Calendar of Events Fall 2014

August 11, 2014

Editor’s Note: All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.


Featured Events

Raise a Glass to History! Star-Spangled Banner Gala Event
Friday, Sept. 12, 8 p.m.
Flag Hall, Second Floor
* Tickets required
Editor’s Note: This event is open to those 21 years of age and older.

Join the nation’s top mixologists as they showcase their Star-Spangled Banner-inspired cocktails at an event co-hosted by the museum and the Smithsonian Channel. Toast to the flag nearly 200 years after the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that became the national anthem. The event will be emceed by frequent Food Network guest Simon Majumdar and will feature music by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quartet. Learn to make your own cocktails at home, participate in mixology demonstrations, hear from cocktail historian David Wondrich, see objects out of storage and dance the night away. All proceeds support the programmatic and research efforts of the American Food History Project.

* Tickets $200: Fair market value for each ticket is $100. The amount that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the difference between your total contribution minus the fair market value of the benefits provided in exchange for your contribution. For more information, visit:


FOOD in the Garden: Waterways & Foodways: 1814-2014
National Museum of American History
Victory Garden at the corner of 12th Street and Constitution Ave. NW
Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25; 6 – 8 p.m.

This year, the museum is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag and the anthem it inspired. FOOD in the Garden explores four maritime regions where the battles of the War of 1812 were waged and examines the connections between land and water, people and food. These events take place in the Museum’s Victory Garden, created and maintained by Smithsonian Gardens staff who will be on hand at each event for special        demonstrations. The FOOD in the Garden series is made possible through the generous support of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, DuPont Pioneer and Wegmans. Each of the four events are detailed below.

* Tickets $30 each or $100 for the series;
   Each ticket includes two drinks, from Green Hat Gin, of Washington D.C. and Distillery Lane  Ciderworks, of Jefferson, Md., and a plate of historically inspired, garden fresh food.

Sept. 4: Human Impact - The Long Island Sound
In 1812, Long Island Sound was a crossroads of trade and agriculture. Seeds from around the globe were brought to its shores and ships brought goods produced in the region out to the world. The area continues to be renowned for the abundance of goods it produces. From its many farms and wineries to its thriving seafood industry, Long Island Sound has become synonymous with the production of fresh, tasty food and drink. But what has been the human impact on the region in the past 200 years?

Panelists: Cindy Lobel, Professor of History at Lehman College, Bronx, N.Y., and author of “Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York”; Stephanie Villani, co-owner of Blue Moon Fish Co. of Mattituck, N.Y.; and Diana Whitsit of Terry Farms, N.Y. Also: Tastings with Westford Hills Distillers.

Sept. 11: Cultural Connections - The Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay long supported an abundance of oysters, crabs, clams and many species of finfish. These productive waters along with the bay’s extensive network of navigable tributaries shaped the region’s foodways. Through trade, transportation and communication the natural bounties were brought together with new people, foods and flavors from around the globe, particularly Africa, the Caribbean, England and Europe. How did these cultural connections come together in the Chesapeake region and how did they find expression in gardens, landscapes and communities? What was the impact of these dynamic connections on the bay’s marine environment and resources?

Panelists: Mollie Ridout, Director of Horticulture for Historic Annapolis Foundation; Psyche Williams-Forson, Associate Professor of American Studies at University of Maryland, and Denise Breitburg, marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Also: Beer tastings with Flying Dog Brewery, Dr. Ralph E. Eshelman as War of 1812 Commodore Joshua Barney; historic kitchen tools with Pat Reber; demonstrations from Mount Vernon Distillery and Three Little Pigs Charcuterie.

Sept. 18: Exotics and Invasives - The Great Lakes
Once referred to as the Eden of the West, the Great Lakes region included hundreds of miles of untamed wilderness, rolling rivers and dense forest encompassing modern day New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The region was home to the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Iroquois tribes, who valued the waterways as a means of life. How did the introductions of new plant and animal species affect the people who continue to live in the region? Today, this region is the cultural center of the Midwest with more than 32 million people living along the lakes.

Panelists: Jodi Branton, National Museum of American Indian; Rick Finch, interim director of the Glenn Miller Birth Place Museum, Clarinda, Iowa and former site manager of Fort Meigs: Ohio’s War of 1812 Battleground; and Tim Rose, geologist at the National Museum of Natural History and cider maker with Distillery Lane Ciderworks. Also: Tastings with Jenna Hunsberger of Whisked!; demonstrations from Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Three Little Pigs Charcuterie and Smithsonian Gardens.

Sept. 25: Marketplaces - New Orleans
New Orleans has always been a crossroads of people, ideas, and products. What was created out of this dynamic interplay of people and products at this global crossroads of New Orleans? Drawing from abundant natural marine resources, adding diverse foods from around the world through merchants and settlers, the NOLA population created one of the most unique and influential foodscapes in the world.

Panelists: Ashley Young, historian of food markets and street food culture in the 19th century, Durham, N.C.; and David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va. and host of the Travel Channel’s “American Grillers.” Also: Demonstrations by Three Little Pigs Charcuterie and Bayou Bakery; rice cultivation demonstration.


