Calendar of Events and Exhibitions April 2019

March 13, 2019

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:

March Events:

Cooking Up History: Carla Hall's Soul Food
March 22; 1–2:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West

Join guest chef Carla Hall and Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young as they explore the historic connections between African American foodways and the flavors and cooking techniques of West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. During the cooking demonstration, Hall will prepare several dishes from her cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, including cassava with coconut milk and lime, Ghanaian peanut beef and tomato stew and hot water cornbread. After the demonstration, Hall will sign copies of her cookbook. For additional information, visit:

Meet Organist & Civil Rights Icon Althea Thomas
March 23; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square
Second Floor, West

During this hour-long public program Althea Thomas, longtime organist for Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, will donate her customized organ shoes to the museum’s permanent collections and will lead a group of local gospel singers in the performance of a selection of gospel favorites. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hired Thomas in 1955 to play in his Montgomery, Alabama church and she will discuss the role of music and the church in the early days of the Civil Rights movement. This event is part of the “Sounds of Faith” concert series, made possible by the museum’s Religion in America Initiative and the generous support of Lilly Endowment, Inc.


“More Doctors Smoke Camels: A Close Reading of Historical Advertising”
Opens April 5
Archives Center Gallery
First Floor, West

This exhibition will examine period advertisements from the 1920s to the 1960s when advertisers used representations of medical professionals to make the case that smoking was healthy. Tobacco companies sought to exploit the influence of doctors, dentists, and nurses to ease consumers’ anxiety over the health risks of smoking. Contemporary audiences will learn how advertisers worked to promote cigarettes despite the health problems they caused. 


ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival 
April 5-7; 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
West Wing

Universities of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) will come together for the “ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival.” The festival will showcase technologies that draw upon art, science and humanities to address global challenges. Presented in part by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History and Virginia Tech University, this event will include student performances, conversational talks and interactive exhibitions. For more information, visit

Religion and Innovation Symposium
April 12; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
S. C. Johnson Conference Center
First Floor, West
Registration required:

Join noted scholars for a one day conference exploring the history and intersections of religion and innovation. Spiritual leaders have transformed American beliefs by harnessing new technologies, while many inventors have pointed to religious inspirations for their technological leaps. Innovations in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to gene editing reinvigorate longstanding disputes and raise new ethical concerns. The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit:

Cooking Up History: Ethiopian Culinary Cultures in Washington, D.C.
April 12; 1–2:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West

Join guest chef Sileshi Alifom and Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young as they explore Ethiopian cuisine in the District of Columbia. Sileshi Alifom — owner of DAS Ethiopian Restaurant — will discuss how to introduce a diverse group of eaters to Ethiopian culture through food. The demo will be accompanied by an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. This program connects to a new section of the FOOD exhibition which highlights the efforts and influences of migrant entrepreneurs on America’s ever-changing food scene. For additional information, visit:


2019 Jazz Appreciation Month Concerts
April 4, 11, 18 and 26; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West

Four groups will perform 25 minute sets based on their interpretation of “Jazz Beyond Borders.” The ensembles include:

  • April 4 – George Mason University Latin Jazz Ensemble, led by Darden Purcell
  • April 11 –  Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble, led by Alvin Trask
  • April 18 – George Washington University Latin Jazz Ensemble, led by Alejandro Lucini and Peter Fraize
  • April 26 – Howard University’s All-female Vocal Jazz Group  “SASSY,” led by Jessica Boykin-Settles

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
April 6 and 7; talk at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m.
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
Ticket purchase required:

The Smithsonian Chamber Players — Vera Beths and Meredith Reily (violins), Steven Dann and Jasper Snow (violas) and Kenneth Slowik (violoncello) — present Robert Schumann’s Quartet in A Major and Anton Bruckner’s Quintet in F Major. For more information, visit:


Jazz Film Festival
April 11-14
Warner Bros. Theater
First Floor, Center
Purchase tickets here:
Smithsonian Theaters will celebrate Jazz History Month and the Smithsonian’s Year of Music from April 11-14 with films including Chicago, La La Land, Some Like it Hot, Whiplash and more. Please visit for tickets and showtimes.

"We the People: Making a More Perfect Union, One Generation at a Time"
Sunday; 10:30 a.m.*
Warner Bros. Theater
First Floor, Center
Free, no tickets required

The museum’s signature film “We the People” is a 20-minute celebration of the national ideals of democracy, opportunity and freedom. Stunning footage and a soaring soundtrack take viewers on a journey from past to present, honoring the visionary ideas, significant sacrifices and remarkable fortitude of the people who built our country, one generation at a time. Produced by Smithsonian Channel. For more information, please visit
*Subject to change

For information on full listings of films presented by Smithsonian Theaters in the Warner Bros. Theater, please visit:

History Alive! Theater Programs:

Women’s History Theater Programs
Tuesday and Thursday; 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday; noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

Justice Must be Done
"Within These Walls" exhibition
Second Floor, West

Meet Lucy Caldwell at her Ipswich, Mass., home and attend an 1840 meeting of the Ipswich Female Anti-Slavery Society.

Meet the Wheelwoman
First Floor, West

Meet wheelwoman Louise Gibson as she takes her bicycle on a journey to discover opportunities for women in the 1890s.

Daily Programs:

"Wegmans Wonderplace"
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
First Floor, West

The museum’s early learning gallery combines age-appropriate activities for children 0–6 with museum collections and touchable objects.

Open daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
First Floor, West

Spark!Lab reveals the real story behind inventors’ work through hands-on activities infused with historical content that help kids ages 6-12 explore the history and process of invention. Hosted by the museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Spark!Lab’s interdisciplinary activities appeal to varied learning styles and abilities and combine traditional STEM with art and creativity.

The activities of Spark!Lab change quarterly. For details about current Spark!Lab activities, please visit

Museum ABCs
April 23; 11 a.m. – noon
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West

Museum ABCs is a drop-in program that introduces early learners, ages 0-6, and their adult companions to the museum collections through letter learning and hands-on activities. Join us for a story and craft centered on the Smithsonian Libraries' exhibit “Magnificent Obsessions.” For more information, please visit:

Hands-On Activities
Daily; times vary
Wallace H Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West

The Business of Chocolate: Explore chocolate’s impact on American history through hands-on colonial chocolate-making demonstrations.

Harvest for the Table: How have food and farming changed over the years? Explore how wheat was made into flour over 100 years ago.



Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.