The Smithsonian Channel


19 museums. 9 international research centers. 168 million artifacts. One channel. Infinite stories.

Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture of the Smithsonian Institution and Showtime Networks Inc., explores the history of our planet, life and culture, with 100% original, family-friendly programming. From the origins of the universe to the deaths of civilizations, from upscale design awards to down-home chili cook-offs, we tackle subjects as diverse and limitless as the landscape we cover. Inspired by the world’s leading cultural institution, we explore and celebrate the people, discoveries and achievements that define our country in a way that entertains, educates and inspires, bringing our American history to life – a story written by us, we the people. Learn more at


Stories from the Vaults: Let’s Eat!
Tom explores man’s sincerest love of all…the love of food. First, he tries his hand at cooking Native American dishes with the executive chef of Mitsitam Café. He then visits the National Museum of American History to learn the origins of the American coffee break. Finally, he stops by the National Museum of Dentistry, where he learns how the food we adore has a less than loving relationship with our teeth.



Smithsonian Spotlight:
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Discover the inspirations, efforts and challenges involved in establishing an American museum dedicated to presenting and preserving the African American experience. It’s still a work in progress, but the first exhibit already is assembled – an extraordinary collection of photographs of this country’s most celebrated and influential African Americans.



Smithsonian Spotlight:
Space, The Last 50 Years

Join curators from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and a former shuttle astronaut as they discuss memorable moments from the last 50 years in Space. Relive the triumphs and tragedies, and witness the astonishing tales and technological advances that changed the world, and how we see it.




Understanding the American Experience:

Picturing the Presidents
Enter the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery for an up close and personal view of the men who shaped our country’s history. See how portraiture helps define the office of each president, and how political caricature and photography can also impact one’s image and legacy.


Soul of a People
On the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, Smithsonian Channel reveals the fascinating story of the writers and photographers who spread out across America to capture the soul of a people and create the first guides to each of our states. With rarely seen footage, photographs, and fascinating interviews, the film centers on the struggle between conflicting visions of America.

Soul of a People is about nothing less than the creation of America’s first ever self-portrait.

Two of its most well know alumni, Studs Terkel (in one of his last interviews before his death) and Stetson Kennedy, are interviewed. Also featured are interviews with a diverse group of leading authors, poets, and historians, including Douglas Brinkley and David Bradley, who provide witty and heartbreaking insights into the Project. Award-winning actress Patricia Clarkson narrates.


The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut
Join the investigation as we uncover a conspiracy to hide the fate of fifty-seven Irish immigrants who disappeared without a trace. Travel back to "Duffy’s Cut" as a team of DNA experts, archaeologists and forensic scientists join in the hunt for the missing men and the solution to an age-old mystery.


Valuing World Cultures:

Light at the Edge of the World

Join celebrated anthropologist Wade Davis as he tracks indigenous cultures, each unique for the preservation of their customs in the face of modernization. As he investigates these people heading towards an uncertain future, Davis highlights a fundamental question: what does it mean to be human?


Tomb Detectives
Tomb Detectives is a series of historical thrillers that investigate the circumstances surrounding suspicious deaths from the ancient past using state of the art scientific techniques. In each episode we follow a different team of archaeologists on their quest to find out exactly how and why the victim met their death.


Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe:

Asteroid Trackers
Join us as we investigate the hundreds of meteorites that have rocked us in the past, and the team of dedicated scientists working feverishly to protect us in the future. See how these men and women, using high-tech equipment, plan to fend off Apophis, a 250-ton behemoth heading directly for us.


Nature Tech
See how sharks inspire swimsuits, cars mimic the shape of fish and airplanes take the shape of birds. These inventions are part of the evolving science of “bio-inspiration”- looking at nature for inspiration and finding answers to modern problems in totally unexpected ways. Winner of an Emmy® Award.


Insect Microcosm
Gary Hevel, the "Great Bug Hunter," devotes his time to the study of insects in his two-acre backyard in Maryland. To date, he’s identified an astounding 4,000 insects in his backyard. These include America’s first recorded specimen of a moth originating from Europe and even Hercules beetles, which originally inhabited an area south of the Caribbean Sea.


Sustaining Biodiversity:

Baby New at the Zoo
Meet the babies of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. You’ll get to know the wild kids of four very special animals: the Golden Lion Tamarin, the Sumatran tiger, the Kori bustard, and the Sloth bear. Watch how they play and grow up before your eyes. These cuties are irresistible!


Batwomen of Panama
Who would want to go to an island where there are 72 species of bats? An extraordinary team of Smithsonian scientists known as the “Batwomen of Panama” do. They’ve gone to the island of Barro Colorado to find, track and study these mysterious creatures. Come along on the adventure.


Ghost Cat: Saving the Clouded Leopard
The Clouded Leopard is among the most elusive of all wild cats. Secretive, solitary and perfectly camouflaged in a patterned pelt, these night stalkers silently walk the forests of Southeast Asia. Travel to Thailand for the birth of a litter of Clouded Leopard cubs. Then, slip across the Thai border to visit the most notorious black market in Myanmar- a business that takes in almost $10 billion a year.


Tiger Tales
Something very special has happened inside the National Zoo in Washington, DC – and with the Smithsonian Channel you have a front row seat! Get a rare peek into the lives of three adorable tiger cubs, from their first hours of life to their first steps and first swim.


General Smithsonian:

Saving Treasures
Learn from the experts – Saving Treasures entertains as it educates. The individuals responsible for preserving America’s history share valuable information on how to permanently preserve what is important to us as individuals.


Smithsonian’s Weirdest
Who knew that the Smithsonian’s collections hold so much that is not only gross and icky, but also weird? Take a fun and informative look at ten wondrous and unusual artifacts from the Soap Man (a man mummified in soap) to a million year old sample of giant sloth dung!


Smithsonian Spotlight
Join Smithsonian Spotlight for an in depth look at the exhibits, research projects, and publications of the Smithsonian Institution. Hosted by Susan Spencer, Spotlight’s magazine format features informed, spirited and soulful one-on-one discussions with the scientists, artists and innovators who shape our world and sometimes risk their lives to expand our understanding of the universe.


Stories from the Vaults
Join host Tom Cavanaugh (NBC’s Ed) as he gives the ultimate insider’s tour of the world’s largest museum complex, the Smithsonian. With his lively wit and curiosity, Tom makes the perfect tour guide as he takes viewers beyond the exhibit halls to the private rooms, high-tech vaults and cutting-edge labs of the Smithsonian Institution, revealing some of the amazing artifacts and rarely-seen treasures that visitors can’t see!


America’s Treasures
From the desk on which Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the National Museum of American History houses many of America’s greatest treasures and icons. This program brings you up close and personal with the people who have restored some of these treasures, and reveals the stories of how they came to be a part of the museum’s collection.


Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways
Folkways Records founder Moses Asch turned the music business model on its head. He avoided hit makers and catered to unknown musicians. He dug into vanishing traditions around the world to harness music and sounds that inspire people. Artists like Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly can still be heard on this original indie label with the mission of gathering sound and spreading it to the people.