In 1950s America, rising incomes and shorter work weeks gave people more free time, money to spend, and homes to decorate. So when artist Dan Robbins and paint manufacturer Max Klein launched paint-by-number art kits with the slogan "Every man a Rembrandt," millions of Americans got creative, producing landscapes, portraits of kittens and ballerinas, and copies of masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. Cultural critics reviled the craze as mindless conformity, but its fans included President Eisenhower and Andy Warhol. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History revisits the art form in its exhibition "Paint by Number: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s," through Dec. 31.
With wind speeds of up to 500 km/h, tornadoes can wreak tremendous destruction, crushing cars, flattening houses and sending humans and animals flying. During May and June, storm warnings regularly send residents of the Midwest sprinting to their basements for safety. Bad-weather fans, however, chase the spiraling funnels across the plains. Run by two meteorologists, Silver Lining Tours offers 10-day van-based expeditions that start and end in Denver or Oklahoma City. Tours cost $2,400 excluding air fares; there are no refunds for clear skies. See .
The "entrapment" of Sophie Rhys-Jones by a British tabloid newspaper outraged her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. But since the Victorian era, journalists and photographers have helped make Britain's Royal Family more appealing to their subjects. To mark the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition aims to show how many modern ideas about family, society, nature, leisure and technology arose in the Victorian age. "Inventing New Britain: The Victorian Vision" features 375 artifacts, including marble carvings of the hands, arms and feet of the Queen's nine children, hats and boots worn by African explorers Henry Stanley and David Livingstone, and film of the Boer War. Through July 29.
Long before girl power turned hot in Hollywood, strong, creative females were objects of worship. Women who want to connect with their inner goddess can take a trip with Colorado-based Soluna Tours, which offers "sacred travel for women" to Peru, England, Ireland, India, Tibet, Thailand and Egypt. Participants can meditate at Celtic stone circles in Cornwall, "play in the energies" of Luxor's Temple of Karnak, join a local shaman's "chakra cleansing" ceremony in the Andes, or learn to cook at Bangkok's Oriental Hotel.