Smithsonian In Popular Culture

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    Displaying 44 records

    SIGMA Force Series Year: Creator/Author: James Rollins  Medium: NovelGenre: Sci-FiSynopsis: Adventures of SIGMA Force, elite fictional division of U.S. Department of Defense, which combines military skills with specialist knowledge. Thus far series includes eleven novels that explore the world of counter-terrorism. Relationship to the Smithsonian: After first novel, they access their headquarters through basement of the Smithsonian Castle.   
    The Innocents Abroad Year: 1869Creator/Author: Mark Twain  Medium: NovelGenre: Drama, TravelogueSynopsis: Travelogue of US tourists on trip to Egypt which Twain actually took. Relationship to the Smithsonian: One traveler that Twain parodies is a Smithsonian collector.   
    The Professor’s House Year: 1925Creator/Author: Willa Cather  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Professor Godfrey St. Peter story about student Tom Outland’s archeological site. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Tried to interest the Smithsonian in the site, but objects get sold away.   
    Wing of Fame: A Novel Based on the Life of James Smithson Year: 1934Creator/Author: Louise Wallace Hackney  Medium: NovelGenre: Drama, RomanceSynopsis: Fictionalized account loosely based on life of James Smithson in France. Relationship to the Smithsonian: James Smithson was founding donor of the Smithsonian.  
    The Man Who Loved Children Year: 1940Creator/Author: Christina Stead  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Story of the Pollit family and their dysfunctional relationships. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Novel discusses Smithsonian characters and the Institution's Pacific expedition.   
    For Your Eyes Only; "The Hildebrand Rarity"Year: 1960Creator/Author: Ian Fleming Medium: NovelGenre: ActionSynopsis: In the short story “The Hildebrand Rarity,” (part of the novel For Your Eyes Only), the villainous American millionaire of the story, Milton Krest, reveals that he goes on his yacht to various locations in the world to retrieve exotic specimens for the Smithsonian so that he can write off the pleasure cruises on his taxes as scientific research on behalf of his foundation.Relationship to the Smithsonian: The prized fish, the Hildebrand Rarity, is going to be given to the Smithsonian  
    The French Lieutenant's Woman Year: 1969Creator/Author: John Fowles  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Sarah Woodruff, a disgraced woman, is abandoned by married French naval officer. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Charles Smithson is loosely based on the Smithsonian's founding donor, James Smithson.   
    Headhunter Year: 1984Creator/Author: Michael Slade  Medium: NovelGenre: ActionSynopsis: Detective Robert LeClercq must stop a killer on murder spree in city of Vancouver. Relationship to the Smithsonian: A character mentioned in the novel is a Smithsonian staff member.   
    Murder in the Smithsonian Year: 1985Creator/Author: Margaret Truman Daniel  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Historian Dr. Lewis Tunney uncovered an international art scandal, but then is murdered at a Smithsonian gala. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The novel is set at the Smithsonian.   
    A Perfect Spy Year: 1986Creator/Author: John LeCarre  Medium: NovelGenre: Action, SpySynopsis: Magnus Pym, a British spy, is missing. Has he defected? Has he been killed? Relationship to the Smithsonian: Settings include Langley Theater at the National Air and Space Museum.  
    Trace Elements Year: 1986Creator/Author: Kathryn Lasky Knight  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Harvard astrophysicist Tom Jacobs is sent to do research in Nevada but is killed. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Jacobs' widow and son search for answers at the Smithsonian, National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, etc.   
    The Silence of the Lambs Year: 1988Creator/Author: Thomas Harris  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: FBI Agent Clarice Starling works with notorious criminal Hannibal Lecter to capture serial killer Buffalo Bill. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Starling brings an insect to the National Museum of Natural History for teh staff to identify.   
    Foucault’s Pendulum Year: 1988Creator/Author: Umberto Eco  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Milanese friends invent the Knights Templar conspiracy as joke, but it becomes real. Relationship to the Smithsonian: A Foucault’s Pendulum used to be at the National Museum of American History, but it was removed a year before the book published.   
    Talking God Year: 1989Creator/Author: Tony Hillerman  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn & Officer Jim Chee work on cases of murder and graverobbing that intertwine. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The novel includes scenes at National Museum of Natural History, with Smithsonian artifacts and Smithsonian staff arrested.   
