Calendar of Events - June 2016

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. The museum will operate extended hours, staying open until 7:30 p.m. Exceptions apply; visit

New Display

Cyrus Field and the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable
June 30 – Nov. 30
Archives Center
Innovation Wing, First Floor

In the mid-19th century, the world suddenly became smaller when an underwater telegraph cable joined two nations divided by the sea, Ireland and Newfoundland, Canada. Using Archives Center collection materials, this display commemorates American businessman and financier Cyrus Field’s accomplishment in laying the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable in July 1866.  

Featured Events

Make48 DC
Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12; 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza and Draper Spark!Lab, First Floor West

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Make48 will host a 48-hour invention challenge, where invited teams are tasked with inventing a new product to address sustainable hardware issues. Visitors will get a sneak peek into the invention process through opportunities to watch 3D printing in action; hear from the inventors about their backgrounds, process and workspaces; and have the chance to test out in-progress inventions. 

“America Now” Naturalization Ceremony
Tuesday, June 14; 11 a.m. – Noon
Flag Hall

On Flag Day, June 14, the museum will host a naturalization ceremony in front of the Star-Spangled Banner gallery to mark how America’s democracy is strengthened by the diversity and community of its citizenry. During the ceremony, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton will present the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal to an American who embodies values based on the diffusion of knowledge. 

“America Now” Go-Go and Hip-Hop: Community Innovations
Saturday, June 18; 1–4 p.m. 
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, First Floor West
Team Familiar! performs; 1 – 2 p.m. and 3 – 4 p.m.
Panel discussion; 2 – 3 p.m.

Visitors can join the museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation for a discussion and performances celebrating go-go and hip-hop music, which developed in Washington, D.C., and New York around the 1970s and out of similar socioeconomic circumstances. Team Familiar! Performs and a panel discussion will feature Biz Markie, Donnell Floyd, D-Nice and Charles Stephenson, Jr.

“America Now: We the Party People”
This is a ticketed and a 21+ event.
Saturday, June 18; 7–11 p.m.

Inspired by the passionate political participation of 19th-century American youth, the museum will convene “We the Party People,” an after-hours event presented with Brightest Young Things. This non-partisan celebration will explore how Americans have participated in their democracy with lightening talks, political history objects-out-of-storage and much more. For more information on this ticketed and 21+ event, visit


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: A New Sound in Jazz: The Incredible Jimmy Smith
Saturday, June 11; Doors open at 6:45 p.m., Concert starts at 7:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, First Floor West
Tickets Required:
Food and drink available for purchase

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and special guest Charles Covington present the music of Jimmy Smith (1925-2005). A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, Smith’s chosen instrument, a Hammond B3 organ, was rarely if ever used in early jazz, but through his unparalleled work and talent, he single-handedly popularized the instrument and its unique sound. 

Star-Spangled American Music Series
Thursday, June 16, 23, 30; Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

June 16 and 23 in Flag Hall; June 30 in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

The Star-Spangled American Music Series highlights America’s musical heritage, through its composers, songwriters, iconic performers, and musical trends 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. 

June 16            U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings         
June 23            U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings
June 30            U.S. Marine Corps

Food History

Cooking Up History: Political Barbeques
Friday, June 17; 2 p.m.

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

“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.

Objects Out of Storage

Places of Invention: Medical Alley
Wednesday, June 1; Noon – 1 p.m.
Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation, First Floor

The first hospital in the United States devoted to heart patients opened in 1951. The Variety Club Heart Hospital, part of the University of Minnesota, soon became known as Medical Alley and recognized for its collaboration among doctors, clinical researchers and engineers. Breakthrough inventions developed at the hospital included the external transistorized pacemaker. Curators will show off objects from the national collections not ordinarily on display that relate to Medical Alley and medical innovation.

Smithsonian Sleepovers

Smithsonian Sleepovers at American History
Friday, June 24; 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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Media only:

Amelia Avalos    
(202) 633-3129