Calendar of Events: May - June 2015

Editor’s Note: All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The museum will operate extended hours during May and June, staying open until 7:30 p.m. on those days. Exceptions apply; visit

Exhibition Opening

Through the African American Lens
May 8, 2015 – TBD
NMAAHC Gallery at the National Museum of American History

“Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection” serves as a view into the dynamic history of Americans of African descent. The exhibition showcases the personal and intimate narratives of various families, organizations and individuals spanning the Revolutionary era to the present. It also offers an overall introduction to the new museum and a preview of its rich collection.

This exhibition is presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and on display at the National Museum of American History.

Display Closing

Lincolns Carriage
Closes May 31, 2015
First Floor, Center

A special display of the carriage that transported the President, Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865; on loan from the Studebaker National Museum.

The open barouche model carriage was built by Wood Brothers in 1864 and was presented to Lincoln by a group of New York merchants shortly before the president’s second inauguration. Clement Studebaker bought the vehicle from F. B. Brewer of New York, who had acquired it from Robert Lincoln, the president’s son, who sold it shortly after his father's assassination.

The carriage is on view in conjunction with Ford’s Theater’s hallmark exhibition “Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination,” displaying a collection of items that were in the Theatre or carried by Abraham Lincoln the night of his assassination.


Historically Informed Performance in American Higher Education

Friday, May 8; 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 9; 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 10; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Presidential Reception Suite, First Floor

This three day symposium presented by the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and led by the Society’s artistic director, Kenneth Slowik, explores several topics relevant to historically informed performance practices to collegiate and graduate students in the United States including teaching, performance and recording. Papers and round table conversations will feature notable experts in the field, including Benjamin Bagby, Malcolm Bilson, Thomas Forrest Kelly, Susan Hellauer, David Stull, and Heidi Waleson.

Musical highlights of the symposium will be concerts on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m., with performances by more than forty undergraduate and graduate students from the Juilliard School, the Peabody Institute, the Oberlin College Conservatory, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and other institutions, presenting a wide variety of works, from medieval chansons to Haydn string quartets, plus a French baroque chamber opera.

As a special prelude to the conference, Benjamin Bagby will present his recitation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf on Thursday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, however registration is required. Please contact Jane Woodall at The symposium will also be webcast live on the National Museum of American History website. More information on the symposium schedule and participating speakers can be found here:

Food Programming

American History (After Hours): Sushi for Sale
May 13, 2015 6 – 8:30pm,
Warner Bros. Theater

How did a Japanese delicacy become an American favorite? Join us on May 13th as we explore sushi’s status as an American staple with Kaz Okochi, DC’s award-winning sushi chef and owner of Kaz Sushi Bistro, Bonny Wolf of American Food Roots, and other historians and researchers. Start the evening with our panel of sushi experts and then join us for an interactive reception with sushi-making demonstrations, sake tasting and lessons, an expansive soy sauce sampling, green tea, delicious food, collections objects on display, and more! A new twist on happy hour, American History (After Hours) is an innovative food history series that combines interactive learning with food, drink and dynamic conversation. Tickets are $40 per person.


Masterworks of Four Centuries
Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17; at 7:30 p.m.; pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
National Museum of American History
For ticket information, visit:

English Music from Shakespeare’s Time
Christopher Krueger, Renaissance flute; Kenneth Slowik, treble viol; Catherine Slowik, bass viol; Lucas Harris, lute; David Walker, cittern; Daniel Swenberg, bandora.

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Saturday, June 13 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History
For ticket information, visit:

The Big-Band Pioneers
When jazz players moved from the streets of New Orleans to larger, orchestrated ensembles, a new period of music began: the Big-Band Swing era. Rooted in the early years of the Depression, the sounds of the big bands provided a welcome source of entertainment and escape for America and the world, and for a decade defined the popular music of the day.

