Calendar of Events - May 2016

May 1, 2016

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. The museum will operate extended hours during weekends in May, staying open until 7:30 p.m. on those days. Exceptions apply; visit

New Display

“Starting Up: The Tucker Automobile”
May 6 - TBD
New Perspectives Case within the “American Enterprise” exhibition
West Innovation Wing, First Floor

In 1948, automotive entrepreneur Preston Tucker promoted a futuristic car that featured many safety and technological innovations. Fifty-one automobiles were produced, but then, as the SEC investigated the company’s financial practices, the business failed. This small case explores the era during which the Tucker automobile was built and the production and promotion of the vehicle. Key artifacts include a World War II bond poster and ration materials, an assembly line photo of the Tucker, a Life magazine featuring Tucker ads, both from 1948, the Tucker design patent and a scale model car. The museum’s gray, 1948 Tucker is on display across from “American Enterprise,” the Smithsonian’s first exhibition on the history of business in America.

Featured Event

National Youth Summit
May 17; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Warner Bros. Theater and SC Johnson Conference Center
Register for tickets here:

The National Youth Summit is a webcast series designed to bring middle and high school students together in a national conversation about the nation's past and its lessons for today. This year’s summit will focus on Japanese American Incarceration during World War II. The museum is hosting one of several webcasts across the U.S., with the main summit taking place at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

  • 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. - Former Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta will share his own experience of incarceration during WWII.
  • 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - National Summit Webcast; Speakers include Karen Korematsu, director of the Korematsu Institute and daughter of Fred Korematsu, an incarceration camp survivor. 
  • 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Conversation with camp survivors.
  • 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Roundtable discussion on civic engagement.
  • 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. - Activity on youth advocacy with Morven Park Center for Civic Impact.

Food History

Cooking Up History: Asian Pacific American Culinary Heritage
Friday, May 6; 2 p.m.

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, Demonstration Kitchen, First Floor, West
For more information, visit:

“Cooking Up History” showcases a guest chef and a Smithsonian host preparing a recipe while discussing its ingredients, culinary techniques and history. The May program will feature a chef from Wegmans and will explore the theme of “Asian Pacific American Culinary Heritage.” After a 45-minute demonstration, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase a dish inspired by the demonstration in the museum’s Stars & Stripes Cafe.

Ask A Farmer
Friday, May 13; 2 p.m.
Friday, May 27; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
For more information, visit:

Join in a conversation with American farmers about their stories and hear directly about what motivates them, what challenges them and how they are innovating American agriculture. Using modern technologies to transcend the limitations of geography, this program brings together visitors with farmers in the field to facilitate a discussion and broader understanding of the American agricultural world.

Book Signings

Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
Wednesday, May 4; 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Mall Store, Second Floor

Author Roger Horowitz will sign copies of his book, “Kosher USA,” which follows the journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers; the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus.

Smithsonian Sleepovers

Smithsonian Sleepovers at American History
Friday, May 13; 7 p.m.
Presidential Reception Suite, First Floor
Tickets Required: For more information, visit:

This Smithsonian Associates program invites children ages 8 to 12 and their grown-up companions to take part in a night that features tours, games, crafts, a film and more. For more information, call (202) 633-3030. 

About the Museum

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is continuing to renovate its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on democracy, immigration and migration and culture. For more information, visit The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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