Calendar of Events and Exhibitions December 2018

November 9, 2018
A blue bodysuit with red briefs, a yellow belt and red cape
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:
Opening Display:
Opens Nov. 20
First Floor, East
This showcase presents artifacts from the museum’s collections that relate to Superheroes, including comic books, original comic art, movie and television costumes and props, and memorabilia. The display includes George Reeves’s Superman costume from the Adventures of Superman TV program, which ran from 1951-1958, as well as Halle Berry’s Storm costume from the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past. For more information, please visit:
Holiday Festival at the National Museum of American History
Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2; 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The museum will explore the holiday spirit with musical performances, cooking demonstrations, decorations and more. Holiday movies will screen throughout the day in the Warner Bros. Theater.
“Sounds of Faith: Holiday Traditions” concert
Cantor Arianne Brown of Adas Israel Congregation
Dec. 2; 2:15 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West
Local Cantor and singer Arianne Brown of Adas Israel Congregation of Washington, D.C. will perform traditional Hanukkah songs and share stories about the origin and traditions of the holiday.
“Sounds of Faith: Holiday Traditions” concert
Afro Blue Jazz Ensemble
Dec. 2; 3 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West
Howard University’s vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue will perform jazz and gospel renditions of Christmas favorites.
U.S. Air Force Band
Dec. 1 and Dec. 2; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Flag Hall
Second Floor, Center
The U.S. Air Force Band will perform holiday standards in Flag Hall in the museum.
“Cooking Up History: Exploring the Midwest”
Dec. 1; 1 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West
The “Cooking up History” series of live cooking demonstrations has explored the regional cuisines of the country throughout the year, and “Exploring the Midwest” will feature Chef Anne Byrn—author of the “American Cake” cookbook—who will prepare sweet regional favorites from the Midwest. For more information, please visit:
Book signings for Bryn’s new cookbook “American Cookie” will follow. Books will be available for purchase on site.
“Cooking Up History: Cooking for Kids”
Dec. 1; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West
Chef Tanya Steel will put on a child-friendly cooking demonstration with historically significant recipes from her new book: “Food Fight! A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages.” For more information, please visit:
Book signings for Steel’s new cookbook “Food Fight!” will follow. Books will be available for purchase on site.
Holiday Film Screenings
Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2: Times TBA
Warner Bros. Theater
First Floor, Center
Tickets required, purchase here:
Films include “Wonder Woman,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story” and “Elf.”
Mars Heritage Chocolate “From Bean to Bar” Program
Dec. 1 and Dec. 2; 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
First Floor, Center
Audiences will be able to explore the history of chocolate through demonstrations and tastings of chocolate from American Heritage, a division of Mars Wrigley Confectionary. The featured chocolate is fashioned from recipes dating back to 1750 and uses a sprinkling of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange and red pepper.
Masterworks of Five Centuries
Smithsonian Chamber Players Concert
Dec. 16; Talk at 6:30 p.m.; concert at 7:30 p.m.
Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
The Smithsonian Chamber Players—Edwin Huizinga (violin) and Kenneth Slowik (harpsichord and fortepiano)—present J.S. Bach’s Suite in A Major, BWV 806 and Sonata in G Major, BWV 1019; Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in G Minor, Hob. XVI:44 and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in G Major, K 301/293a.
A preconcert talk on “J.S. Bach and the Suite” will start at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit:
History Alive! Theater programs:
Women’s History Theater programs
Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday at 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.
Votes for Women
Gateway (outside "American Democracy" exhibition)
Second Floor, West
Meet a suffragist and learn about the fight for the 19th Amendment which granted most women the right to vote.
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.
Join the Student Sit-Ins
Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Greensboro Lunch Counter
Wallace H Coulter Unity Square
Second Floor, West
This 30-minute play features two actors who explore race, civic activism and religious inspiration through song and discussion at nonviolent protest training session, a few weeks after the Feb. 1, 1960 sit-in at the F.W. Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The play takes place a few feet away from the original Greensboro lunch counter, which is on display in the museum.
Daily Programs:
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.
Game On: Board Games on the Plaza: Play classic games and explore the surprising stories behind these everyday innovations.
Harvest for the Table: How have food and farming changed over the years? Explore how wheat was made into flour over 100 years ago.
Preservation for the Table: Explore how foods were harvested and preserved all year long and why these methods changed over time.
Daily Films:
"We the People: Making a More Perfect Union, One Generation at a Time"
Daily; 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
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. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information and to check extended hours, visit us online at For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.