    Mortal Words Year: 1990Creator/Author: Kathryn Lasky Knight  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Calista Jacobs and her son return to solve the murder of a children's book author Norman Petrakis, with the help of Smithsonian archeologist Archie Baldwin.  Relationship to the Smithsonian: Smithsonian staffer, Archie Baldwin, plays a major role in helping to solve the mystery.   
    The India Exhibition: A Mystery at the Smithsonian Year: 1992Creator/Author: Richard Timothy Conroy  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Foreign Service Officer Henry Scruggs us loaned to Smithsonian to head SI foreign affairs office; he assists with exhibit on K. V. Chandra, Indian philosopher. Scruggs has relationship with designer Violet Strauss who disappears with an artifact. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Scruggs must find Strauss and the missing artifcat to save her as well as his career at the Smithsonian.  
    Mr. Smithson's Bones: A Mystery at the Smithsonian Year: 1993Creator/Author: Richard Timothy Conroy  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Foreign Service Officer Scruggs is still at SI and decides to find out who is buried in Smithson’s tomb.  Relationship to the Smithsonian: Mystery is set in the James Smithson crypt room in the SI Castle.   
    Old Ways in the New World Year: 1994Creator/Author: Richard Timothy Conroy  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Foreign Service Office Scruggs is again entangled in a mystery at the Smithsonian. As part of United States 1976 bicentennial celebration, Smithsonian visitors include ethnomusicologist from Aganga who is murdered. Scruggs must solve the crime. Relationship to the Smithsonian: This mystery is set at the Smithsonian with its staff playing major roles.   
    Ghost Singer Year: 1994Creator/Author: Ann Lee Walters  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Who murdered Smithsonian researchers? And what role did a box of Native American artifacts play in their demise? The museum's only hope lies in hands of Native American traditional healers. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The story takes place in ethnographic collections of Natural Museum of Natural History.   
    White Orchid Year: 1994Creator/Author: Linda Ladd  Medium: NovelGenre: RomanceSynopsis: In 1866, Stuart Delaney, an ex-Confederate soldier, is paid to go to India to bring back Anjelica Blake for an arranged marriage, but they fall in love. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Cassandra Delaney is a mentee of the first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry.   
    Ship Fever Year: 1994Creator/Author: Andrea Barrett  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Short stories explore science and naturalists of the 19th century. The story intertwines historical figures with fictional characters to explore the triumphs and tribulations of field work. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Some of the short stories are set at the Smithsonian with discussion of its bird specimens.   
    Consider Her Way Year: 1996Creator/Author: Fran Vincent  Medium: NovelGenre: RomanceSynopsis: While on dinosaur dig in Montana, geology professor Marla Carter, deals with life, science, faith, and love. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Cover picture is a Smithsonian triceratops.   
    Esau Year: 1996Creator/Author: Philip Kerr  Medium: NovelGenre: ActionSynopsis: The discovery of Yeti skull in a forbidden Himalayan mountaintop sets mountaineer Jack Furness and his ex, scientist Stella Swift, to find the mysterious creature.   Relationship to the Smithsonian: Haven’t found SI connection yet.   
    Twenty Blue Devils Year: 1997Creator/Author: Aaron Elkins  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: The manager of Tahiti's Paradise Coffee Plantation is murdered. FBI agent Lau and forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver investigate the crime. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Gideon Oliver has many connections to Smithsonian forensic anthropology program.   
    The Smithsonian Institution: A Novel Year: 1998Creator/Author: Gore Vidal  Medium: NovelGenre: Sci-FiSynopsis: In 1939, 13-year-old "T" is summoned to SI under mysterious circumstances. “T” helps Robert Oppenheimer solve nuclear fission and breaks the time barrier. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Entire novel set in the Smithsonian Castle.   
    Voyage of the Narwhal Year: 1998Creator/Author: Andrea Barrett  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Naturalist Erasmus Darwin Wells joins an Arctic voyage to look for an expedition crew that's been missing for 10 years. Rescuers need to be rescued by Native Americans, but do not treat rescuers with respect. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Based on the Robert Stein 1894 proposed Ellesmere Island rescue expedition. Scenes are set in Smithsonian Castle.   
