Special Member-Only Events

Among the many benefits of the Smithsonian Council for American History, members are regularly invited to events and programming with Museum leadership and expert curatorial staff. In addition to going behind the scenes, members have exclusive opportunities to learn about new initiatives and learn about Museum news first.

NEW 2022 Event: Opening of the Museum's new Culture Wing
Active Council members will receive an invitation to celebrate the west wing's final transformation with the opening of its third floor Culture Wing. Together with the Museum's Elizabeth MacMillan Director, celebrities, VIPs, and fellow donors, guests will be among the first to experience the new exhibitions, including Entertainment Nation, and enjoy unique performances at this special event. 

Previous events include:

Opening of The Nation We Build Together
Council members were invited to celebrate the opening of the second floor's recently transformed west wing, themed The Nation We Build Together, with the Museum's Elizabeth MacMillan Director and the exhibitions' lead curators at an exclusive after-hours event. Guests has the opportunity to enjoy a performance by Kenny Rogers, a private viewing of the exhibitions, conversations with key members of the project team, and participate in activities designed for visitors to engage in deeper civic dialogue. 

Preview of The American Revolution: A World War
Members were invited to a tour of the new exhibition The American Revolution: A World War, before it opened to the public. The senior scholar and lead curator of the exhibition led guests through the history of the Franco-American parternship that made possible the 1781 Yorktown victory and its enduring legacy. Guests were then invited to share feedback and continue the conversation over lunch with curators and Museum leadership. 

Discovery of an American Slave Ship
Curator Paul Johnston has identified the approximate location of the only known American slave ship that went down with all the enslaved Africans onboard. He shared his discovery of this shipwreck and efforts to recover the ship and its history. Guests enjoyed a reception and discussion with Paul, in addition to a hands-on program that shared Paul’s research through touchable props.

Keep on Keepin’ On Film Screening and Reception with Quincy Jones
Members were invited to the Museum for a special evening featuring the legendary Quincy Jones.  The evening consisted of a VIP reception with the guest of honor before an exclusive screening of the moving documentary Keep on Keepin' On, which explored the unlikely bond that formed between Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano prodigy and his mentor, jazz legend Clark Terry.   After the exclusive screening, John Edward Hasse, then-curator of American music at the National Museum of American History, led a discussion with the legendary Clark Terry on the making of the film.

Hard-Hat Tour of the Museum’s West Wing Transformation
This afternoon was a special behind-the-scenes opportunity for Council members to take a hard-hat tour of all three floors of the West Wing as they were being renovated. With renderings in each space, guests were able to explore the future spaces and learn more about exciting new exhibitions and programs. The tour was followed by a casual lunch with a presentation on the Museum’s theater programming from Director of Experience and Program Design Chris Wilson. 

West Wing transformation

West Wing transformation