Over the years I have subscribed to many different mainstream science and nature magazines and found them too scientific, too specific and mostly too boring. Smithsonian is far more diverse. I have never read any magazine of this type cover to cover because most read like "trade journals" written for people on the inside. For the most part, Smithsonian writes for people who want to be informed without having to be an expert or have a scientific background. There are always a number of interesting essays on people, places, art, discoveries, history and science. Unfortunately, I still don't read it cover to cover, but for a different reason, a high percentage of interesting things.
The writing is first class, the photography outstanding and the variety of subjects covered just right. I think of it as Scientific American, National Geographic and a myriad of other cultural magazines rolled into one.
If you have ever visited the Smithsonian Institution, you know what an incredible spectrum of options there is to explore. The magazine has the same appeal. There is always an article on something that I am not sure I want to know more about, until I begin to read it. And there are always articles that I pass on to people.
Imagine, if you will, a magazine that can write interesting and informative articles on demolition derby, Van Gogh, gargoyles and scorpions. Then, imagine some truly inspiring pieces on the environment, accessible bits on artists of all calibers, and a humorous essay. Add photographs that are entire photo essays in their own right, and you have Smithsonian.
I have to admit, I love museums. I have a special spot in my heart for the Smithsonian Institution. Of all the publications that I have encountered of this nature, this is far and away the best written, most geared to the public, the most entertaining. I just wish I had more accessibility to the wonderful things they write about. Except for the scorpions.
If you enjoy reading the National Geographic, or enjoy going to museums, or like the Discovery Channel I would recommend subscribing to this magazine.
The feature articles in the Smithsonian are enlightening and well researched. The feature articles often take place internationally. Recent articles have whisked me away to Morocco, Egypt, London. I look forward to receiving the Smithsonian every month.
- Feature articles are uninterrupted by ads.
- International feature articles
- Printed on quality paper
I am totally hooked on Smithsonian. Where else can the "regular" person be introduced to what's happening in science, anthropology, medicine, etc? This magazine is worth every penny.
This is a great magazine. It has consistently strong articles in a variety of fields. It covers everything from conservation biology to history, and I find myself reading almost all of the articles. For those of us in the DC area, it's also nice because many of the articles highlight new exhibits or events. Recommended.
I think this is a great magazine and I look forward to it's arrival each month. It has a variety of articles on a wide range of subjects. Each month's issue is well-written with some great photos accopanying the articles. I've been a subscriber for several years now, and will keep my subscription going for years to come.
We get this magazine and I really like it a lot. I find that all the articles are interesting. It's similar to National Geo but it's focussed more on the US. My partner is a scientist and I'm not but we both enjoy the articles. I recommend this for a general audience but also if you like to read about research.
Smithsonian is one of the premier publications in my house. (I subscribe to scores of magazines, and this ranks with National Geographic as my favorite.)
I have loved Smithsonian magazine ever since I was a teenager and I went to visit the Smithsonian museums on the Mall in Washington D.C. The magazine has as much variety as the museums, covering culture, natural history, science and biography among other topics. Readable yet challenging and always fascinating, the Smithsonian in my house is always finished within a week yet kept on the coffee table for much longer.
The back page commentary is sometimes a bit trite, but more often it is insightful and hilarious. The articles are unrivaled in their compelling presentation and subject matter. Smithsonian is supported by the most powerful government on Earth, so such wonderful production is to be expected.
However, I have recently learned that most of the content of the Smithsonian magazine is available online for free. I feel a little bit like a sucker for paying the subscription price when I can easily download the articles and print them or read them on screen for nothing (except for the cost of my DSL internet hookup, which I would have anyway).
I don't know whether I will renew. I have become very fond of flipping through Smithsonian and would feel like a rat for deserting the magazine. The question in my mind is: Who's the rat, and who's the super-rat? If anyone has thoughts on what the right thing to do is, let me know. In any case, if you don't have a fast internet hookup, by all means get yourself a subscription to Smithsonian now!
A friend bought me a subscription to this magazine as a gift several years ago and I've been getting it ever since then. I had never heard of the magazine, so was a little unsure of what to expect when I got the first issue. What I found was a magazine full of educational articles that you actually want to read. I find the articles engrossing, some are even funny. For example, one recent article was on millenium madness, but the twist was that it's a humorous look at how people felt at 1000 AD. Another recent article dispelled myths about piranhas, while another looked at the return of the jitterbug. Each issue also has a pictorial type of article, for example the artwork of Maxfield Parrish or Emily Carr, or photographs by Berthold Steinhilber, who uses timed flashes to get incredible pictures of ruins at night (you have to see them - they're awesome!). They also mix in lighter subjects including hot dogs, farmer's markets, and hypnotism. I thought I was pretty smart until I got this magazine. Of course, reading it has informed me about many diverse subjects in math, religion, art, history, nature, etc. I do find some of the articles boring - I'm just not into miniature planes or architecture - but I read almost all of the magazine. There are a few sections on the Smithsonian Institute and its exhibits. I suppose those would be good if you were planning a trip there, but I'm not, so I usually skip those too. I especially enjoy the end article of each issue - a humorous one page on life. My recent favorite is the story of an actor who got a message from his agent that he had an audition for the part of a wily woman. The actor dressed the part with heels and all. Only when he got to the audition, it was for Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. As an actor myself, I found this hysterical (and, unfortunately, believable). All in all, this is a great magazine to have sitting on your coffee table. It's one of the few that I keep.