For the past 50 years, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington has been telling America's story with images of people who helped shape the history and culture of the United States. It recently added 28 pictures in an effort to tell a more diverse and more complete story of U.S. society. The display features well-known people like baseball player Alex Rodriguez and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy — and sheds light on some "hidden figures." VOA's Julie Taboh has more.
There are a number of reasons why Americans like to have a live tree for their Christmas centerpiece It just smells like Christmas, they grew up with a real tree, they feel it's better for the environment than an artificial one. And although trees can be chipped into mulch after the holiday, there are other ways to environmentally dispose of a Christmas tree that's passed its prime. Faith Lapidus reports.
Blue was a rare, expensive color in ancient times, whether it was derived from lapis lazuli mined in Afghanistan some 6,000 years ago, made by blending copper with other elements throughout the Middle East and in ancient China, or mixing an extract of the indigo plant with clay and resin by Mayans in Mesoamerica. Now, a centuries-old tradition of dyeing blue cloth with delicate patterns in parts of eastern Europe has been recognized for its cultural importance by UNESCO. Faith Lapidus reports.