Calendar of Events July 2017

July 7, 2017

Editor’s Note: All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The museum will operate extended hours for a limited number of days in July including the 4th, staying open until 7:30 p.m. For the most current information; visit

New Displays

“Work Incentives”
New Perspectives Case in “American Enterprise” exhibition
July 20 – Jan. 15, 2018
First Floor, West Wing

The “New Perspectives” case in the museum’s business history exhibition examines how managers created innovative ways to shape their employees work ethic with various incentives and techniques. Owners and managers looked to encourage employees to work faster, longer and safer, while working to prevent employees from joining labor unions. Key objects on display are a selection of work incentive posters including a 1920s era poster that asks, “Are you afraid of criticism?” from Chicago-based Charles Mather and Company, one of the first companies dedicated exclusively to the production of work incentive posters; a work apron worn by Home Depot “kitchen designer” Marty Greco and decorated with his collection of corporate accoutrements; Denise Kucharskis’s “Queen of Sales” Mary Kay Cosmetics diamond encrusted pin and a share of stock from E-Trade founder Bill Porter.

Featured Events

“America Now: JFK @ 100”
The museum will present two programs related to the centennial of President John F. Kennedy’s birth.

“America Now” From Jazz to Go-Go: The Sounds of Community Change
Saturday, July 1; 1–4 p.m. 
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, First Floor West

The museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation will host a discussion and performances exploring the D.C. community origins of go-go through a common history of jazz. See performances by local go-go band legends Kenny Lattimore and Team Familiar. Participate in a panel discussion featuring Jay Bruder from WAMU and Tom Porter, former program director at WPFW. The discussion will include jazz during the Kennedy-era and civil rights period and focus on D.C.’s early music history which led to the invention of go-go music.

“America Now: JFK Centennial”
This is a ticketed and a 21+ event.
Saturday, July 1; 7–11 p.m.

The Kennedy era’s impact on today will be explored through lightning talks, 1960s-themed food and drink, objects-out-of-storage at the museum’s “We the Party People: JFK Centennial,” an after-hours event presented with Brightest Young Things. This non-partisan celebration will explore how Americans have participated in their democracy. For more information on this ticketed and 21+ event, visit


Star-Spangled American Music Series
July 6; 12:30 p.m.; Flag Hall
July 20 and 27; 12:30 p.m.; Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

The Star-Spangled American Music Series highlights classic music styles, including chamber music, popular music, Celtic, bluegrass, blues, vocal music and jazz as interpreted through live performances of signature music units from the U.S. Air Force Band, the U.S. Navy Band, the U.S. Army Band and the U.S. Marine Corps Band. 

July 6               U. S. Air Force Strolling Strings
July 20             U. S. Navy Country Current
July 27             U. S. Marine Corps

Smithsonian Gardens

“Common Ground, Our American Garden” Tours
Thursdays, July 6, 13, 20, 27; 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

Cooking Up History: Exploring Cajun and Creole Food Traditions
Friday, July 21; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Demonstration Kitchen

Louisiana native and chef David Guas of Arlington’s Bayou Bakery will discuss the origins of the Louisiana Territories to explore how Cajun and Creole culinary traditions emerged from a combination of French, French-Acadian and Spanish settlers, native peoples, migrants from the Caribbean and enslaved Africans. Following the demonstration Guas will sign copies of his Southern baking book, “Dam Good Sweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style.”

Book Signings

An American Family in World War II
Saturday, July 1; Noon – 5 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Author Sandra O’Connell signs copies of “An American Family in World War II,” which uses the correspondence between Ralph Lee Minker Jr., a U.S. Army Airman in 1943, and his parents and two teenage sisters to tell their personal story of life in America during World War II. 


From Bean to Bar: Chocolate Demonstration
July 1 and 2; 10 a.m. 3 p.m.
Third Floor, West Wing

Experience chocolate as the early colonists did with demonstrations of American Heritage Chocolate. The chocolate is fashioned from recipes made in 1750 and uses a sprinkling of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange and red pepper.

Trunk Show

Underground Movement Clothing
Veteran-owned apparel company
First Floor, Outside Main Store
July 1; 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The Underground Movement (TUM) offers apparel inspired by our past heroes and historical events. TUM co-founder Jason R. Beardsley, a Green Beret and Special Operations Forces veteran, has created a brand that celebrates rugged individualism with unique graphic designs on custom T-shirts and other wearable pieces.

Daily Programs

Under the theme of The Nation We Build Together, the National Museum of American History will open the newly transformed wing of the museum’s second floor. The Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square is the floor’s new program space 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; 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 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.

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 opened wing.  Look for the “Docent on Duty” signs posted outside exhibition entrances.


March on Washington Film Festival

Readers, Writers & Books with the March on Washington Film Festival
July 18, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

The museum presents an afternoon devoted to artists, authors and poets whose work honors and informs civil rights and social justice. The program includes panel discussions on graphic novels and comics as well as spoken word and poetry, with book sales and signings available all day. Co-hosted with the March on Washington Film Festival.

Cooking Demonstration: Crops, Culture and Lowcountry Cuisine with Michael Twitty and Glenn Roberts
July 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Demonstration Kitchen

How has food connected people across time and space from Africa to the Caribbean to the American South? How do dishes reveal the culture, climate, and history of a place and its people? Glenn Roberts, founder of Anson Mills, will explore the history and preservation of heirloom grains, especially rice. A cooking demonstration from culinary historian Michael Twitty will focus on the preparation of dishes from geographic areas in which rice is staple grain. Co-hosted with the March on Washington Film Festival.

Smithsonian Sleepovers

Smithsonian Sleepovers at American History
Friday, July 7; 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.

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