    Code to Zero Year: 2000Creator/Author: Ken Follett  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: In 1958 Washington, DC, Dr. Claude Lucas, amnesiac, pieces together his life in a Cold War space race mystery. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Parts are set at the Smithsonian, especially in the old Aircraft Building where there are lectures on space fuels.   
    Blue Gold Year: 2000Creator/Author: Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos  Medium: NovelGenre: ActionSynopsis: Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala investigate the deaths of rare whales off the Mexican coast for a US marine agency. In their search, they find a California agribusiness tycoon trying to monopolize earth's fresh water reserves. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Partly set at National Air and Space Museum's Garber Storage Facility. Austen and Zavala use information about aircraft to help solve the mystery.   
    Letters from Yellowstone Year: 2000Creator/Author: Diane Smith  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: A. E. Bartram, a young woman studying botany, joins the 1898 Yellowstone expedition. Taken for a man from her letters, Bartram deals with other scientists and her evolving views on science and her life. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian sponsors the expedition to Yellowstone. Characters Dr. Philip Abner, Dr. William Gleick, and Dr. Roger Johnson come from the Smithsonian.   
    Bones of the Earth Year: 2002Creator/Author: Michael Swanwick  Medium: NovelGenre: Sci-FiSynopsis: After a  mysterious stranger, Harry Griffin, walks into his office, Richard Leyster, renowned paleontologist, goes time traveling, observing creatures he once unearthed. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Leyster is paleontologist at the Smithsonian.   
    The Smoky God; Or, A Voyage to the Inner World Year: 2002Creator/Author: Willis George Emerson  Medium: NovelGenre: Sci-FiSynopsis: A novel presented as a true account of the 1908 adventures of Olaf Jansen, a Norwegian sailor who sailed through an entrance to Earth's interior at North Pole. For 2 years Jansen lived with inhabitants of underground colonies who were 12 feet tall and whose world was lit by a "smoky" central sun.  Relationship to the Smithsonian: All this documentation is purportedly to be deposited in the Smithsonian Institution   
    Capital Mysteries #3: The Skeleton in the Smithsonian Year: 2003Creator/Author: Ron Roy  Medium: NovelGenre: Mystery, ChildrenSynopsis: KC Corcoran and her friend Marshall Li stumble upon a mystery at the Smithsonian involving the Institution's founder James Smithson. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The story involves James Smithson's remains located in the Smithsonian Castle. When Marshall grows up, he wants to work with insects at Smithsonian.   
    The Bone Vault Year: 2003Creator/Author: Linda Fairstein  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit Temple of Dendur has 12th c mummy replaced with a younger one. Romp through museums to solve. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Museum had amphorae on loan from Smithsonian. Trucks mistakenly picked up birds and shells that were to go to Smithsonian.   
    Digging to America: A Novel Year: 2006Creator/Author: Anne Tyler  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Story of two couples, one American, the other Iranian-American, who adopt daughters from Korea. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Smithsonian is mentioned in these lines: "Why should they have to put on these ethnic demonstrations? Let the Donaldsons go to the Smithsonian for that."   
    Capital Mysteries #9: A Thief at the National Zoo Year: 2007Creator/Author: Ron Roy  Medium: NovelGenre: Mystery, ChildrenSynopsis: KC Corcoran and Marshall Li must solve mystery of who stole the tiger jewel from the National Zoo. Relationship to the Smithsonian: KC and Marshall volunteer at the National Zoo to work with tiger cubs.   
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Year: 2009Creator/Author: Jacqueline Kelly  Medium: NovelGenre: Drama, ChildrenSynopsis: A Texas girl, Calpurnia, is more interested in natural history than domestic skills.  She studies with her grandfather, and they discover a new species of plant in 1900 in Texas, as she learns to balance her life. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Calpurnia and her grandfather send a picture of the plant to the Smithsonian for confirmation that it's a new species. Then they wait and wait and wait.   
