Calendar of Events - October 2014

September 22, 2014

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

Featured Events

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 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.


Discussion with Sandra Cisneros
Saturday, Nov. 1; 2 p.m.
Rasmuson Theater, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Sandra Cisneros discusses the tradition of Day of the Dead in her life and community as well as her installation “A Room of Her Own,” on view in the “American Stories” exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Cisneros will also sign books following the presentation.


Harvest of Empire
(2012, 90 min., dir. by Peter Getzels and Eduardo Lopez)
Wednesday, Oct. 8; 6:30 - 9 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater
Doors open at 6 p.m.; first come, first seated

Based on the book by journalist Juan Gonzalez, the documentary Harvest of Empire examines political events, social conditions and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latino families to leave their homelands in an unprecedented wave of migration over the past six decades. Co-hosted by the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Latino Center, the program will include a panel discussion and audience Q&A. Panelists include the film’s co-director Eduardo Lopez, political science professor Maria de los Angeles Torres (University of Illinois, Chicago) and museum curator (Margaret Salazar).

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.

Panel Discussion

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 the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, 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 and Sunday, Oct. 12; talk at 6:30 p.m. and concert at 7:30 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater, National Museum of American History
For ticket information, visit:

Marc Destrubé, violin                                                          Marilyn McDonald, violin
James Dunham, viola                                                          Kenneth Slowik, violoncello

To celebrate their return to the new Hall of Music during the course of the season, the Axelrod Quartet has chosen to go back to the roots of the quartet, and present three programs of Viennese works. Each concert will begin with one of Joseph Haydn's Op. 76 quartets, followed by one of the six quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn. The works chosen for the after-intermission slots reflect some of the many ways in which later-19th-century composers expanded on the broad and solid foundations established by Haydn and Mozart. The October concerts offer the pithiest of Beethoven's sixteen quartets, the self-consciously introspective Quartetto serioso.

Book Signings

Everybodys Cookiesby Sissy Cutchen
Saturday, Oct. 25; 1 - 3 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Folk artist Sissy Cutchen signs copies of her book, “Everybody’s Cookies,” which features a selection of her paintings centered on the themes of food, furniture, fish and fowl.

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.