Calendar of Events: November 2017

October 31, 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:

Now on View
Melania Trump’s Inaugural Gown
On view Oct. 20 - indefinite
The First Ladies Exhibition
Third Floor, Center
Beginning Oct. 20, First Lady Melania Trump’s inaugural gown worn to the January 2017 inaugural balls will go on display. The vanilla silk crepe off-the-shoulder gown with a slit skirt, ruffled accent trim and claret ribbon around the waist was designed by Hervé Pierre in collaboration with Mrs. Trump. The gown will replace Martha Washington’s dress that was on temporary view.
The First Ladies exhibition explores the unofficial but important position of first lady and the ways that different women have shaped the role to make their own contributions to the presidential administrations and the nation. It features more than two dozen gowns, including those worn by Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy and Laura Bush.
Opening Displays
Children’s Television
Opens Nov. 20
First Floor, East
This showcase display presents artifacts ranging from the early days of children’s television to more contemporary programming. Objects on display will include Mister Rogers’ sweater, Lonnie Burr’s Mickey Mouse Club ears, Bill Nye’s lab coat and bow tie and several of the museum’s collection of Muppets from Sesame Street. This display is part of the museum’s Holiday Festival programming.
1,000 Watches
Opens Nov. 20
Second Floor, East
To mark a moment in time when one technology seems to be overtaking another, Boston architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn created “The Thousand Watch Project” in 2008, putting out a worldwide call for donors to send in their discarded timepieces. This display shows a sample of watches at the collection, each accompanied by a 10-word “epitaph” describing what each watch meant to its owner.
Featured Events
What it Means to be American: Has America Ever Been Good at Teaching Civics?
Tuesday, Nov. 14; 6:30 p.m.
Unity Square, Second Floor, West
Free registration required:
Academy Award-winning actor and Dreyfuss Civics Initiative founder Richard Dreyfuss and Republican political strategist Frank Luntz discuss whether Americans’ civic knowledge can catch up with our civic duties in this “What it Means to be American” program.
The United States demands much of its citizens—to understand enough of the history and structure of American government so that they can understand difficult issues, discuss their differing opinions with civility, and participate in their own government. Dreyfuss and Luntz will discuss questions such as how good has the country been at developing the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions a self-governing people need?
Cooking Up History: Cod and New England Coastal Cuisine
Saturday, Nov. 18; 1 p.m.
Walter H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West
For more information, visit:
New Bedford, Mass. native, D.C. chef and proprietor of the eponymous “Ris” restaurant Ris Lacoste will cook a cod recipe and discuss how codfishing historically drove the regional economy and how salt cod exports influenced cuisine past and present, both around the world and at New England tables. A food historian will share new research about one enslaved man’s history on the working waterfront in 18th century Massachusetts from the museum’s exhibit “Within These Walls.”
Family Fun - A Celebration of Sesame Street
Thursday, Nov. 30; 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
First Floor, West
The innovative contributions of Sesame Street to American culture and children’s television will be featured through a Sesame Street-themed program and activities for families with young children in this event, part of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival. There will be stories, crafts and an opportunity to see some of the Muppets in the Museum’s collection.
Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
The museum will explore the holiday spirit with musical performances, cooking demonstrations, holiday decorations and more. Holiday movies and TV shows will screen throughout the day in the Warner Bros. Theater. Among the events over the weekend are:
U.S. Air Force Band Performances
Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3; Noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Flag Hall, Second Floor, Center
Mars Heritage Chocolate “From Bean to Bar” Program
Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3
Third Floor, West
“Cooking Up History: Caribbean Holiday Traditions” with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Saturday, Dec. 2; 1 p.m.
Walter H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen
First Floor, West
“Sounds of Faith” Musical Performances
Sunday, Dec. 3; 3 p.m.
Walter H. Coulter Performance Plaza Stage
First Floor, West
Complimentary gift-wrapping of holiday merchandise will be available at the Main Store and holiday treats will be available for purchase in the Stars & Stripes Cafe.
Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
The Axelrod String Quartet
Saturday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 12; 7:30 p.m.
Pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Ticket purchase required:
Hall of Music, Third Floor, West
Marc Destrubé (violin), Marilyn McDonald (violin), James Dunham (viola) and Kenneth Slowick (violoncello) — presents Haydn: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2 “The Joke” (1781), Brahms: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1 (1873) and Mozart: Quintet in C Major, K. 515 (1787).

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. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information and to check extended hours, visit us online at For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
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