Calendar of Exhibitions and Events: May 2023

April 4, 2023


HIGHLIGHT: 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the official ending of the Vietnam War, the Smithsonian will participate in the Washington, D.C. commemoration May 11-13 on the National Mall. The museum’s “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibition provides a look at various aspects of the war, from television news coverage to the Prisoner of War experience. The Vietnam section centers on a UH-1H Huey Helicopter deployed in Vietnam in 1966.

New Acquisition Cases: Anna May Wong and Chloe Kim
Third Floor West
Opens May 15 – Dec. 15, 2023

Anna May Wong
Groundbreaking Chinese American film star Anna May Wong (1905–1961) fought the anti-Asian prejudice that limited her opportunities in Hollywood by using her stylish, modern allure and acting skills. She persevered, becoming a star and style icon of her era. Wong used this makeup box, cigarette case and calling card to fashion her image and has endured as a global icon for the ages.

Chloe Kim
Second-generation Korean American snowboarder Chloe Kim wore this outerwear when she won her second Olympic gold medal in the halfpipe event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. At 17, Kim had become the youngest female gold medalist in snowboarding at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, following a string of six X Games gold medals. Kim is the first—and currently the only—female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s for a perfect 100 points. Off the slopes, Kim serves as a role model for Asian American athletes.

For Kids: Wegman’s Wonderplace 
Expanded Hours

The museum’s popular hands-on space that welcomes curious kids ages six and under will expand its public hours to Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wonderplace is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The museum is not able to accept reservations and does use a free, timed ticketing system when the space is busier than usual. Check the website prior to visiting as hours are subject to change.  


Yo-Yo Ma Receives “Great Americans” Medal
Flag Hall
May 9, 7 p.m. 
In Person Event Only (Very Limited Availability) 

Yo-Yo Ma will be recognized for his extraordinary impact as a musician, cultural ambassador and philanthropist with the “Great Americans” medal, the National Museum of American History’s signature honor. The evening will include an interview with Smithsonian Regent Emeritus David Rubenstein and a medal presentation by the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan Director Anthea M. Hartig. This capstone Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event will feature a special performance by Ma. More information on the program and the “Great Americans” medal is at:

Innovative Lives: Theresa Dankovich and Madison Maxey
Lemelson Center for the Study on Invention and Innovatio
First Floor, West Wing
May 10, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Free, registration required

The 2023 Innovative Lives program series focuses on the theme of "Places of Invention" to celebrate the Lemelson Center's award-winning exhibition, which closes at the National Museum of American History in late summer 2023. Theresa Dankovich invented germ-killing water filters as a graduate student and co-founded Folia Water in 2016. Madison Maxey is a designer who works in electronic textiles and her company LOOMIA creates fabrics that act like circuit boards for innovative products from medical wearables to monitor patients to heated ski gear. Explore how “place” has impacted the careers of these two inventors and help say goodbye to “Places of Invention.” The presentation will conclude with an audience Q&A.
Register at:

Franz Schubert “Die Schöne Müllerin”
Smithsonian Chamber Music Scociety
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music

May 14; 7 p.m.
Ticket Purchase Required

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society presents tenor Frank Kelly and fortepianist Kenneth Slowik in a performance of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin, D795. Between them, tenor Kelley and Slowik have lived with Schubert's great cycle of love, longing, jealousy, and death—the basic subjects of much of the German Lieder repertoire—for well over half a century.
Purchase tickets here:
Members $25; Nonmembers $35

Celebrating Richard Avedon’s 100th Birthday: Objects Out of Storage
Third Floor, West Wing

“(re)Framing Conversations: Photographs by Richard Avedon 1946-1965” Exhibition
May 5, 1– 3 p.m.

To mark iconic photographer Richard Avedon’s 100th birthday, staff from the museum’s Archives Center and the Photographic History Collection will bring objects out of storage to share with the public. Photographs from Avedon’s first one man show in 1962, including Dovima and Elephants and Marian Anderson will be on view, alongside other portraits and fashion photographs from the first half of his career. Advertisements for Revlon, featuring his photography and which defined a generation with iconic models such as Lauren Hutton, Isabella Rossellini and Rene Russo will also be shown.

The 2023 Smithsonian Beethoven Piano Trio Academy
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Saturday, May 20, 1:30-4 p.m.

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society presents a marathon concert of nine Beethoven piano trios, featuring the 12 Beethoven Fellows of the museum’s 2023 Beethoven Academy performing on period instruments. For more information, visit

“Roots to Pop: The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ruthie Foster, and the Legacy of Gospel Music” 
May 23; 7 p.m.
Nicholas and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music 
Free, registration required

Musicians Ruthie Foster and the Blind Boys of Alabama will be in conversation about the American musical past and how it might affect the present in this continuing “Roots to Pop” series, created in collaboration with the Americana Music Foundation. This event will explore the panelists’ work and their influences on gospel and blues music through discussion and song. For details on how to participate, visit the museum's website closer to the event date.

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 through Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. The doors of the museum are always open online and the virtual museum continues to expand its offerings, including online exhibitions, K–12 educational materials and programs. The public can follow the museum on social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For more information, go to For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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Editor's Note:
All listings are subject to change. All programs are located at the National Museum of American History, free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For a complete schedule of activities check:

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