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  • Inauguration
    Historic Inaugurations

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." This is the oath taken by every president of the United States. 

  • 4th of July celebrations
    The Fourth of July: Celebrating U.S. Independence Day

    July 4th has been recognized as Independence Day in the United States ever since the country’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. To mark the occasion, Americans celebrate with parades, fireworks, concerts and other festive activities.  

  • Evolving Media and a Free Press
    Evolving Media and a Free Press

    "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution enshrines a basic U.S. belief: A free press nurtures democracy. Freedom of the press is essential to democracy because it empowers the citizenry and holds governments accountable.  

  • Islamic Art
    Renovated Galleries of Islamic Art Reveal Centuries of Creativity

    At New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, newly renovated and enlarged galleries of Islamic art display one of the most comprehensive such collections in the world. Highlighting both the diversity and the interconnectedness of the numerous cultures represented, the collection traces 13 centuries of Islamic civilization through more than 12,000 works of art.  

  • Nowruz
    The Smithsonian Celebrates Nowruz

    The fourth annual Nowruz celebration at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries on March 4 attracted participants from the Washington metropolitan area who danced, played and feasted their way into the spring. Attractions included Haft-Sin table displays, fire jumping, epic stories from the Book of Kings, performances by vocalist Monika Jalili and the Nomad Dancers and etc. 

  • A black woman
    Black History Month

    While earlier generations of African-American women had few career options, the U.S. civil rights movement and the push for women’s equality have created opportunities for black women in virtually any field.  

  • Dalai Lama
    Thoughts on Human Rights

    The importance the world community now attaches to human rights has evolved over the centuries, built on the thoughts and words of philosophers, statesmen and human rights activists. Some of their observations appear below.  

  • A kid at Hanukkah celebration
    Hanukkah: A Celebration of Religious Freedom

    Jews in America join with family and friends near the end of each year to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. This eight-day holiday commemorates the recapture and rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago. 

  • Lit Canddles
    Winter Celebrations Mirror America's Diversity

    Winter in America is full of religious and cultural celebrations that highlight the many heritages and interests of the American people.  

  • Picture of a protest
    2011: The Year of Demanding Open, Noncorrupt Government

    At left is a January 30, 2011, pro-democracy demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Calls for good governance, a transparent public sector and business integrity were heard in 2011 from the Arab world to Russia to India.  

  • Photo collage
    Pictures of You: Images from Iran

    Pictures of You: Images from Iran, a mobile exhibition of portraits and photographs of people in Iran going about everyday life, was assembled overnight in a designated “free speech zone” near the Colorado State Capitol building during the August 2008 U.S. Democratic National Convention in Denver. 

  • Close-up of a tapestry
    The Art of the Shahnameh

    The poet Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh combines myth and history in the epic tale of a nation. The Smithsonian Institution’s Sackler Gallery in Washington is celebrating the book’s 1,000th anniversary by showing illustrations from grand editions commissioned by kings of Iran. 

  • Elaborate calligraphic signature embellished with gold ink (Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art)
    Renovated Galleries of Islamic Art Reveal Centuries of Creativity

    Take a peek at some of the treasures from the newly renovated and expanded galleries of Islamic art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum’s collection includes a vast array of ceramics, glass objects, carpets and textiles, illuminated manuscripts, architectural elements and much more. 

  • Young woman looking at model of ship (State Dept.)
    Innovations from Islam’s Golden Age

    The traveling exhibition 1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization invites museum visitors to discover innovations produced in the Islamic world during a period that stretched from the seventh to the 17th century. Many ideas from that era still resonate today.  

  • A man praying (AP Images)
    Picturing the Diversity of the Muslim World

    U.S. photographer Derek Brown, whose work has been featured in The Economist and other major publications, traveled to 28 countries for more than 18 months to photograph the diversity of the Muslim world. 

  • Large mosque with minarets and copper dome (Chris Yunker)
    Mosques in America: A Blending of Cultures

    There are 1,900 mosques in the United States, representing many different cultures and traditions. This is a sampler of that diversity. 

  • Muslim families in tent-draped restaurant (Sandy Huffaker)
    Serving Iftar Across America

    During Ramadan, the Islamic holy month when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, many American Muslims enjoy iftar — the meal that breaks the fast after sundown — at halal restaurants, which prepare food in accordance with Islamic dietary laws. The flavors of faraway places typically predominate. 

  • Men using early cameras (Library of Congress)
    Evolving Media and a Free Press

    From the earliest printing press to modern-day satellite transmissions, advances in technology have enhanced the power of the press by increasing the speed and reach of information distribution.  

  • Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (AP Images)
    Significant Moments in Dissent Against Government

    A look at important acts of dissent against government policies throughout history. 

  • One of the members of the Little Rock Nine is taunted by protestors (AP Images)
    The U.S. Civil Rights Movement

    The movement to achieve civil rights for African Americans is featured in a series of historic photographs. 

  • Dr. King at a podium (AP Images)
    The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to the nonviolent struggle for racial equality and social justice in the United States. On the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day in the United States, Americans honor King’s life and legacy through service and action.  

  • Steve Jobs (AP Images)
    American Innovators: Extraordinary Changes to Everyday Life

    Entrepreneur Steve Jobs, who died October 5, continued a long-standing American tradition of innovation. Find out more about some of the ground-breaking inventors who preceded him. 

  • Craig Newmark seated and gesturing (Courtesy of Craig Newmark)
    Why Did You Become an Entrepreneur?

    Entrepreneurs from around the world explain how and why they became successful. 

  • Spectators watching fireworks (AP Images)
    The Fourth of July: Celebrating U.S. Independence Day

    July 4th has been recognized as Independence Day in the United States ever since the country’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. To mark the occasion, Americans celebrate with parades, fireworks, concerts and other festive activities. 

  • Trick-or-treaters (AP Images)
    Halloween: A Night for Spirits and High Spirits

    Take a photo tour of what Americans love about Halloween. 

  • Carhenge
    Eccentric America: Classic Roadside Attractions

    Where can you find the Fremont Troll, one of America’s quirkiest landmarks? And which American restaurant looks like a longhorn cow skull? If you had to design a humorous, eye-catching structure in your own town, what would it look like — and why?  

  • Children at a table (AP Images)
    Responding to World Hunger

    For the first time in history, there are more than 1 billion undernourished people in the world. One in six people in the world go hungry every day. Find out more about how the international community is taking action to address food insecurity and the challenges of improving agriculture.  

  • Farmer using GPS (AP Images)
    Gadgets That Are Changing the World

    People often take small devices for granted. But gadgets alter our lives and sometimes improve the world around us. These products can make life more comfortable, safer and healthier. Many allow people to communicate faster, do more with less, access vast information resources or release creative energies.