Please note that African Art Museum Exhibitions are listed in the Art: Smithsonian Galleries Column
The National Museum of African American History & Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is exhibiting We Return Fighting: The African American Experience in World War I (1913-1920)thru June 14, 2020. The exhibition has three sections, 26 themes, nine media pieces, a photography gallery, and an interactive engagement, anchored in nine African American historical luminary personalities. The exhibition includes non-military experience focusing on the social, cultural, political, economic and intellectual lives of African Americans before, during and after World War I.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will exhibit Uncle Tom's Cabin: Early and Notable Editions, February 28-May 6. The classic novel was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) to inform readers of the appalling realities of American slavery and was first published in March 1852. The exhibit features early and notable editions of the novel in the library’s collection, plus the novel’s publishing history. The novel changed ownership among U.S. publishers at least four times before the copyright expired in 1893. Each publisher tried to capitalize on the novel's popularity by publishing new and “special” editions, where new elements, illustrations, and commentary were added. As a result, the novel was a bestseller for well over 30 years after it was first published and has continued to inspire numerous other publications and works of art.
The image below is from the 1879 Houghton, Osgood illustrated edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly.
The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils in the National Museum of Natural History opened a major new permanent exhibition named Deep Time in 2019. The exhibition showcases "the museum’s unrivaled collection of 46 million fossils, presents the most up-to-date scientific research on how life on Earth has evolved, and presents the fossil record in new ways to show how dinosaurs and other extinct creatures lived in changing environments."
Image below: In its new pose devouring a Triceratops, the Nation’s T. rex is the centerpiece of the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils—Deep Time.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announced plans in March, 2019 to move forward with a renovation and redesign of its Sculpture Garden for the first time since the 1980s. The Museum will be working to develop a new concept for the garden with architect/artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, who successfully renovated the Museum's lobby. The museum's sunken garden, which is adjacent to the National Mall, is barely visible to Mall and museum visitors. Sugimoto’s early concept calls for "an enhanced entrance facing the National Mall, directly engaging the more than 35 million people who pass through each year. " The new garden design envisions spaces for large-scale contemporary works and performances, as well as intimate spaces for the museum’s modern masterpieces." The initial concept would include reopening the underground passage which was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909-1990), who designed the Hirshhorn, to connect the garden to the museum plaza. The passage has been closed for 30 years. Dan Sallick, Hirshhorn board chair, commented that “The project would create a ‘front door’ for the Hirshhorn on the National Mall.” Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn, commented that “As both an artist and an architect, Hiroshi Sugimoto brings a unique perspective to his designs and a deep understanding and respect for Gordon Bunshaft’s original vision for the garden.”
The National Air & Space Museum began a major renovation in December, 2018. The revitalization of the building’s exterior and infrastructure, and the transformation of all 23 exhibitions and presentation spaces, will take about seven years. The museum's upcoming Future of Spaceflight exhibition is scheduled to open in 2024. For the first few years, some of the most popular artifacts will remain on display, including the “Spirit of St. Louis,” the 1903 Wright Flyer, Bell X-1, the Apollo Lunar Module and Skylab. The first set of galleries are scheduled to reopen in 2022. The building will undergo complete refacing of the exterior cladding, replacement of outdated mechanical systems and other repairs and improvements.
A view of the National Air & Space Museum as seen from the National Mall
The National Air and Space Museum began displaying Neil Armstrong's spacesuitin 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. The suit had undergone a multi-year conservation. Until then, the suit had not been displayed in 13 years. A state-of-the-art display case and mannequin were created to help protect the fragile suit.
The National Museum of American History will exhibit Creating Icons: How We Remember Women's Suffrage, March 6-March 7, 2021. The exhibition "marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment recognizing women’s right to vote. It commemorates women’s achievements in winning suffrage. Items from the National American Women Suffrage Association (now the League of Women Voters) collection, which were donated in 1919 and 1920, are featured along with later donations of materials related to Adelaide Johnson (sculptor of Portrait Monument in the Capitol), Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party (NWP), and other suffrage and women’s activism collections.
