The German naturalist and explorer Alexander Von Humboldt once suggested that the “philosophical study of nature endeavors, in its vicissitudes of phenomena, to connect the present with the past.” This exhibition attempts a similar connection. In 1804, Von Humboldt visited the United States for only six weeks, but his boundless curiosity paralleled the country’s boundless terrain, and his ideals continued to impact the nation’s artists, scientists, writers, politicians, and explorers for the next century. With over 100 paintings, maps, artifacts, and sculptures, the Smithsonian illustrates Von Humboldt’s role in shaping a nation. —C.J.F.
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