Calendar of Exhibitions and Events National Museum of American History November 2020


"The Muppets Take American History"
Opens Nov. 6; Ongoing
First Floor, East

Miss Piggy is not quite ready for her close up! In this series of special pop-up displays, Muppets from the collection will be appearing in various museum exhibitions. Fozzie Bear will debut within “America on the Move” and Boober in the “FOOD” exhibition. Muppets and locations will change two to three times per year, check for updates. 


Only One in the Room
Opens Nov. 20, 2020; Closes Nov. 2021
First Floor, West

The “Only One in the Room” New Perspectives case in the “American Enterprise” exhibition will illuminate eight businesswomen and entrepreneurs who broke through tremendous barriers in their industries to create, innovate and provide an opening for others to follow. This case offers an opportunity to explore the trials, triumphs and contexts of women such as Maggie Lena Walker, the first African American woman bank president; Lillian Vernon, founder of a major mail-order business; Sara Sunshine, part of the first wave of Hispanic advertising executives in the early 1960s; beauty innovator Rea Ann Silva and geneticist Mary Dell Chilton, who battled sexism in science. TV cooking pioneer Lena Richard; Rebecca Lukens, who made a success of a failing family business and Myrtle Tillie Ehrlich Weisberg Lewis, who developed one of the first diet food brands, are also featured. Each will be represented by one image and one artifact. Additional information is online at


2020 Election Collecting is Ongoing

Curators from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History are continuing to collect materials and memorabilia reflecting the 2020 Presidential election, including documenting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on voting. Political history curators Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Jon Grinspan and Claire Jerry are reaching out to the Democratic and Republican organizations, other groups and to the voters themselves to augment the existing national collection which includes material from debates, rallies, protests and digital campaign activities.

While the museum is open to limited numbers of visitors, the acquisition of artifacts is still on hold due to telework as well as safety and health issues. Curators are asking prospective donors to hold on to objects and other materials that could be considered for future acquisition and to send photos and brief descriptions of suggested objects to


The "Power of Giving" Symposium
Nov. 10 and Nov. 12; 1-2:45 p.m.
Registration required:

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is bringing together historians and philanthropy and education thought leaders to bring historical perspectives to contemporary conversations about educational inequality in a two-day “The Power of Giving” symposium. The symposium is part of the museum’s Philanthropy Initiative and complements and expands on the education focus in “Who Pays for Education?”—the featured section of the museum’s updated exhibition, “Giving in America.” The exhibition’s new section explores debates over philanthropic and public funding for schools in the U.S. 

More information about the symposium is available at's-impact-educational-equity. More information on the Philanthropy Initiative is available at

Spotlight on the American Scene: Social Justice on Film 
Conversations about why American entertainment matters
Nov. 20, 2 p.m.

Join the National Museum of American History in discussing the relationship between film and social change, the connection between entertainment and activism and the history of how storytelling can make a difference. 

David Linde, CEO of Participant 
Dawn Porter, Director of  "John Lewis: Good Trouble" 
Steve James, Director of  "City So Real"

Curator Modupe Labode
Curator John Troutman

More information on The American Scene can be found here:

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

Black Inventors and Innovators: New Perspectives webinar series
Nov. 16-20; 1-2:30 p.m.
Free registration required:

Join the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation for a week-long webinar series drawing renewed attention to historic and contemporary inventors of color and Black technology consumers, while discussing strategies for building a more equitable innovation ecosystem.


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, recently reopened. The new public hours are Friday through Tuesday, between 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free but reserved, time-entry passes are required. To make reservations, please visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000. 

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Rebecca Seel