    The Lost Symbol Year: 2009Creator/Author: Dan Brown  Medium: NovelGenre: Sci-FiSynopsis: Robert Langdon, Harvard symbologist, heads to Washington, DC, at the request of his mentor Peter Solomon, a 33rd degree Mason and head of Smithsonian Institution. Langdon realizes that his mentor has been kidnapped and must save him by discovering the Mason's Pyramid and their Lost Word. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian Museum Support Center is featured in novel.  Dr. Katherine Solomon, Peter Solomon's younger sister, works in a SI-sponsored lab where she  conducts experiments in Noetic Science. Peter Solomon says, "The Smithsonian was established to advance scientific knowledge. As secretary, I must take that charge seriously. I believe the experiments you've proposed have the potential to push the boundaries of science into uncharted territory."   
    The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet: A Novel Year: 2009Creator/Author: Reif Larsen  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Story of T.S. Spivet, a 12-year-old Montana boy who loves to map things. His geology map receives acclaim from the Smithsonian, who not knowing his age give him the Baird Award. Book follows his road trip to the event and lessons he learns. Relationship to the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian invites the title character to speak at the Institution. Baird Award is named for second Smithsonian Secretary and naturalist Spencer F. Baird.   
    The Spy Year: 2010Creator/Author: Clive Cussler and Justin Scott  Medium: NovelGenre: ActionSynopsis: In 1908 international tensions are on the rise. The US, UK, Germany, and Japan are each trying to build world’s greatest naval fleet, and spies from every country want to hinder progress of rivals. When when rogue spy is bent on undoing fleets for unknown reasons, Van Dorn private detective Isaac Bell must stop him before more people get harmed. Relationship to the Smithsonian: A Japanese spy uses the front that he is in the US as a curator to help catalog the Smithsonian's Freer Collection of Asian Art  
    The Bowl is Already Broken: A Novel Year: 2011Creator/Author: Mary Kay Zuravleff  Medium: NovelGenre: DramaSynopsis: Promise Whittaker, acting director of the Museum of Asian Art, has to deal with large problems, including their manager's wish to move the museum's objects and reconfigure the space to allow for more food service Relationship to the Smithsonian: Museum of Asian Art is the Freer and Sackler Galleries. The author worked as an editor for Smithsonian Magazine.  Does not mention Smithsonian by name, but refers to the "Castle" and "Natural History."   
    Specimen Song: A Montana Mystery Year: 2012Creator/Author: Peter Bowen  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Cattle inspector and sometimes lawman Gabriel Du Pré travels from Montana to Washington, DC, to perform fiddle music from his Métis Indian heritage in the Smithsonian festival. Du Pré is entangled in solving mysterious death of a Cree Indian woman. When he returns to Montana the murders follow, each with the same "MO." Relationship to the Smithsonian: Du Pré travels to DC to perform in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Character Paul Chase is a Smithsonian employee.  Du Pré travels with a curator from Smithsonian along a Canadian fur-trade route.   
    The Lost Order (Cotton Malone Series #12) Year: 2017Creator/Author: Steve Berry  Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Ex-Justice Dept.  agent Cotton Malone is back to solve treasure mystery of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a US clandestine organization that hid stolen money and precious metals in caches across US. He and 21st century Smithsonian are linked to it through ancestor, Confederate spy, Angus “Cotton” Adams. Relationship to the Smithsonian: Parts of the novel are set at the Smithsonian. The novel opens in 1865 Smithsonian Castle as it is engulfed in flames.  21st century scenes revolve around National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, the Castle, and Smithsonian tunnels, with staff as major players in other scenes across the country.   
    Follow MeYear: 2020Creator/Author: Kathleen Barber Medium: NovelGenre: MysterySynopsis: Instagram influencer Audrey Miller discovers how dangerous social media can be when she’s terrorized by a stalker after moving to a new city. He's been following her for years but now she is nearby.Relationship to the Smithsonian: Audrey Miller moves from Manhattan to Washington DC to become social media manager at a Smithsonian art museum.  
    Ann Beltran Year: 2021Creator/Author: Love on the Mall: A Tale of the National Mall  Medium: NovelGenre: Romance, Young AdultSynopsis: Estela the anthropologist, a young woman of the Roaring 20’s, and architect Nikos, struggling to put the Great War and Spanish flu behind him. Are they soulmates? Perhaps. Yet for 20 years the romance never leaves the National Mall. What keeps them apart lies within.   Relationship to the Smithsonian: Includes scenes from the US National Museum’s Department of Anthropology and the National Mall, location of the Smithsonian.