Calendar of Events March 2017

March 1, 2017

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:

Opening Exhibition

First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100
March 31 – April 2018
Archives Center, First Floor

One of America’s most accomplished singers, Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) was an American artist who set a new standard for jazz vocalists. She sang her way to the top of a field dominated and controlled almost completely by men. See awards, letters, sheet music and costumes from her archives as well as videos of her performances.

Closing Exhibitions

Art Pottery and Glass in America, 1880s-1920s
Closes March 12

American potters and glassmakers were at the forefront of producing decorative wares that appealed to the growing market for Arts and Crafts design, popular between 1880 and 1910. This display highlights the design movement that embraced the ideals of superior craftsmanship, naturalistic ornamentation and living with beauty in the home. Among the manufacturers featured are the Steuben Glass Works, Phoenix Glass Company, Rookwood Pottery, Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, Biloxi Art Pottery, Paul Revere Pottery and Matt Morgan Art Pottery.

Elaine Ostroff and the Universal Design Movement
Closes March 23
Archives Center, First Floor

Elaine Ostroff, an early pioneer in disability design, was among the founders of the Universal Design Movement (1960s-1970s) and is an expert on the application of universal design in the built environment. This display features selections from her personal papers which are held in the museum’s Archives Center and document her contributions to universal design movement.

Featured Event

History Film Forum
Thursday, March 9 Sunday, March 12
Warner Bros. Theater, First Floor

Join filmmakers, historians, and political leaders at the museum for the History Film Forum, presented by the Smithsonian and National Endowment for the Humanities, to examine the state of narrative and documentary film. For a full schedule of events and registration, go to:

  • Thursday, March 9; 6 p.m.: Keynote discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Blackmon and Emmy Award-winning producer Sam Pollard.
  • Friday, March 10; 7 p.m.: The Great War screening and discussion with biographer A. Scott Berg, historian Adriane Lentz-Smith, executive producer Mark Samuels and series producer Stephen Ives.
  • Saturday, March 11; 7 p.m.: See an advanced screening of Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, which will have its U.S. broadcast premiere on the “American Masters” series in fall 2017.
  • Sunday, March 12; 6 p.m.: Charlie Young, artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will lead a discussion with filmmaker Hugo Berkeley and producer Julie Anderson about their documentary Jazz Ambassadors followed by a performance by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.


Africa in Motion: Spelman Glee Club
Friday, March 17, Noon
Flag Hall, Second Floor

The museum, in partnership with the National Museum of African Art, will present an afternoon performance by the Spelman College Glee Club. The repertoire of the Spelman Glee Club consists of sacred and secular choral literature for women’s voices with an emphasis on traditional spirituals, music by African American composers and music from numerous cultures.

Axelrod String Quartet: Haydn, Beethoven, and Spohr
Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.
Pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Hall of Music, Third Floor

Hear two quartets of instruments, one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati, played by the Axelrod String Quartet. As part of their Stradivarius and Amati series, the Axelrod Quartet — Marc Destrubé (violin), Marilyn McDonald (violin), James Dunham (viola) and Kenneth Slowik (violoncello) — present Haydn: Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 76, No. 6; Beethoven: Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; and Spohr: Double Quartet in G Minor, Op. 136, featuring the Rolston Quartet, the graduate-quartet-in-residence at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. For ticket information, visit:

Women in Jazz: The Influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Lil Hardin Armstrong
Friday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra kick off Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) with a concert celebrating the women of jazz. Oftentimes overlooked, women have been making vital contributions to jazz throughout its history. Beyond the traditional female vocalist, there are also many composers, arrangers, orchestrators and instrumentalists covering the full spectrum of jazz. This performance will showcase big band compositions by women and feature women who have and continue to leave an indelible print on the history and future of jazz. To purchase tickets, go to:

Food History Programming

Cooking Up History: The Women Behind America’s First Cookbooks
Saturday, March 18; 2 p.m.
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza
For more information, visit:

Chef Angie Lee of Sur La Table will join a Smithsonian host to prepare a few recipes from American cookbook authors such as Amelia Simmons, Mary Randolph, Eliza Leslie and Lydia Child. They will consider the ingredients, tools and cooking techniques from early eras and discuss how these authors had such a profound influence on American culinary history. 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.

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. It is currently renovating its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on democracy and culture. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). To learn more about the museum, check Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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