TheNational Museum of African American History and Culture
The Museum of African American History & Culture is exhibiting Represent: Hip-Hop Photography in the Media Arts Gallery thru May 3, 2019.The exhibition was inspired by the four elements of hip-hop—DJ’s, MCs, breakdancers and graffiti. The display showcases "photographs from the Eyejammie Hip Hop Photography Collection that illustrate the early days of hip-hop and its rapid expansion to a cultural phenomenon in the mid-to-late 1990s. "Photos showing some of hip-hop’s iconic figures and moments are paired alongside other images from the museum’s photography collection to explore how different social movements, historic figures, art, culture and dance have influenced the musical genre."
Image below: From the Eyejammie Hip-Hop Collection: Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture opened the museum’s first special exhibition - titled More Than a Picture: Selections from the Photography Collection- in May, 2017.More than 150 photographs and related objects are on display in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, which is used to mount temporary, short-term exhibitions in addition to the museum’s permanent inaugural exhibitions. From the eras of slavery and Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter, the exhibition presents “a range of American experiences that look beyond the surface to see the photographs’ significance to history and cultural meaning.” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director, has commented that “The power of photographs is not only the ability to depict events but to bring human scale to those experiences.” The exhibition is curated by Aaron Bryant, museum curator of photography and visual culture, and Michèle Gates Moresi, supervisory museum curator of collections.
African Art Museum Exhibitions are listed in the Art: Smithsonian Galleries Column
Air & Space Museum
The National Air & Space Museum is marking the 50th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s and Arthur C. Clarke’s landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey with an immersive Art Exhibit and Events which celebrate the film’s impact on culture and technology, thru May 28. The immersive art installation, titled The Barmecide Feast, is a fully-realized, full-scale reflection of the iconic, neo-classical hotel room from the penultimate scene of the film. Museum visitors can “enter the recreated room in small groups for short periods to experience the surreal environment depicted in the film.”
Dr. Ellen Stofan has been named the first woman to lead the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution announced in April, 2018. The former chief scientist at NASA, she will succeed General J.R. “Jack” Dailey, who retired early this year. Dr. Stofan, who has a background in geology, helped to lead in the development of a long-term plan to get humans to Mars.Her father was a NASA rocket scientist, and she attended her first rocket launch at Cape Canaveral at the age of 4. Dr. Stofan has commented that “Space and aviation inspire our next generation of explorers, and there is no better place to experience this than at our museums on the Mall and at the Udvar-Hazy Center.” She will be overseeing an institution with more than 300 full-time employees and a budget of $48 million.
American History Museum
The American History Museum opened a new permanent exhibition titled American Democracy: The Great Leap of Faithin June, 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 American History Museum opened a new permanent exhibition titled Many Voices, One Nationin June 2017. The exhibition explores “the five-hundred-year journey of how many distinct peoples and cultures met, mingled, and created the culture of the United States.
Migrations brought new peoples, new languages, new religions, new ideas, and new technological innovations into the American experience. The result was a dynamic society embodied in cultural and technological innovations.
As the people (populus)change, the one(unum)also changes to incorporate the newest members of the nation, including those just arrived and those just born.”
Image below: The entrance to Many Voices, One Nation
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is exhibiting Trail of Tears: A Story of Cherokee Removal thru January 2019.Through reproductions of historical documents, drawings and portraiture, first-hand accounts and contemporary voices, the 40-panel exhibition “takes a deeper look at Indian removal from the Cherokee perspective.” The exhibition “dispels misconceptions about the Trail of Tears and provides a realistic look at the cost of greed and oppression.” Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC curated the exhibition.
Image below: Jennie Fields. Photographer unknown. Cherokee National Archives.
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
The National Museum of the American Indian is exhibiting The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, thru June 1, 2018. The Inka road is "a network more than 20,000 miles long, crossing mountains and tropical lowlands, rivers and deserts, linking Cusco, the administrative capital and spiritual center of the Inka world, to the farthest reaches of its empire. The road continues to serve contemporary Andean communities across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile as a sacred space and symbol of cultural continuity." Construction of the road is said to be "one of the monumental engineering achievements in history."
The Museum of Natural History is exhibiting Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend, thru Summer 2019. A narwhal is a small Arctic whale, the male of which has a long forward-pointing spirally-twisted tusk developed from one of its teeth.
The exhibition explores narwhal biology, behavior, and cultural history, and “reveals how Inuit knowledge and experience coupled with scientific research helps us better understand these animals—and the changing Arctic and global climate.
A life-sized narwhal model, real tusk and fossil whale specimens, and Inuit cultural objects and artwork gathered in close cooperation with Arctic communities, are prominently featured.”
Image below: A Narwhal – Photo courtesy of the Museum of Natural History.
The Natural History Museum is exhibiting Objects of Wonder, thru 2019. The exhibition examines “how scientists use Smithsonian collections to enlighten and illuminate our understanding of nature and human culture.”
The National Postal Museum is exhibiting Postmen of the Skies, thruMay 27, 2019.The 100th anniversary of the world’s first regularly scheduled airmail service will be celebrated on May 15. President Woodrow Wilson was on hand in Washington, DC to watch the historic take-off. Image below from left to right: pilots James “Jack” Knight, Clarence Lange, Lawrence Garrison, William “Wild Bill” Hopson, and Andrew Dumphy
The National Postal Museum is exhibiting In the Garden: The Beauty of Flowering Plants on Stamps, thru June 2019, (closing date to be determined).The exhibition "highlights the variety of flowering plants commemorated on US postage stamps during the past 50 years and explores artistic themes that emerged during this period. The exhibit displays at least 30 pieces of developmental and final artwork used to produce at least 28 flora stamps. The use of stamp art in various phases of development enables visitors to understand the role design artwork plays in the production of postage stamps. The artwork is borrowed from the renowned Postmaster General’s Art Collection which is on a long-term loan to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum."