Calendar of Exhibitions and Events: September 2021


Emmett 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. 

Escaramuza Dress
New Perspectives case in Girlhood (It's complicated)
Opens Sept. 17; Closes Winter 2022
Second Floor, East 

A new case outside of “Girlhood (It’s complicated)” will showcase additional collections. An escaramuza charra dress worn by Veronica Davila is on view, representing the only female event in the Mexican charrería. Escaramuzas consist of teams of 8 riding horses in synchronized maneuvers. Davila wore this colorful dress in the early 2000s as captain of the escaramuza team “Las Valentinas” in San Antonio, TX. As escaramuza charras, girls reclaim their Mexican cultural heritage and affirm their Mexican American identity. Riders wear stunning traditional outfits inspired by the fearless adelitas, women fighters in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Ensembles follow strict guidelines to preserve historical and cultural authenticity. Skirts must cover the horse’s haunches and allow the team to perform dangerous maneuverers at high speeds while riding sidesaddle. Girls also don the emblematic sombrero charro, a broad-brimmed hat designed to provide relief from the blistering heat of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. The dress will be be accompanied by a Latinas Talk Latina’s video featuring footage of Davila, and will be made available as a 3D scan.


The National Museum of American History will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 with three panel discussions centered on the theme of “Hidden Stories, Hidden Voices” to explore little known impacts on New York’s Latino/a and Chinese American communities as well as how artists from these communities have portrayed the attacks and their impact. 

Hidden Stories, Hidden Voices: Portraits of Manhattan's Chinatown
Wednesday, Sept. 1, 7 -8:30 p.m. EDT   
Free registration at Eventbrite:

New York’s Chinatown was one of the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the World Trade Center. In this panel, members of the Manhattan Chinatown community will explore the long-lasting effects of the Sept. 11 attacks, ranging from health, economic, and societal effects as shared through first-hand accounts. This program is hosted collaboratively with the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center and the Museum of Chinese in America.

Hidden Stories, Hidden Voices: Art in the Aftermath  
Thursday, Sept. 9, 7-8:30 p.m. EDT  
Free Registration at Eventbrite:

Whether through documentary photographs or fine art, artists have been telling the story of how September 11 affected their communities. Through their practice, these creators were able to capture not only a historical recording of the immediate aftermath of the attacks, but the intense spectrum of emotions and incredible community resiliency in the face of immense adversity. In this panel, audiences will hear from artists as they share their stories of how their experiences of September 11 shaped their artistry, community, and the world at large. This program is hosted collaboratively with the Museum of Chinese in America and El Museo del Barrio.

Hidden Stories, Hidden Voices: LatinX Empowerment After the Attacks 
Friday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. EDT 
Free Registration at Eventbrite:

As the twin towers fell, members of New York’s Latina/o community served as first responders, volunteers, organizers and caregivers. Panelists will share their experiences navigating complex immigration policy, worsening health effects and socioeconomic challenges. The panel builds on the museum’s New York City Sept. 11 Collecting Initiative to add stories of the Latina/o experiences as part of the Sept. 11 narrative. This program is hosted collaboratively with the Consulate General of Mexico in New York, the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington D.C. and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. 


To celebrate the opening of ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big League /En los barrios y las grandes ligas, the museum is planning a series of programs, including a Sept. 17 hashtag party, #NuestroBaseball, through which participants can share baseball stories, photos and artifacts.


Cooking Up History: Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: Chinese Americans and the Power of Stir-Frying
Sept. 30; 6:45 p.m.
Virtual demonstration
Tickets available for purchase here:

In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, culinary historian and award-winning cookbook author Grace Young writes of how the ancient technique of stir-frying played an important role in the culinary lives of Chinese migrants. In the United States, many families used their culinary skills to open businesses, including chop suey parlors, where that bland, made-up dish gained popularity. Young—known as “the stir-fry guru” and “wok therapist”—demonstrates her stir-fry expertise and shares tips on wok mastery for home cooks as she prepares a savory stir-fry of garlicky cabbage and bacon—a dish improvised in the 1940s by immigrant Lin Ong who used two common American ingredients to feed her nine children. Young recounts her own San Francisco family’s unlikely wok story and her work to document COVID’s impact on Manhattan's Chinatown and to support the Asian American Pacific Islander community nationwide.

Media only:

Rebecca Seel