Stories from the Vaults - Season 2

Smithsonian Channel Premiered Sep 01, 2007 In Season


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Episode Guide

  • 8/24/09
    The Smithsonian is sometimes mistaken for a "Hall of Fame," a pantheon for heroic characters and noble accomplishments. But the historians and researchers here study everyone: heroes and villains, the famous and the infamous. Join host Tom Cavanagh (from TV's "Ed") as we explore the crime "scene" at the Smithsonian's Vaults: photographic evidence from the Crime of the Century; everyone's favorite natural villain, the snake; and America's first "Lone Gunman": John Wilkes Booth.moreless
  • Sex 101
    Episode 6
    The Smithsonian's exhibits might have a reputation for being a little dry sometimes, but the prestigious museum's vaults hide surprisingly R-rated artifacts and tales. Host Tom Cavanagh invites viewers behind the scenes to view the unexpectedly raunchy stories, saucy artwork and provocative items that contribute to the Smithsonian's secret history.
  • Going Going Gone
    Episode 5
    Little parts of our world disappear every day, and it's the job of any museum to preserve ideas and artifacts against the tide of time. Well, the curators and scientists at the Smithsonian take that project very seriously indeed - some might say they're a little obsessed. Join Tom Cavanagh for a look at what might be called "extreme conservation": the extraordinary efforts and discoveries of Smithsonian curators to preserve ideas, art works, even entire animal species, so that they'll continue to inspire for generations to come. We'll meet some of the rarest & most endangered animals in the world, including Przewalski's Horse and the clouded leopard, we'll face the problem of restoring art that was designed to fall apart, and then we'll hear fragments of a Bach concerto much as Johann Sebastian himself might have heard it as he sat down to play at his harpsichord.moreless
  • Crystal Ball
    Episode 4
    Some people read palms. Some read fortune cookies. At the Smithsonian, they do it with toothpaste tubes. Surrounded by the world's largest collection of landmark discoveries and world-changing innovations, researchers and scientists here are always looking for new ways to see into the future. Join host Tom Cavanagh for a trip in fast forward, as we explore some of the ways that science imitates ESP. Travel to New York's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for a look at the ways that the design of products we use every day is changing how we imagine tomorrow. Then head down to Panama City for a sneak peek at the museum of the future, the Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Biodiversity, which aims to turn the myriad ways that climate change is affecting the world's plant, animal, and human life into a living experience. Now that's forward thinking!moreless
  • Nature's Vault
    Episode 3
    Some of the Smithsonian's coolest treasures are found thousands of miles from Washington DC and they don't stay put under glass. Fly south with host Tom Cavanagh as he travels to the jungles of Panama to track wild sloths with Smithsonian biologists. Then he takes a 17-story ride on a construction crane high into the rainforest canopy to check out the local bugs' life, followed by a geology field trip with scientist Tony Coates, who offers up some remarkable insight into the Panamanian Isthmus, its formation, its far-reaching effects on global climate, and of course the right way to pronounce "isthmus." It's all in a day's work at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here in Panama, where scientists and researchers brave the sultry heat to produce world-class research and discoveries about evolution, climate change and the powerful forces that shape our planet.moreless
  • Top Secret
    Episode 2
    Words like "classified" and "top secret" are as ingrained in Washington DC culture as "celebutante" and "tummy tuck" are in Hollywood. But not many people connect the Smithsonian with secrets & spies. Until now. Join host Tom Cavanagh in a thrilling peek at some of the hidden codes, strange symbols, and bizarre mysteries hidden in the world's most renowned museum complex. We'll meet a sculptor who encrypted a message so puzzling into his sculpture for CIA Headquarters in Langley that even today, 20 years later, the Agency's top cryptographers haven't been able to crack the code. The Post Office has its share of secrets, too, and we go to the National Postal Museum to learn about the hush-hush shipment of the Hope Diamond, as well as a truly odd Cold War program for sending secret messages by guided missile.moreless
  • Let's Eat
    Episode 1
    Food is much more than just stuff we like to eat. It's the cornerstone of who we are, building communities, driving industries, and sustaining our health and well-being. But what does the Smithsonian have to do with food? Join host Tom Cavanagh behind the scenes as he cooks Native American dishes with the executive chef of the National Museum of the American Indian's Mitsitam Cafe. Experience the American coffee break with our friends at the National Museum of American History, then visit the National Museum of Dentistry to learn exactly how that cuppa joe and a doughnut takes a toll on our teeth.moreless