Calendar of Events - September 2016

September 2016 including Hispanic Heritage Month Programs
September 1, 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. For a complete schedule of activities check:

Opening Displays

Celebration: Snapshots of African American Communities
Lower Level
Sept. 9, 2016 – Dec. 2016

To commemorate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the museum presents a special display of 25 photographs that reflect the diversity of the African American experience. The photos come from two collections in the Museum’s Archives Center that depict special occasions and everyday life in African American communities: the Scurlock Studio Collection and the Fournet Drug Store.

The Washington, D.C., based Scurlock Studio Collection includes the work of Addison Scurlock and his sons, Robert and George, who documented not only graduations and weddings but also significant community events over a period of 90 years. The family-owned Fournet Drug Store in St. Martinsville, La. was a multi-generation business with an African American clientele that closed in 1984. The collection includes photos from the 1940s-1970s, mostly black-and-white and some hand colored, that were never retrieved by customers.

Always Ready: Firefighting in the 19th Century
Artifact Walls
First Floor, Center
Sept. 16 - TBD

Prior to the Civil War, American firefighting was the story of citizen volunteers drawn from their communities to protect their neighbors from the ever-present threat of fire. Firefighters were feted as heroic models of republican, and manly virtue but they volunteered for practical reasons as well, such as financial benefits, or the shared bonds of fraternalism that extended long after the introduction of paid fire departments in major American cities.

Black Main Street: Funding Civil Rights in Jim Crow America
New Perspectives Case within American Enterprise
First Floor, West Wing
Sept. 16 – Feb. 2017

This “New Perspectives” case in the museum’s business history exhibition examines the ways in which African American businesses, both large and small, contributed to the civil rights movement; specifically Harold Cotton who owned and operated Bob’s Hat Shop in Greensboro, N.C., from 1953 to 2005 and Marjorie Stewart Joyner who supervised the training of thousands of African American beauticians as vice president of the Madam C. J. Walker Company. Objects on display include a National Cash Register from Cotton’s shop and beautician’s styling tools. “Black Main Street,” will commemorate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Mending Broken Hearts
Artifact Wall, First Floor
Sept. 23
March 2017

The history of medical avancement in American has been one of trial and risk. Artificial heart valves were the first successful mechanical replacement of an organ in a human. Today, heart valve operations are routine, but developing a mechanical heart valve involved years of experimentation. This display will highlight the succession of several styles of artifical heart valves that have improved to become more effective over the years.

Featured Events

September 11: Reflections from the Smithsonian
Sunday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

To observe the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the museum will display 35 objects from New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, including airplane fragments, a World Trade Center stairwell sign and a Pentagon clock that stopped upon impact. Visitors can meet Robin Murphy, the inventor of a rescue robot used at Ground Zero and see a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s award-winning documentary, “9/11: Stories in Fragments,” based on the museum collections and featuring the perspectives of victims, witnesses, ordinary people and heroes from that fateful day.

Closing Displays

Science Under Glass
Closes Sept. 19, 2016
History Highlights Case, First Floor

The unique properties of glass - transparency, heat resistance, non-reactivity and malleability -- make it an essential material in the laboratory. A selection from the museum’s collection of more than 1,000 scientific glassware pieces, from the 1770s to the 1970s, reveals the underlying story of the eventual development of the domestic glass industry and laboratory science in America.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Ask A Farmer
Friday, Sept. 16; Noon - 1 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

This September the museum will host a group of Latino farmers who will share their stories and discuss what motivates them, what challenges them and how they are innovating American agriculture.

Ofrenda para Antonio Lomas, an installation by Carmen Lomas Garza
Sept. 17 - Jan. 13, 2017
American Stories Exhibition, Second Floor, East Wing

Acclaimed Mexican American visual artist Carmen Lomas Garza has created an installation in the tradition of Dia de los Muertos to honor her grandfather, Antonio Lomas, who migrated from Mexico to Texas in 1920 to work on the railroad. He built a Victory Garden after his service in the Korean War and Lomas Garza used the garden theme to create this ofrenda which includes an iron cut-out depicting the elder Lomas tending to plants.

Latinidad: Looking into Latina Women’s American Experiences
Hispanic Heritage Month Festival
Saturday, Sept. 17; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

History becomes Herstory in a festival celebrating the participation and contributions of Afro-Latina and Latina women to American history. Visitors may see D.C.-based DJs, Maracuyeah, participate in mural painting with a local muralist, engage in conversation with Puerto Rican nanotechnology scientist, Yajaira Sierra-Sastre and see objects out of storage.

  • 11:20 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Hip Hop performance
    New York based hip hop dancer and choreographer, Ana “Rockafella” Garcia performs.
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Black Latina performance followed by a discussion
    Crystal Roman, founder of The Black Latina Movement, will perform a one-woman version of her play, Black Latina, which explores the harmony of African and Latino cultures. A discussion with Roman follows.
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Food demonstration and book signing
    This month’s Cooking Up History program features guest chef Ana Sofia Pelaez. The author of the book “The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History” will demonstrate a recipe and discuss the history and traditions behind the ingredients and culinary techniques. “The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History,” will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow.
  • 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Slam poetry
    D.C. based slam poet, Elizabeth Acevedo, will conclude the festival with a spoken word performance focusing on the Afro-Latina experience.

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.

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