Calendar of Exhibitions and Events: October 2018

September 11, 2018

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:


"Ray Dolby Gateway to Culture"
Opens Oct. 19; 10 a.m.
Third Floor, West Wing

New installations displaying American history through culture, entertainment and the arts will open to the public Oct. 19 on the museum's third floor. Artifacts on view include the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a New York Yankees Stadium ticket booth, jazz and classical instruments, a video game wall, a case for new acquisitions and a new Landmark Object. The permanent galleries on this floor will open in late 2020. For more information:


Landmark Object: RCA Stained Glass Window
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West

A stained glass window from the Victor Company’s headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, featuring “Nipper,” the iconic dog listening to his master’s recorded voice, is the culture floor’s Landmark Object.

"America's Listening"
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West Gateway

"America's Listening" tells the story of recorded sound and five of the innovations that contributed to how we consume music and movies today. Artifacts on view include Thomas Edison’s phonograph, Alexander Graham Bell’s graphophone, Emile Berliner’s gramophone, Ray Dolby’s noise reduction system and Apple’s iPod.

The Ruby Slippers
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West

The Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz return to view in an intimate gallery following a year of research and conservation treatment supported by the museum’s successful Kickstarter campaign: #KeepThemRuby. The Ruby Slippers are one of the most iconic artifacts in film history and one of the most asked-about objects at the Smithsonian.

Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music and Lobby Galleries
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West

The renovated Hall of Music is a dedicated venue that provides a home for the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Displays in the glass-enclosed side galleries will feature a selection from the museum’s jazz and classical music treasures, including priceless instruments by Antonio Stradivari and Nicoló Amati.

"Virtual Landscapes: Exploring America Through Video Games"
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West

Game designers and developers take inspiration from American cities and landscapes, real and imagined, utopian and dystopian. Displays of a selection of these games will be on two large screens to show not only how America inspires game design as well as how playing video games shape our perceptions of American places.

Mural Art
Opens Oct. 19
Third Floor, West

A vivid mural commissioned by the museum from the Washington, D.C., studio of No Kings Collective will bring creativity, color and patterns to illustrate the concept of American culture.


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: "The Evolving Jazz Culture"
Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m.
Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
Tickets required

American jazz has evolved alongside technology in American culture. From the way it is listened to, to the way it is learned, jazz musicians are faced with an increasing challenge to find “THEIR” unique voice. October’s concert will explore the effects of technology on jazz culture, jazz language, and jazz education. For more information, please visit:

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Oct. 20 and 21; 7:30 p.m. with pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m.
Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
Ticket info:

The Smithsonian Chamber Players—Aaron Sheenan (tenor), Ian Swensen and Marilyn McDonald (Violins), Gregory Luce (viola), Myron Lutzke (violoncello) and Kenneth Slowik (fortepiano)—will perform Franz Schubert's "Schwanengesang, D 957" and Robert Schumann's "Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44." The concert will be preceded by a talk at 6:30: "Rellstab, Heine, Seidl & Haslinger: Scubert's Swan Song." For more information, please visit:

The Axelrod String Quartet
Oct. 27 and 28; 7:30 with pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m.
Nicholas F. and Eugenia Taubman Hall of Music
Third Floor, West
Ticket info:

The Axelrod String Quartet—Marc Destrubé and Marilyn McDonald (violins), James Dunham (viola) and Kenneth Slowik (violoncello)—will perform Joseph Haydn's "Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No. 1," Ludwig van Beethoven's "Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4" and Franz Schubert's "Quartet in D Minor, D 810, Death and the Maiden." The concert will be preceded by a talk at 6:30 p.m. entitled "Schubert, Death and the Maiden." For more information, please visit:

Daily Programs:

Open daily, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; closed Tuesdays
First Floor, West

Spark!Lab reveals the real story behind inventors’ work through hands-on activities infused with historical content that help kids ages 6-12 explore the history and process of invention. Hosted by the museum’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Spark!Lab’s interdisciplinary activities appeal to varied learning styles and abilities and combine traditional STEM with art and creativity.

The activities of Spark!Lab change quarterly. The new activities theme "CONNECT" invites children and families to invent ways to connect people, places and things while they explore the history and process of invention. For details about CONNECT and current Spark!Lab activities, please visit

"Wegmans Wonderplace"
Open daily, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., closed Tuesdays
First Floor, West

The museum’s early learning gallery combines age-appropriate activities for children 0–6 with museum collections and touchable objects.

"The Nation We Build Together" theater performance
Wallace H. Coulter Unity Square
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
Second Floor, West

On Feb. 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter at the Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, N.C., and politely asked for service. Their request was refused, and when asked to leave, the students remained in their seats in protest. Participate in a 30 minute interactive play around the Greensboro Lunch Counter, a section of the historic eatery, which transports audiences back to the civil rights movement.

"Justice Must be Done" theater performance
Tuesday and Thursday; 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
"Within These Walls" exhibition
Second Floor, West

Visitors to the Ipswich, Mass., home of the Caldwell family may join Lucy Caldwell in an 1830s anti-slavery society meeting.

"Votes for Women"
Friday and Saturday; Noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
"American Democracy" exhibition entrance
Second Floor, West

Meet suffragist Rebecca Gibson-McMurray and explore the fight for the 19th Amendment which granted most women the right to vote.

Flag Folding
Tuesdays–Thursdays; times vary
Flag Hall
Second Floor, Center

Take part in folding a true-to-size replica of the Star-Spangled Banner while exploring the history of the flag that inspired the national anthem.

Hands-On Activities
Daily; times vary
Wallace H Coulter Performance Plaza
First Floor, West


  • The Business of Chocolate: Learn chocolate’s impact on American history through hands-on colonial chocolate-making demonstrations.
  • Game On: Board Games on the Plaza: Play classic games and learn the surprising stories behind these everyday innovations.
  • Harvest for the Table: How have food and farming changed over the years? Learn how wheat was made into flour over 100 years ago.
  • Preservation for the Table: Learn how foods were harvested and preserved all year long and why these methods changed over time.



"We the People: Making a More Perfect Union, One Generation at a Time"
Daily; 10:30 a.m.*
Warner Bros. Theater
First Floor, Center
Free, no tickets required

The museum’s signature film “We the People” is a 20-minute celebration of the national ideals of democracy, opportunity and freedom. Stunning footage and a soaring soundtrack take viewers on a journey from past to present, honoring the visionary ideas, significant sacrifices and remarkable fortitude of the people who built our country, one generation at a time. Produced by Smithsonian Channel. For more information, please visit

*Subject to change

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. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information and to check extended hours, visit us online at For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.