Among the earliest pioneers of the style were Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Bennie Moten, and Charlie Barnet, and this SJMO concert pays homage to them and other band leaders, musicians, and composers who created an exciting art form capable of limitless dynamic and expressive qualities.

Featured Events

Smithsonian Sleepovers at American History
Saturday, May 30; 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. 

Naturalization and Medal Ceremony with Sebastian Thrun
Thursday, June 11; 11:30 a.m.
Flag Hall

The Smithsonian will present CEO and founder of Udacity Sebastian Thrun with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal during a naturalization ceremony welcoming 15 new Americans. The medal recognizes Thrun’s achievements in business through invention and innovation and commitment to education. Prior to Udacity Thrun founded Google X and launched projects such as the Google Self Driving Car and Google Glass.

The Internet Age: Founders to Future
Thursday, June 11; 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater

The National Museum of American History and The Internet Society have partnered together to organize this global innovation summit which will examine the people and events that led to the creation of the Internet. Prominent contributors to the rich history of the Internet, such as Vint Cerf and Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, will conduct a conversation about the diverse elements that contributed to the creation of innovations and inventions that led to the Internet Age. The summit will also be available via webcast at:

American Now Festival
Thursday, June 11; 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Flag Hall

Music is an essential aspect of American culture and is deeply connected to place and time. These two factors influence sounds and techniques that are truly unique and inventive. The Museum will highlight several innovative forms of music that are distinctly American during an afternoon concert. The festival will also include interviews with musicians and hands-on activities connected to our new “Places of Invention” exhibition opening this summer.

Book Signings

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Wednesday, May 6; 10 – 11 a.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli will sign copies of their book that takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. “Becoming Steve Jobs” answers the question: How did a young man so reckless and arrogant that he was exiled from the company he founded become the most effective visionary business leader of our time?

Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman
Tuesday, May 12; Noon – 4 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Jackie Boor signs copies of her book, “Logan: The Honorable Life & Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman,” which tells the story of Sheriff Thomas Logan whose 1906 death outside the Jewel, a house of ill-fame, sent shockwaves through Nevada. This account of the popular lawman includes many famous characters – all of whom were part of the Wild West’s reluctant surrender to the 20th century.

Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork
Friday, May 15; 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
FOOD exhibition, First Floor

Food writer, journalist, and TV personality Simon Majumdar, best known for his frequent appearances on The Food Network, signs his new book Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork. The book catalogues his journey to American citizenship through his extraordinary food experiences around the United States.

The First Smithsonian Collection: The European Engravings of George Perkins Marsh and the Role of the Prints in the U.S. National Museum
Friday, May 15; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 16; 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Author and Smithsonian curator Helena Wright will sign copies of her book, “The First Smithsonian Collection” in which she explores how the Marsh Collection, acquired by the new Smithsonian Institution in 1849, influenced the development of America’s cultural identity. 

Gay is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Pioneer Franklin Kameny
Tuesday, May 19; 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Michael G. Long will sign copies of his book, “Gay is Good: The Life and Letters of Gay Rights Activist Franklin Kameny,” which collects approximately 150 historically rich letters from 1958 to 1975, a critical period in Kameny’s life during which he became one of the most significant figures in the gay rights movement.

Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel
Saturday, May 23; 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Author David Stinson signs copies of “Deadball, A Metaphysical Baseball Novel,” which tells the story of a former minor-league baseball player’s visions into baseball’s golden era and suspicions of an unseen world.

A Sweet World of White House Desserts: From Blown-Sugar Baskets to Gingerbread Houses, a Pastry Chef Remembers
Saturday, June 13; 1 – 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 27; 1 - 3:00 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Ronald Mesnier, signs copies of “A Sweet World of White House Desserts: From Blown-Sugar Baskets to Gingerbread Houses, a Pastry Chef Remembers,” which recalls the stunning desserts he created for White House State Dinners, formal events, and family celebrations, as pastry chef to five presidents.

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.

Media only:

Amelia Avalos  
(202) 633-3129