SmithsonianSummer Showdown

Smithsonian fans cast more than 90,000 votes, narrowing our field from 24 contenders to one final winner. We're pleased to announce the champion of the Smithsonian Summer Showdown, the one thing that says "SMITHSONIAN" like nothing else: Bao Bao the Giant Panda Cub!

Each of our museums and research centers, along with the National Zoo, picked one iconic item as its contender in the Showdown. These titans of the Smithsonian battled head-to-head through three rounds of voting.

Thank you to the Smithsonian fans from all across the country who weighed in and voted for their favorites. All of the contestants fought valiantly, and there were some close calls along the way — but in the end there could only be ONE winner.

Almost a year old, Bao Bao is often seen climbing trees in her yard. Her birth via artificial insemination is a conservation success story and builds on the National Zoo’s leading scientific reproduction research to increase the population of the endangered Giant Panda, which numbers as few as 1,600 in the wild.

You can visit Bao Bao and other fascinating animals at the Smithsonian National Zoo.


Enid A. Haupt Garden, Smithsonian Gardens. Photograph courtesy of Jeff Tinsley. Electronic Superhighway, American Art Museum. Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, 1995, Nam June Paik, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, © Nam June Paik Estate The Korean Taco, Asian Pacific American Center and Latino Center. Kogi Korean BBQ, photo by Eric Shin Wile E. Coyote from "What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones", Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). "Ready...Set... Zoom!" Original layout drawing, 1955. Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. From "What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones," a new Smithsonian traveling exhibit now at Museum of the Moving Image in NYC. Pablo Picasso's handwritten list of artists for the 1913 Armory Show, Archives of American Art. A list written by Pablo Picasso of European artists to be included in the 1913 Armory Show, 1912. Walt Kuhn, Kuhn family papers, and Armory Show records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.