Japanese American Nisei Congressional Gold Medal
On view: Sept. 17, 2014 - Jan. 2015
“Price of Freedom” Exhibition, Third Floor, East Wing

In time for Constitution Day, the museum will display the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service veterans by the U.S. Congress Nov. 2, 2011, in recognition of exceptional service, sacrifice and loyalty to America. The medal will be on view as part of The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibition which surveys the history of the U.S. military from the Colonial era to the present, exploring ways that wars have been defining episodes in American History.


Star-Spangled Summer Music Series
Thursday, Sept. 4 and Thursday, Sept. 11; Performances at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Flag Hall, Second Floor

Explore America’s musical heritage through its composers, songwriters, iconic performers and musical trends as interpreted by live performances of signature music units from the U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings.


Hispanic Heritage Month


A Room of Her Own: My Mother’s Altar, an installation by Sandra Cisneros
Opens Oct. 31, 2014 - Jan. 12, 2015
“American Stories” Exhibition, Second Floor, East Wing

Acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros has created an installation in the tradition of Dia de los Muertos to honor her mother, Elvira Cordero Cisneros. Commenting on this work, Cisneros writes, "My mother never had a room of her own until the last 10 years of her life. She relished her room and often locked the door when the grandkids came so they wouldn't touch and destroy her things. She was a gardener, and loved her flowers. So I have tried to incorporate a garden bedroom in my installation with items from my mother's room and books from her bedside. She had a knack for finding antiques, and putting odd things together."

Celia Cruz Portrait by Robert Weingarten
Ongoing Display
Artifact Walls, Second Floor, West Wing

This portrait of Celia Cruz, which features objects from the museum’s collection, was created as a visual biography by photographer Robert Weingarten as the result of an online competition. The case includes some of Cruz’ stage accessories such as her shoes and wigs as well as other personal items.

Book Signing

“The House on Mango Street” and “Caramelo” by Sandra Cisneros
Friday, Oct. 31; 11 a.m.
Second Floor, East Wing

Award-winning author Sandra Cisneros signs copies of her books outside the “American Stories” exhibition where her installation, “A Room of Her Own,” will be displayed.


Fifty Years of American Winemaking
Wednesday, Oct. 29; 2 p.m.
National Museum of American History
RSVP Required: Free, reserve seat by emailing

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, the museum is bringing together vintners and members of winemaking families who established their wineries in the early 1960s. All five families are successful producers of wine and all have distinctive histories and stories to tell. The public is invited to sit in on a conversation with several winemakers that will be recorded for the museum’s “American Food and Wine History Oral History” archives.

Participating winemakers include Robert M. Cook (Chalone Vineyard, Soledad, California); Fred Frank (Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, Hammondsport, New York); Jason Lett (The Eyrie Vineyards, Dundee, Oregon); Kathleen Heitz Myers (Heitz Wine Cellars, Napa, California); and Jeffrey Patterson (Mount Eden Vineyards, Saratoga, California)


Smithsonian Chamber Music Society:
The Axelrod Quartet: Stradivarius and Amati
Saturday, Oct. 11, Sunday, Oct. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater
For ticket information, visit:

The Axelrod Quartet, featuring Marc Destrubé (violin), Marilyn McDonald (violin), James Dunham (viola) and

Kenneth Slowik (violoncello), presents Haydn: Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4, Sunrise; Beethoven: Quartetto Serioso in F Minor, Op. 95; and Mozart: Quartet in G Major, K387 performed on two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati. One hour prior to the concert, artistic director Kenneth Slowik presents a pre-concert lecture, to discuss the lives and times of the featured composers and their music.



The Masterworks Series: Works of J.S. and C.P.E. Bach
Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23; at 7:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History
For ticket information, visit:

Robert Mealy (violin) joins Kenneth Slowik (harpsichord and fortepiano) to present Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonatas in E Major, BWV 1016 and A Major, BWV 1015; Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: CPE Bach's Empfindungen. Artistic director Kenneth Slowik presents a pre-concert lecture, at 6:30 p.m.


Featured Event

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7
National Museum of American History

Get in the holiday spirit with free festive musical performances, book signings, crafts and more. Complimentary gift-wrapping will be available at the National Museum of American History and special Smithsonian shuttles will be on hand to transport visitors around the Mall.


The Masterworks Series: Haydn and Lidl: Baryton Trios
Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7; at 7:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History
For ticket information, visit:

The Esterházy Machine, Sandra Miller (flauto traverse), Steven Dann (viola), Myron Lutzke (violoncello) and Kenneth Slowik, (baryton and fortepiano), present trios featuring the flute and the baryton by Joseph Haydn and Andreas Lidl.

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Suite Ellington: Nutcracker Suite and the Queen
s Suite
Saturday, Dec. 6; 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Location: The Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St., N.W.
Tickets Required: $25; visit

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra continues its tradition of performing the Duke Ellington and Bill Strayhorn jazz adaptation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” first recorded in 1960. The orchestra will then perform the “Queen’s Suite” written by Ellington for Queen Elizabeth II who was presented with a single pressing of the recording which was not commercially issued during Ellington’s lifetime.

About the Museum

The National Museum of American History explores the richness and complexity of American history through its collections and research. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th Street,  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