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2 West Opening Day

2 West Grand Opening

June 28, 2017
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Experience the grand opening of “The Nation We Build Together” with special free activities all day. See our calendar for more information or RSVP on Facebook.


Schedule of activities

The U.S. Marine Corps Jazz Trio
10-10:45 a.m.
Flag Hall, 2 Center

Catch a free performance of ragtime and early New Orleans-style jazz performed by members of the U.S. Marine Corps Band.


2 West Opening Ceremony
11-11:30 a.m.
Flag Hall, 2 Center

Grab a free Statue of Liberty foam crown and join us for the official opening ceremony of our newly transformed wing on the second floor featuring remarks by Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton and National Museum of American History Director John Gray. To end the ceremony, we will hold a ribbon cutting and officially open The Nation We Build Together to the public!


American Experiments
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Unity Square, 2 West

Take part in activities that inspire active engagement in American civic life.


Smithsonian Gardens tour of Common Ground: Our American Garden
11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Outside terrace, National Mall entrance

Join one of Smithsonian Gardens' horticulturists for a 20 minute walk and talk to explore plants in the new Common Ground: Our American Garden at the National Museum of American History.


Community of Gardens story sharing with Smithsonian Gardens
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Outside terrace, National Mall entrance

Community of Gardens, a digital archive hosted by Smithsonian Gardens in partnership with our Archives of American Gardens and created by YOU. By contributing images, videos, and stories, your participation will help others to better understand the meaning and value of gardens to American life – today and in the future. Come share your stories of gardens and the gardeners who make them grow!


Los Texmaniacs
Noon–12:45 p.m.
Flag Hall, 2 Center

Enjoy a free performance by the contemporary conjunto band, Los Texmaniacs, founded by Max Baca in 1997. The band’s music incorporates elements form genres such as rock and jazz, while still honoring the roots of conjunto Tejano (a style of Mexican American music that was born in Texas in the late 19th century and popularized by artists such as Selena, Jennifer Peña, Ramón Ayala, and others). Current members of the band include Max Baca on bajo sexton, Josh Baca on accordion, Noel Hernandez on electric bass, and Lorenzo Martinez on drums.


LEGO miniature Statue of Liberty make-and-take activity
12:30 p.m.  
Coulter Plaza, 1 West

The Museum invites visitors to celebrate the opening of  "The Nation We Build Together" with one of the symbols that represents the United States. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. (first-come, first-serve) visitors can participate in a LEGO “make-and-take” activity inspired by the 9-foot-tall LEGO Statue of Liberty model featured at the Museum’s Constitution Ave. entrance. This will be a 59-piece miniature liberty statue build. 


Blues duo Rick Franklin and Jay Summerour
1-1:45 p.m.
Flag Hall, 2 Center

Catch a free blues performance by guitarist and vocalist Rick Franklin and harmonica player Jay Summerour. Originally from Alexandria, Va., Rick’s style of blues is known as the “Piedmont” style identified with legendary players such as Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, and William Moore.


The Nation We Build Together exhibition book signings
1-3 p.m.
2 West

An opportunity to have exhibition companion books signed by museum curators. Books include American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith; Many Voices, One Nation; and Objects of Devotion.


"The Nation We Build Together" Greensboro Lunch Counter Theater Program
2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Unity Square, 2 West

How did student activists participate in the ongoing process of building America? The centerpiece of Coulter Unity Square, The Nation We Build Together contextualizes the Greensboro Lunch Counter as an icon of the civil rights movement and an emblem of the transformative power Americans have to create the nation in which they want to live. The 30 minute interactive play transports visitors to a nonviolent protest training session a few weeks after the original sit-in that occurred at the F. W Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960. Exploring the intersection of race, civic activism, and religious inspiration, this program sets the stage for a conversation about how we all can shape the future of America.


From Our Blog

For the past 20 years, undocumented immigrants have faced unrelenting challenges to secure a legal right to stay in the only country most of them have known. Taking action, undocumented organizers catapulted themselves into the center of one of the nation’s fiercest debates to form a powerful political voice.
For John Lewis, activism for social change was a communal activity. He believed that people coming together to create a society that they wanted to live in. Creating that community required persistence, optimism, and the willingness to make what he called "good trouble, necessary trouble."
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