Calendar of Exhibitions and Events: August 2021

August 2021


Visiting the museum:

Information on reopening, hours and to reserve free passes is available at Please continue to check our website for updated visitor information including hours of operation.

Please note: All visitors, including members of the news media, photographers and film crews, need a pass.

Things to know:

Food: The Leroy Neiman Jazz Café is now open for light fare, beverages and sweets. Limited capacity.

Bottled water is allowed in the museum. We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle for fountains.

Closed: Draper Spark!Lab and Wegmans Wonderplace.

Stores: Open from noon to 5:30 p.m.


"Upending 1620: Where Do We Begin?"
Opens Aug. 6; Closes July 2022
Second Floor, Center

“Upending 1620: Where Do We Begin?” is a display that examines the early encounters between Wampanoag peoples and English colonists, and the important legacies of those encounters over the next 400 years. Those initial meetings became the subject of powerful yet changing myths, when later Americans reimagined the English Pilgrims as “founders” of the U.S. nation. Exploring the evidence that upends these highlights Wampanoag experience and persistence through the centuries, and invites a fuller understanding of the colonists’ views and motivations as well. Audiences will be able to look at the origins and evolution of Thanksgiving and the emergence of the National Day of Mourning, a protest first organized in 1970 as a reminder of the genocide of Native peoples. Objects on display include fragments of Plymouth Rock, a family chest used by a member of the Mayflower party, a 1998 Day of Mourning protest banner, a Wampanoag wood splint burden basket, and a handmade Narragansett drum.


Emmet Till: River Site Historical Marker
Opens Sept. 3; Closes Oct. 5
Flag Hall, Second Floor, Center

During a visit to see his great uncle in Mississippi, 14-year-old Emmett Till, of Chicago, was brutally lynched Aug. 28,1955. When his mutilated body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River, his mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago. Starting in 2008, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission erected nine historical markers to remember Till, but the signs have been stolen, riddled with bullets, or thrown in the river. This monthlong display of the defaced historical marker preserves the memory of Emmett Till while demonstrating the contested nature of racism’s violent legacy in America. The 317 bullet punctures further serve as a reminder that the racism that caused Till’s death still exists today and that his murderers were never truly brought to justice.



Stories of Black Philanthropy: Treasures from the National Museum of American History
Aug. 12, 3 p.m. EST
Virtual program
Free with online registration:

In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, this program takes audiences behind-the-scenes to learn what curators and interns are discovering in the collections. From the “pancaked” ballet shoes worn by Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater prima ballerina and Project Plié mentor to dancers of color to the story of famed African American educator Nannie Helen Burroughs told through an early 20th century donor list for the National Training School for Women and Girls she founded, the program will present these and other objects to tell the long, complex history of Black giving.

Since the nation’s beginning, African Americans have been philanthropists, supporting local communities, advocating for social justice; mobilizing resources of time, talent and testimony to raise funds and working to shape American fundraising practices while facing hostility towards independent Black institution-building as well as systemic racism, resulting in constraints on wealth accumulation.


Cooking Up History: Lena Richard’s New Orleans Cook Book: A Groundbreaking Story of Innovation and Resilience
Guest Chef: Dee Lavigne
Aug. 5; 6:45 p.m.
Virtual demonstration
Tickets available for purchase here:

Lena Richard, a Black chef and entrepreneur in New Orleans, built a culinary career in the segregated South, defying harmful stereotypes of Black women that hindered their participation in the creation and development of American food culture and its economy. She owned and operated catering businesses, eateries, a fine-dining restaurant, a cooking school, and an international frozen-food business. Her 1940 New Orleans Cook Book is the first Creole cookbook written by a Black author in a time when racial stereotypes permeated the food industry. Guest chef and New Orleanian Dee Lavigne prepares a classic Creole dish and recounts Richard’s story, which is currently featured in the case “The Only One in the Room: Women Achievers in Business and the Cost of Success,” in the American History Museum’s exhibition American Enterprise.

This program is hosted in collaboration with the Southern Food and Beverage Museum where Lavigne is the Director of Culinary Programming.

Media only:
Rebecca Seel