Calendar of Events - August 2017

August 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:

Smithsonian Gardens

Common Ground, Our American Garden Tours
Thursdays, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; 9:30 a.m.
Tours meet on the National Mall side of the Museum’s entrance on Madison Dr,
between 12th and 14th Streets

“Common Ground, Our American Garden,” complements the “Many Voices, One Nation” exhibition and borders the museum’s building, sharing stories of memory, healing, discovery and ingenuity. Many peoples and their plants have left a mark on the American landscape. Our gardens include plants that were found here, brought from other countries or passed down by seed or shared with neighbors. These plants now represent a shared American heritage.

Food History

FOOD in the Garden: Flavoring America
Unity Square, Second Floor West Terrace
Thursday, Aug. 10; 6:30 – 9 p.m.

Join the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Gardens for an evening of tastes, talks and tours in the museum’s newest garden space. Flavoring America will look at how herbs and spices from around the world and across the country brought about new flavors and textures in food. The evening will feature a panel discussion and tours of “Common Ground: Our American Garden.”

Each ticket includes two drinks and a plate of garden fresh food.
* Tickets $40 each:;

FOOD in the Garden: Fermentation Nation
Unity Square, Second Floor West Terrace
Thursday, Aug. 17; 6:30 – 9 p.m.

For this installment of FOOD in the Garden the museum will look at the influence of fermentation in American culinary history from beer and wine to pickling and preserving. A panel of experts will discuss how Americans have been using this chemical reaction in food and drink throughout history.

Each ticket includes two drinks and a plate of garden fresh food.
* Tickets $40 each:;

Cooking Up History: Julia Child’s Kitchen Classroom
Friday, Aug. 11; 2 p.m.

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor
For more information, visit:

In August, “Cooking Up History” will celebrate what would have been Julia Child’s 105th birthday with Sur La Table chef Lynne Just as she prepares dishes from Child’s collaborations with master chefs in the 1990s. The program will take a look at the ingredients, techniques and recipes outside of French cuisine that Child encouraged her viewers and cookbook audiences to try.

“Cooking Up History” showcases a guest chef and a Smithsonian host preparing a recipe while discussing its ingredients, culinary techniques and history. After a 45-minute demonstration, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase a dish inspired by the demonstration in the museum’s Stars & Stripes Cafe.

Book Signings

Heading Out: A History of American Camping
Tuesday, Aug. 1; 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Author Terence Young signs copies of “Heading Out: A History of American Camping,” which shows how camping progressed from an impulse among city-dwellers to seek temporary retreat from their exhausting everyday surroundings to a form of recreation so popular that an industry grew up around it.

Daily Programs

The Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square is the program space of the museum’s newly transformed second floor, themed The Nation We Build Together, dedicated to immersive activities and performances that richly illustrate America’s participatory democracy.

American Experiments
Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square, 2 West
Daily; 10:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

“American Experiments,” is a set of new activities designed to playfully engage the public in conversation about American civic life. Visitors will explore four experiments that bring to life the themes of the floor’s signature exhibitions—participation, commitment, negotiation, voting, protest, and pluralism. Each station is designed to engage multiple visitors in a game-like activity that promotes conversation and discussion. Visitors will reflect on this history of the nation we build together and consider their own role in creating the nation of tomorrow.

The Nation We Build Together theater performance
Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square, 2 West
Wednesday–Sunday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Participate in a 30 minute interactive play around the centerpiece of Unity Square, the Greensboro Lunch Counter, that transports audiences back to the civil rights movement and explores the transformative power Americans have to create the nation in which they want to live. Exploring the intersection of race, civic activism and religious inspiration, this program sets the stage for a conversation about how we can shape the future of America.

On Feb. 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at this “whites only” lunch counter at the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and politely asked for service. Their request was refused, and when asked to leave, the students remained in their seats in protest.

Votes for Women
Gateway, 2 West
Tuesday and Friday; 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m.

Meet a costumed interpreter and learn about the fight for the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote.

Flag Folding
Flag Hall, 2 Center
Wednesday–Sunday; 12 p.m.

Take part in folding a true-to-size replica of the Star-Spangled Banner while learning the history of the flag that inspired the national anthem.

Docent Spotlight tours
The Nation We Build Together Wing, 2 West

Daily; times vary

Docents offer a 15-minute overview of an exhibition or briefly discuss a favorite museum object in the museum’s newly transformed wing.  Look for the “Docent on Duty” signs posted outside exhibition entrances.

Smithsonian Sleepovers

Smithsonian Sleepovers at American History
Friday, Aug. 25; 7 p.m.
Presidential Reception Suite, First Floor
Tickets Required: For more information, visit:

This Smithsonian Associates program invites children ages 8 to 12 and their grown-up companions to take part in a night that features tours, games, crafts, a film and more. For more information, call (202) 633-3030. 

About the Museum

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 continuing to renovate its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on democracy, immigration and migration and culture. For more information, visit The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.


# # #