Calendar of Events: April 2018

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:

Last Chance to See!
Closing Display:

Ella Fitzgerald: The First Lady of Song at 100
Closes April 29
Archives Center, First Floor, West Wing

Ella Fitzgerald: The First Lady of Song at 100 explores Fitzgeralds impact on American jazz culture through a collection of objects, sheet music and photographs. As one of the first African American female celebrities to appear in commercial print ad campaigns aimed at a general audience, Fitzgerald broke racial barriers. For more information about the exhibition, visit our website.

Featured Events:

Innovative Lives: Auto-Tune Inventor Andy Hildebrand
April 19; 6:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza
First Floor, West
Eventbrite registration required here

Andy Hildebrand
is the mastermind behind Auto-Tune, a controversial yet globally adopted digital technology that corrects a singers pitch to make it in tune, in real timerevolutionizing vocal recording and performance. "Dr. Andy" co-founded Landmark Graphics and created Antares Audio Technologies where he developed Auto-Tune. He will be interviewed by sound studies historian Trevor Pinch of Cornell University about his inventive life, followed by questions from the audience. For more information, please visit

Innovative Lives: The Genius of Play
April 25; 6:15 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza
First Floor, West
Eventbrite registration required here

What does play have to do with invention and creativity? During the latest in the Innovations series, hear from inventors, educators and entrepreneurs who prove that playful tinkering, creative problem solving and lots of fun can lead to powerful change, profitable businesses and impactful learning opportunities. Monica Smith of the Lemelson Center moderates a panel with Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop and also maker of the award-winning Dash and Dot robots, Molly James, a creativity research and educator at Kent Place School, James McLurkin, a Senior Hardware Engineer at Google and Jeri Robinson, Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Boston Childrens Museum. For more information, please visit

Cooking Up History"
Exploring the Chesapeake Region
April 6; 1 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West

In 2018, the "Cooking Up History" series focuses on the power of place and the histories of regional food traditions. Aprils Cooking Up History will explore the foodways of the Chesapeake, a region shaped by global waterborne trade, rich farmland and seafood resources, a temperate climate and migrations of people over centuries. Chef Lindsay Leopold of Sur La Table, along with the museum's Food Historian Ashley Rose Young, will demonstrate two regional specialties, starting with Southern Maryland stuffed hama recipe for ham and spicy greens that has long been a part of holiday cooking in rural St. Marys Countyand the fanciful Lord Baltimore cake from its namesake city. Join Chef Leopold and museum Food Historian Ashley Rose Young as we learn about Chesapeake cuisine and the micro-regions that contribute to this regions vibrant food culture. For more information, please visit:


Jazz Appreciation Month ("JAM")
Jazz Appreciation Month ("JAM") was founded at the National Museum of American History in April 2002 and is celebrated across the U.S. and internationally in an annual series of events that pays tribute to jazz both as a historic and living American art form. It coincides with the April birthdays of such jazz giants as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Tito Puente.

JAM 2018 Programs and Performances:

Smithsonian Master Jazz Orchestra
Jazz Appreciation Month Launch
Norman Granz: A Producer
s Legacy
March 29; 7:30 p.m.; Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West
Ticket purchase required:

Norman Granz was interested in the recording and dissemination of jazz from the 1940s-1980s. Throughout his career, Granz produced recordings with a broad spectrum of artists including Lester Young, Miles Davis, Benny Carter, Billy Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. In 1944, he produced the first in his series of Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts in Los Angeles. His legacy is etched in all corners of the world as his unyielding efforts have elevated the status of jazz and put Granz in a class all his own.

Hear the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra perform the music of jazzs greatest artists by Granz. The museums Constitution Ave doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

JAM Daytime Concerts
Catch free live jazz performances at the museum in April. Featuring three performances each Thursday, visitors can enjoy jazz performed by local musicians and universities celebrating the legacy of Jazz at the Philharmonic.

Bowie State University Jazz Band, Symphony of Soul
April 5: Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West Wing
Free; No tickets required

US Air Force Airmen of Note

April 12; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

First Floor, West Wing
Free; No tickets required

George Washington University Latin Jazz Band
April 19; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West Wing

Free; No tickets required

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Ensemble

April 26; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West Wing
Free; No tickets required

Learn How to Participate in a Drum Circle
April 10: 1 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

First Floor, West
Free; No tickets required

Drum circles have a long history as a means of communication, collaboration, community-building, civic protest and more. Drum circles range in size and may include other instruments but above all they offer equality for all participants and a chance to make music together. Join Smithsonian Jazz drummer, Ken Kimery, as he leads a hands-on drum circle and explores the history of this important expression of rhythm and communication.

Big Band JAM!
This year, the museum joins Blues Alley Jazz Society to present the 14th Annual Big Band JAM. Developed to educate students about America
s unique jazz heritage and help them hone their own performance skills, Big Band Jam presents adjudicated performances by local college and high school jazz bands to the public. Participating judges will include members of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. For a list of participating bands, please visit here.

April 27-29
Times vary; Please visit here for the schedule
Madison Drive terrace, outside (rain location: Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, First Floor, West Wing)

Free; No tickets required

Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition
April 28;
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Presidential Reception Suite
First Floor, Center
Free; No tickets required

Attend the final day of competition for the second annual Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Competition, initiated by Blues Alley Jazz Society. Judged singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli, competitors will perform selections from the Antonio Carlos Jobim songbook as recorded for the seminal 1981 recording Ella Sings Jobim.

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
Smithsonian Chamber Players
April 14-15; 7:30 p.m.
Pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Hall of Music, Third Floor, West
Ticket purchase required:

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Vera Beths and Cynthia Roberts (violin), Steve Dann (viola), Kenneth Slowick (violoncello), Anthony Manzo (bass), Charles Neidich (clarinet), Andrew Schwartz (bassoon), William Purvis (horn)will perform Schuberts Quartet in G Minor, D173 (1815) and his Octet in F Major, D803 (1824).


Eat at America's Table Café

Just in time for the Cherry Blossoms, the museum has updated its eatery: Showcasing a brand new concept, Eat at Americas Table highlights the rich culinary traditions from our nations kitchens. Throughout six stations, the café features the cuisines of the various states and regions and presents changing seasonal and historic menus. Offerings include artisan cheeses and charcuterie, BBQ, Tex-Mex, a salad bar and of course, delicious house-baked desserts.

Open daily at 11 a.m.

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 business, democracy and culture. For more information, visit 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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Media only:
Rebecca Seel
(202) 633-3129 
Valeska Hilbig
(202) 633-3129