Smithsonian Collections Online

A Leading Cultural Institution

The Smithsonian, America’s foremost research and education institution, has partnered with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, to launch a series of collections from Smithsonian’s vast archives. This partnership has yielded collections covering American history, culture and innovation.

The White City with Brush and Pen: by C. Graham.
The AP World

Unprecedented access to America's premier archive of culture and history

Gale and the Smithsonian have partnered to give librarians, students, faculty, and researchers a look behind the glass of the Smithsonian exhibits and collections. Smithsonian Collections Online delivers primary source content that's essential for today's researcher. The digitized materials within Smithsonian Collections Online span multidisciplinary topics for both research and education, including:

  • Evolution of Flight, 1784-1991
  • Trade Literature and the Merchandizing of Industry
  • World’s Fairs and Expositions: Visions of Tomorrow
  • Air & Space and Smithsonian Magazine Archive


Smithsonian Collections Online: Air & Space and Smithsonian Magazine Archive

This collection brings together Air & Space Magazine and Smithsonian Magazine for the first time in a combined and fully-searchable digital archive. Together, the complete history of both of these premier magazines represent decades of in-depth and expert coverage of high-demand topics and unique insights into aviation, space, innovation, science, technology, the arts, and culture, all of which is accessible in an integrated, intuitive display.

Smithsonian Collections Online: Evolution of Flight, 1784-1991

This collection sketches the "story behind the story" of man’s desire to fly, including early flight, inventions, air races, the fighter pilot, the evolution of aerial weaponry, Germany’s WWII jet program, the Cold War aviation race, and other flight-related developments and events critical to the history of science and technology and the military.

Smithsonian Collections Online: Trade Literature & The Merchandizing of Industry

This collection, covering 1820 to 1926, allows researchers to determine the history of companies and industries, discern trends in sectors from furniture to machinery, analyze marketing and management techniques, and examine illustrations of the items used at home and in business. The collection exposes technological advances, architectural advances, societal changes, and business history in a way that reveals vital aspects of American culture, society, and history.

Smithsonian Collections Online: World's Fairs & Expositions: Visions of Tomorrow

With coverage beginning in 1834 and including the pivotal Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 in London, this collection allows users to explore key cultural and technological progress that shaped contemporary outlooks on life and reflected national identities.

Platform Features & Tools

Term Frequency

Researchers can now easily see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interacted and developed over time.

Term Clusters

By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections to search terms — helping scholars shape their research and integrate diverse content with relevant information.


Integrate content from complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment to enable users to make never-before-possible research connections.


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