Image below: Bella Abzug's Hat, National Museum of American History
The Latino Center’s first gallery space, the Molina Family Latino Gallery, will open in the National Museum of American History in 2021.The Center has been called the corazón (heart) of Latinidad at the Smithsonian. The gallery will celebrate the U.S. Latino experience and will feature 4,500 square feet of bilingual stories for all audiences. Rotating exhibitions will feature multimedia activities, objects and first-person narratives - complemented by participatory experiences and viewer-generated content. The gallery space will be made possible by a gift of $10 million by five siblings in the Molina family. They made the gift in memory of their father Dr. C. David Molina, a health-care leader in California who founded the publicly-traded Fortune 500 company Molina Healthcare Inc. The planned inaugural exhibition, Making Home: Latino Stories of Community and Belonging, will examine the historical roots of Latino culture as it shaped the continent and the U.S.
Image below:A rendering of a planned interactive exhibit - Credit: Museum Environments/Branded Environments
The National Museum of American History is exhibiting Illegal to Be You: Gay History Beyond Stonewall thru 2020. In June 1969, LGBTQ+ community members resisted a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in lower Manhattan. This event and others from that time were pivotal to the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. The museum marks this 50th anniversary with a display featuring objects from its collections that put the history of that memorable event within a larger and longer experience of being gay.
The National Museum of American History is exhibiting Everyday Luxury: Silk Quilts from the National Collection, thru January 2020.The exhibition features rarely seen late 19th-century silk quilts from the museum’s collection. These textiles “tell a little known story about American industry, art, fads, and marketing. The quilts were made to be seen rather than slept under and were sometimes called “parlor throws.””
Image below:1890–1900 Bates Family Silk Parlor Throw. Visitwww.si.edu/
The American History Museum is exhibiting Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect, thru July 1, 2020.People collect to gather information about the world, to preserve the past, and to follow their interests and desires. For some, it is a lifelong pursuit. Pioneering collectors shaped Smithsonian Libraries. Each had their own unique passions, and together, these diverse collections form a vast network of knowledge. Smithsonian Libraries continue to build upon the work of these curious collectors. They preserve historic treasures and everyday items to provide a window onto the past. They seek out new sources and collections to advance research and scholarship. And they share the collections with the world to inspire curiosity and spark new ideas. What will they collect next?
The American History Museum's new wingfocuses on American cultureandisexhibitingAmerica's Listening, which tells the story of recorded sound and five of the innovations that contributed to how we consume music and movies today. Artifacts on view include Thomas Edison’s phonograph, Alexander Graham Bell’s graphophone, Emile Berliner’s gramophone, Ray Dolby’s noise reduction system, and Apple’s iPod.
The American History Museum is exhibiting Ruby Slippers and American Culture."Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz have returned as one of eight installations displaying American history through culture, entertainment, and the arts. Other artifacts on view include a New York Yankee Stadium ticket booth, jazz and classical instruments, and a video game wall. “A stained glass window from the Victor Company’sheadquarters in Camden, New Jersey, featuring Nipper, the iconic dog listening to his master’s recorded voice, is the culture floor’s landmark object."
The American History Museum opened a new permanent exhibition titled American Democracy: The Great Leap of Faithin 2017. The exhibition “examines the founding political principles of the nation: citizenship in a pluralistic society; inclusion and exclusion; and political participation and engagement.”
Treasures which are exhibited include:
. the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence . the lamp George Washington used while writing his farewell address . the inkstand Abraham Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamationand . the table on which Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Declaration of Sentiments
Image below: In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on this portable lap desk of his own design. Featuring a hinged writing board and a locking drawer for papers, pens, and inkwell, the desk was Jefferson's companion as a revolutionary patriot, American diplomat, and president of the United States.
The National Museum of the American Indian is exhibiting Americans thru 2027.The theme of the exhibition is the presence of names and images of Indians everywhere in the U.S. - despite the fact that American Indians comprise less than 1 percent of our population. Military weapons, towns, products, advertising, and more are named for Indians.The exhibition features "nearly 350 objects and images, from a Tomahawk missile to baking powder cans, all demonstrating that Indian words and images are everywhere in American life. The exhibition shows how Americans have always been fascinated, conflicted, and profoundly shaped by their relationship to American Indians."
Image below: Note that the motorcycle is named Indian- Photo courtesy Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala