Festivals and Celebrations

Food History Weekend | October 22-24, 2015

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History brought together culinary leaders, researchers, practitioners, and scholars to inspire Museum visitors to understand the history of food in America. This October the history of innovations in American food were examined. What did “innovation” mean historically in terms of food production and preparation? What does it mean in today’s food world? These questions were explored through panels, live cooking demonstrations, book signings, and more. Featuring food experts: J. Kenji López-Alt, Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, Mariano Ramos, Neftali Duran, and Pati Jinich.  

Raise It Up! America Innovates: Naturalization Ceremony | Annually in June

Cosponsored with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Raise It Up! celebrates new citizens from different countries, including: Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Honduras, Canada, and more, in a naturalization ceremony in the Museum’s Flag Hall. America’s democratic and economic systems continue to be strengthened by the diversity and ingenuity of our citizenry. To honor the contributions of our diverse citizenry, the German-born Sebastian Thrun was awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.

Central American Traditions Festivals | May 2006 & September 2012

In 2006 and 2012, the Museum celebrated Central American heritage with day-long festivals. Both celebrations featured musical guests, arts and craft projects, and food. These Central American Traditions Festivals highlighted and included D.C. Latino communities.

Día de los Muertos Festivals | October/November, 2004-2009

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated throughout Latin America and other places inhabited by Latino people, including Europe and the United States. From 2004 to 2009, PLHC helped the National Museum of American History celebrate Día de los Muertos with family activities, performances, concerts, food and crafts.

“¡Azucar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz” Opening Festival | May 2005

The opening of the exhibition “¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz” was celebrated with a festival that included an afternoon of salsa music, dance performances and dance lessons. Thousands of visitors grooved and moved to Edwin Ortiz y Su Orquesta La Romana performing along with DJ Bruno. Eileen Torres led a variety of salsa and merengue lessons for all ages and the dance troupe Trabuco demonstrated club-style salsa dancing. Cantaré’s Evaluna, an ensemble composed of four women musicians, performed an interactive concert about folk music traditions from Latin America. Families also enjoyed craft activities and were able to taste traditional Cuban dishes prepared by Restaurant Associates.