern technology, and early feminist morality. Today she continues to wield her signature Lasso of Truth, empowering her loyal fans both women and men alike.

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