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Celebrate Black History Month at the Smithsonian


The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate Black History Month in February through a series of vibrant performances, lectures, family activities and exhibitions at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event

The Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Black History Month will be a Family Day hosted by the National Museum of American History, Saturday, Feb. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Inspired by the exhibition “Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College,” the family day will include hands-on activities, family gallery tours, musical performances and a genealogy workshop led by Karen Bennett Harmon, the artist’s grandniece and a genealogist for the Daughters of the American Revolution.


The Anacostia Community Museum will host discussions with Carla Kaplan, author of Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance (Saturday, Feb. 7 at, 2 p.m.), and with Heather Butts, author of African American Medicine in Washington, D.C.: Healing the Capital During the Civil War Era (Friday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m.). Book signings will follow the talks. Information and registration are available at or 202-633-4844.

Art critics and artists will discuss the life and career of Hale Woodruff, renowned muralist and community leader, at the National Museum of American History, Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. The panelists include Edmund Barry Gaither, director of the Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists, and Amalia Amaki, curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Delaware.

Smithsonian American Art Museum curator Leslie Umberger will sit down with enigmatic local artist Mingering Mike (in costume) to open the exhibition “Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits,” Friday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m.


The Anacostia Community Museum will screen The Loving Story, an award-winning documentary that tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose landmark 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, invalidated a Virginia state law prohibiting interracial marriage, Saturday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. A discussion with a museum educator will follow the screening. Information and registration are available at or 202-633-4844.

Family Activity

The National Air and Space Museum will celebrate African American contributions to flight and space exploration with two family days: Saturday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the National Mall building, and Saturday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The days will include hands-on activities and stories from African American astronauts and fighter pilots.


The Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer special walk-in tours that highlight African American artists in the museum’s collection, every Wednesday and Thursday in February, and Sunday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. Visitors should go to the F Street lobby.

Anacostia Community Museum educator Tony Thomas will walk visitors through the exhibition “How the Civil War Changed Washington,” then lead them on a “map study” of Anacostia/Uniontown on the museum’s shuttle, Saturday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This event is presented in collaboration with the National Park Service. Information and registration are available at or 202-633-4844.


The Anacostia Community Museum is proud to present two exhibitions: “How the Civil War Changed Washington” offers a glimpse into the impact of African Americans during and after the Civil War as part of a review of the capital city during this period, on view from Feb. 2 to Oct. 18. “Hand of Freedom: The Life & Legacy of the Plummer Family” examines the life and legacy of the Plummer family in Prince George’s County, Md., in the 19th century, on view from Feb. 23 to Dec. 27. Both exhibitions are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum presents “Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits,” an exhibition of album covers (made of painted cardboard), song lyrics, liner notes and self-recorded singles, all made in the 1960s and ’70s by a Washington artist known only as Mingering Mike. The exhibition is open daily from Feb. 27 to Aug. 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New Releases

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City, the seventh title in the Smithsonian Folkways African American Legacy Series, co-presented with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Feb. 10. The album brings together for the first time three musical generations representing three dominant brass-band styles. Folkways will also release Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, a 140-page, large-format book that includes five CDs with 108 tracks accompanied by historic photos and extensive notes about the American music icon, Feb. 24. Information about both releases is available at

All programs are subject to change. For more information about the Black History Month programs, visit or email For general Smithsonian information, the public may call 202-633-1000.

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