Calendar of Exhibitions and Events: February 2022


February is National Black History Month. For information, resources, events and more, see below and visit our website at


Food History Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
Feb. 1; 1 p.m.
For more information, visit:

Learn to create and add to Wikipedia entries about Black Women in food history in this edit-a-thon. During this training, attendees of all experience levels will learn the basics of how to edit Wikipedia by updating articles related to Black women in food history in the United States.
This event is planned in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative, a multiyear undertaking to document, research, collect, display, and share the history of women in the United States.


"Innovative Lives: Nathaniel Mathis"
Feb. 9; 4 p.m.
For more information, see

The 2022 series of Innovative Lives kicks off during Black History Month with Nathaniel “The Bush Doctor” Mathis, an inventor, barber-stylist and winner of international hairstyling competitions. Mathis popularized Afros and Cornrows, hairstyles that are synonymous with Black identity and empowerment. He also patented several useful tools for barbers, including a specialized apron and utility shelf. This discussion will be moderated by curator Fath Davis Ruffins.


"Who Counts as a Philanthropist? A Conversation About Black Philanthropy"
Feb. 10; 3 p.m.
Virtual, Online via Zoom
Free with online registration:

From Richard Allen, the formerly enslaved founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Madame C.J. Walker, the country’s first female self-made millionaire and noted educator Nannie Helen Burroughs, museum curators and guest historians will introduce and discuss historically overlooked philanthropic contributions of African Americans. Drawing on groundbreaking scholarship by Tanisha C. Ford, Ph.D. and Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Ph.D. in discussion with Curators Amanda B. Moniz, Ph.D., and Modupe Labode, Ph.D., the program will examine the intertwined history of philanthropy, business, and social justice.

Through scholarship, education and outreach, the museum’s new "History of African American Fundraising Collecting Initiative" aims to challenge and change the false perceptions of the African American community as solely recipients of philanthropy. The program will feature a Q&A with the audience.  


"Bakers Against Racism: The Power of Community Activism through Food" 
Guest Chef: Paola Velez
Feb. 22; Virtual demonstration at 6:45 p.m. 
For more information, see

Chef Paola Velez, co-founder of Bakers Against Racism, will share a recipe from her home kitchen that reflects and embodies her identity as an Afro-Latina chef rooted in her family’s Dominican heritage. She will discuss her organizing efforts through Bakers Against Racism, an international movement that swept across social media in 2020, and her belief that no matter how small, every effort counts—including small-scale bake sales—in raising awareness and garnering support to end racism. 

This program is free and registration will open through the Smithsonian Associates website in January.

This program is funded by the American Women's History Initiative. 


"Collected: Black Feminism Re-rooted" Podcast
Feb. 24; Release of Episode 1

 "Collected," is a new podcast from the museum's African American History Curatorial Collective and will launch Feb. 24. Hosted by Curators Krystal Klingenberg and Crystal Moten, the six-episode season will feature interviews with notable Black feminists including Barbara Smith, Brittney Cooper and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. The hosts and guests will break down core Black feminist ideas such as “intersectionality,” “self-care,” and “identity politics." "Collected" will present scholarship and accessible social justice concepts for listeners interested in working towards a more inclusive, equitable society. For details, please visit the museum's website for updates in February. 


"Duke Ellington’s 'Cotton Tail': A Performance by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quintet"
Black History Month Release
More information at

Duke Ellington’s “Cotton Tail” was originally recorded May 4, 1940 and that recording showcases saxophonist Ben Webster’s iconic solo that is still recognized today for its brilliance.  The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quintet pays tribute to Ellington and Webster with this spirited rendition of “Cotton Tail.” Featured musicians: Scott Silbert - Tenor Saxophone, Kenny Rittenhouse - Trumpet, Tony Nalker - Piano, Amy Shook - Acoustic Bass, Ken Kimery - Drums and Executive Producer. Recorded at Blue House Productions on Nov. 11, 2021.

Listen:  “Cotton Tail

"Joe Wilder: The Pretty Sound"
Feb. 24; 7 p.m.

Purchase tickets:

American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and NEA Jazz Master Joseph Benjamin Wilder (1922–2014) left a broad footprint that still resonates in the world of music today. Wilder received accolades for his performances with Count Basie and many other fellow greats. Wilder recorded throughout his career, starting with "Wilder ’n’ Wilder" in 1956 through "Among Friends" in 2003.

Celebrating Wilder’s unique talents during what would be his 100th year, the SJMO’s Small Band performs songs from Wilder’s debut album, his 1959 cult classic "The Pretty Sound of Joe Wilder," and more. This program is produced in partnership with the Smithsonian Associates.


"Becoming Chinese American"
New Perspectives case outside "Girlhood (It's complicated)"
Opens Jan. 19
Second Floor, East 

Chinese American Virginia Lee wore the vest and trousers on display in the early 1900s. Born in the United States but raised in immigrant households, Chinese American girls embodied multiple cultures. They were expected to conform to American culture while maintaining Chinese values. Clothing became an important way for Chinese American girls to navigate cultures and identities. Virginia, a first-generation Chinese American, grew up in New York City. She and her siblings wore Western-style clothing as everyday attire, but on special occasions donned imported clothes like these to showcase their Chinese heritage. The outfit will also be made available as a 3D scan. 


Day of Remembrance - 80th Anniversary of EO 9066
Feb. 19

In observance of the Day of Remembrance—President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066 and subsequent incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans­, the National Museum of American History will host a special conversation. Information will be available at

For objects and stories related to EO9066, visit:


HistoryTime: Elizabeth Keckley 
Week of February 7, 2022

HistoryTime videos are designed for children ages 5-8 and adults in their lives. Each video features an object or object(s) in the museum’s collection as a launching pad for exploring historical concepts that are relevant to young children. The videos are available on YouTube and are also linked to resource collections on the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab platform. Learning Lab collections can inspire lesson plans or help learners explore the videos’ topics further.

Our latest HistoryTime video will launch during the week of February 7, 2022 and will feature the story of dressmaker, businesswoman, and philanthropist, Elizabeth Keckley. We will use Keckley’s story and examples of her work as Mary Todd Lincoln’s modiste.

Videos with a direct link to Black History Month include: Minnijean Brown’s Graduation Dress, Mary McLeod Bethune, Go-Go Music, Leah Chase and Julia Child (food and cooking) and Dominique Dawes and Amy Purdy (the Olympics). You can watch these videos here:


Through incomparable collections, rigorous research, and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History seeks to empower people to create a more just and compassionate future by examining, preserving and sharing the complexity of our past. The museum, located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets, is open Friday-Tuesday. For more information, visit

Media only:
Rebecca Seel