Calendar of Events and Exhibitions: March 2019

February 6, 2019
“All Work, No Pay”
Opens March 4
Artifact Walls, First Floor, Center
The new showcase display, “All Work, No Pay: A History of Women’s Invisible Labor,” examines the implied expectation that women will take care of household tasks. This display draws on the deep collection of the museum’s domestic clothing costumes, many of which have never been on view. Pockets, aprons, housedresses and a variety of other costumes meant for domestic work from colonial America to the 1990s are featured, representing the type of women’s clothing that is rarely seen outside of the home.
This showcase is part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, #BecauseOfHerStory. For more information, visit
“Giving and Health” (within "Giving in America" exhibition)
Opens March 20
Artifact Walls, Third Floor, Center
A pink ribbon and breast cancer awareness coin, an operating room cap worn on a medical mission in Liberia and a mosquito net used to help prevent malaria are among the objects that will update the museum’s “Giving in America” exhibition with the story of philanthropy and health and medicine. The"Giving and Health" section will showcase how Americans always participated in international philanthropy by contributing time, talent and treasure to advance causes that range from health education to medical assistance. “Giving in America” is a long-term exhibition that looks at the history of philanthropy’s role in shaping the United States and is updated annually to address a key theme in American giving.
Innovative Lives: James and Ellington West
Wednesday, March 6; 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Demonstration Plaza
First Floor, West
Learn how an inventor works from James West and Ellington West, who will answer questions about success in innovation and entrepreneurship. Jim West is an inventor and advocate, with over 60 U.S. patents. He invented the electret microphone used in over 90 percent of today’s electronics, and researches and invents new technologies for sound recording and transmission. Ellington West is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Sonavi Labs, a company developing modern medical products that analyze body sounds to diagnose disease, including digital stethoscopes that incorporate artificial intelligence technology. For more information on the Lemelson Center and Innovative Lives, please visit:
Cooking Up History: Carla Hall's Soul Food
Friday, 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:
Sounds of Faith: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration with Sean-nós Dance
Saturday, March 16; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performing Plaza
First Floor, West
To observe St. Patrick's Day, this Sounds of Faith concert will feature the Shannon Dunne Dance Troupe performing the sean-nós dance. Literally meaning "old style" in Irish, sean-nós dance has been kept alive in the remote areas of Connemara Gaeltacht and passed along through family/community lines. Sounds of Faith is a performance series from the Religion in American Initiative at the National Museum of American History, made possible with a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment.
"Centennial Year of Nat 'King' Cole"
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
March 31; 7:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West
Ticket purchase required:
In March, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (“SJMO”) will celebrate the centennial year of Nat “King” Cole's birth, one of the most popular vocalists of his era. Nathaniel Adams Cole gained the moniker “King” due to a mastery of the piano and voice, culminating in his own television show in the 1950’s. For more information, visit:
"Masterworks of Five Centuries"
Smithsonian Chamber Players
March 2; talk at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m.
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
The Smithsonian Chamber Players — Adriane Post (violin) and Kenneth Slowik (harpsichord and fortepiano) — present J. S. Bach’s Suite in E minor and Sonata in E major, Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in F major and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in E-flat major. For more information, visit:
"Masterworks of Five Centuries"
Smithsonian Chamber Players
March 16 and 17; talk at 6:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m.
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
The Smithsonian Chamber Players — Pedja Muzijevic and Kenneth Slowik (fortepianos) — present Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Three Marches” and “Große Fuge,” and Franz Schubert’s “Fantasie” in F minor and Rondo in A major. For more information, 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.
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.
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:
"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
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.
"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
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.