Calendar of Events - February 2017

February 2017 including Black History Month Programs
February 1, 2017

Editor’s Note: All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Visitors should be prepared for a security check upon entrance to the museum. Program attendees should arrive 30 minutes in advance. For a complete schedule of activities check:

Black History Month

Visitors can attend related programming as well as see objects from notable African Americans such as Misty Copeland whose ballet costume from her Broadway debut recently went on view in the “American Ballet” display. Mohammed Ali’s boxing gloves are on view in “American Stories,” and “American Enterprise” features stories of African American entrepreneurs.

February Opening Exhibition

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II
Albert H. Small Documents Gallery
Opens Feb. 17

February 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 a document that President Roosevelt signed in 1942, two months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The order resulted in the imprisonment of 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese nationals in prison camps across the country, many being relocated far from home. Some 40 years later, the U.S. Congress formally recognized that the rights of the Japanese American community had been violated and President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing an apology and restitution to the living Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. The exhibition will explore this history through the Executive Order 9066 document on loan from the National Archives, original artwork by Roger Shimomura, who spent several years in the Minidoka Camp in Idaho, along with historic images and objects.


Smithsonian Chamber Players: Joseph Haydn: Piano Trios of the 1780s
Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Hall of Music

As part of the Masterworks of Four Centuries series Katherine Kyme and William Skeen, considered to be two of California’s top period-instrument players, join the museum’s Kenneth Slowik to present four of Haydn’s inventive fortepiano trios from the late 1780s. For ticket information, visit:

Exhibitions and Displays related to Black History Month

Celebration: Snapshots of African American Communities
Lower Level

Through Dec. 2017

The museum features a display of 25 photographs that reflect the diversity of the African American experience. The photos come from two collections in the Museum’s Archives Center that depict special occasions and everyday life in African American communities: the Scurlock Studio Collection and the Fournet Drug Store.

Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection
National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery

Second Floor, East

Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture serves as a view into the dynamic history of Americans of African descent. The exhibition showcases the personal and intimate narratives of various families, organizations and individuals spanning the Revolutionary era to the present, including a jumpsuit worn by Tuskeegee Airman Frederick E. White Jr., James Brown’s 1968 Hammond organ as well as a red jumpsuit and vest worn by the singer and dresses made for Jacqueline Kennedy by Ann Cole Lowe.

Black Main Street: Funding Civil Rights in Jim Crow America
New Perspectives Case within American Enterprise
First Floor, West Wing
Through July 2017

This “New Perspectives” case in the museum’s business history exhibition examines the ways in which African American businesses, both large and small, contributed to the civil rights movement; specifically Harold Cotton who owned and operated Bob’s Hat Shop in Greensboro, N.C., from 1953 to 2005 and Marjorie Stewart Joyner who supervised the training of thousands of African American beauticians as vice president of the Madam C. J. Walker Company. Objects on display include a National Cash Register from Cotton’s shop and beautician’s styling tools.

Greensboro Lunch Counter
Second Floor, East Wing

This section of the Woolworth’s lunch counter with 4 stools from Greensboro, NC, represents the February 1, 1960 sit-in that challenged segregated eating places. On February 1, 1960, four African American students – Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil and David L. Richmond – sat down at this counter and politely asked for service. Their request was refused. When asked to leave, they remained in their seats. They were all enrolled at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College.

Featured Event

Innovative Lives: A Conversation with Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson
Thursday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

Lonnie Johnson is best known for his popular invention, the Super Soaker water gun, and for his work on high-performance Nerf dart guns. However, he has devoted his life to solving some of the world’s most complex technological problems, and has received more than 100 patents, many of which are related to clean energy. Economist Lisa Cook will interview Johnson about his career, followed by questions from the audience. After the program, guests will have the opportunity to talk with Johnson informally during a light reception and to visit our Spark!Lab hands-on invention center. Free registration is required:


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: Democracy in the Jazz Age
Saturday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Hall of Music

This year marks the centennial of the first jazz recording by the “Original Dixieland Jass Band” in 1917. Changing technology and pioneering musicians allowed that jazz music has been documented for the majority of its history, providing evidence of the styles, performances, and nuance of early jazz. Unlike classical music, jazz was unique in those early years as it relied heavily on the creativity and improvisation of all its performers as well as their ability to listen to each other. The SJMO Ensemble will explore these forms of democratic conversation and freedom of expression in music through the “Jazz Age.” To purchase tickets, go to:

Food History Programming

Cooking Up History: Food and the Great Migration
Saturday, Feb. 25; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

Guest Chef Jerome Grant from the National Museum of African American History and Culture will look at the impact of the Great Migration, the period of 1915 to 1960 when more than five million African-Americans migrated from the deep South to the northern and western United States, on American food. Chef Grant will prepare dishes that reflect the culinary changes that emerged from the migration and discuss how African-Americans preserved some Southern roots as “soul food” tradition while adapting and creating new dishes to their neighborhoods.

Daily Programs

hiSTORYtime: Early Childhood Story and Activity Time
Saturday, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; 11 a.m. – 12 noon
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

hiSTORYtime is a program aimed at early literacy and introducing visitors ages 0 to 6 to objects in the collection. Saturdays in February focus on trains, cars and planes. Kids can enjoy stories about transportation and games, crafts and activities inspired by objects in the museum that help people travel.

Open daily except Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Tuesdays
First Floor, West Wing

“Spark!Lab” is where museum visitors become inventors. The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation invites children between the ages of six and 12 to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment and invent. Activities for children and families incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, museum and creativity. 

Wegmans Wonderplace
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Tuesdays
First Floor, West Wing

The museum’s early learning gallery combines age-appropriate activities with museum collections and touchable objects to provide a gateway to history and a place for children 0 – 6 to exercise curiosity.

Object Project
Daily, 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. (subject to docent availability)

“Object Project” features “everyday things that changed everything.” It will present familiar objects in a new light, exploring how people, innovative things and social change shaped life as we know it. Visitors will have the opportunity to see and handle objects, and explore their significance through demonstrations and docent-led activities. 

About the Museum

The National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history through its collections and research. The museum helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. It is currently renovating its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on democracy and culture. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). To learn more about the museum, check Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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