September 18, 2013
September 17, 2013
The Giant Panda cub is fit as fiddle. Zoo veterinarians were delighted late yesterday afternoon when the female panda Mei Xiang momentarily set down her little cub after three and a half weeks of nearly constant cradling and nursing, and went in search of food. While the mother panda munched on bamboo and got a drink of water, Zoo keepers quickly pulled the cub from the den and immediately began checking her weight, and marking other growth milestones.
Since August 25, when Zoo keepers did an initial and quick health survey, the little cub has doubled her weight, up from 4.8 ounces to now less than two pounds. The familiar black and white markings of a giant panda are also beginning to emerge and the cub is now a roll-poly 10.6 inches long and 9.8 inches wide. Her eyes are open and she’s taking in her surroundings.
After the exam, mother and child were reunited and Mei Xiang began grooming her. In a report, panda curator Brandie Smith said: “It’s amazing to see how much she has grown in less than a month. Mei Xiang continues to be a great mom, as she was with her first cub, Tai Shan.”
August 23, 2013
UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: During the panda cub’s first neonatal exam earlier today, veterinarians say that the new cub’s weight is normal at 4.83 ounces and that it’s overall health was good. “The cub is nursing & digesting well. It is very active, very vibrant & very pink,” Zoo officials reporter via Twitter. The cub’s sex will be determined at a later date.
UPDATE AUGUST 25: The Zoo reports that at 7:29 on August 24, Mei Xiang gave birth to a second, stillborn cub. “It had developmental abnormalities, wasn’t fully formed & was never alive,” the Zoo stated via Twitter. The mother panda “groomed the stillborn cub for 17 minutes” before she released the motionless cub. Staff retrieved the body to perform a necropsy. The first cub continues to do well and staff report hearing its vocalizations. Panda cam viewers are being asked to post their best screen grabs on the Zoo’s dedicated new cub Flickr page.
UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: The Zoo is reporting that Mei gave birth to a cub at 5:32 p.m. tonight: “Mei Xiang picked the cub up immediately and began cradling and caring for it.” Congratulations, Mei!
Watch the birth:
UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: The Zoo is receiving heavy traffic on its panda cam. Officials say they are doing everything they can to keep the cams up and running. The initial tw0-hour labor estimate may have been overly optimistic. The Zoo is now saying that labor could take as long as 10 hours.
UPDATE 5:oo p.m.: Mei just rolled over and put her leg up on the wall around her nest. She’s having contractions.
All eyes have been on the female panda this past month and just now, the female giant panda Mei Xiang is going into labor. Her water broke and Zoo officials say that she is within two hours of delivering her third cub.
January 3, 2013
Friday, January 4: Meet Joseph Henry
Climb aboard our history time capsule and have a chat with the Smithsonian first secretary, a well-turned-out gent, who walked the halls of the red brick Castle during the Civil War and ran the Institution from 1846 to 1878. Reenactors portray professor Joseph Henry (1797-1878), a man great intellect whose foresight and vision defined the Smithsonian and his words ring true even today. “There is poetry in science and the cultivation of the imagination,” he once wrote, “is an essential prerequisite to the successful investigation of nature.” Hang out with Henry most Fridays and Saturdays 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. National Museum of American History
Saturday, January 5: Maya Weaving Demonstration with Juanita Velasco
See something done right. Mayan weaver Juanita Velasco, who is fluent in the Ixil language spoken in Santa Maria Nebaj, Guatemala, shows you an unusual way to weave, demonstrating the traditional backstrap weaving techniques of her people. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. National Museum of the American Indian
Sunday, January 6: Luce Unplugged with Sarah Fridrich
An acoustic concert series, Luce Unplugged invites local musicians to perform. First take a tour with a museum staffer and then enjoy free coffee or tea and enjoy the music of . singer, song-writer and pianist Sarah Fridrich and drummer Kirk Kubicek. Their indie-pop, jazz influenced sound is reminiscent of Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple but with a sound completely their own. Talk at 1:30 p.m., music at 2 p.m Smithsonian American Art Museum
And if you happen to have a herd of family members curious to explore all the Smithsonian has to offer, just download our specially created Visitors Guide App. Get the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C. and the National Mall with this selection of custom-built tours, based on your available time and passions. From the editors of Smithsonian magazine, the app is also packed with handy navigational tools, maps, museum floor plans and museum information including ‘Greatest Hits’ for each Smithsonian museum.
October 31, 2012
A pumpkin is nothing more than a squash, but somehow like Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin, it has risen in fame, far beyond that of its cucurbita cousins. Why has the pumpkin become a Halloween favorite? One can only guess that its smooth surface makes just the right medium for happy face carvings or ghastly ghoulish gashes. But how has the simple vegetable been collected here at the Smithsonian? A host of images, some paintings, some sculptures, some very early photographs–even a daugerrotype. Hail to the mighty pumpkin and Happy Halloween from the Around the Mall blog team.