Please note: African Art Museum Exhibitions are listed in the Art: Smithsonian Galleries Column
African American History & Culture
TheNational Museum of African American History and Culture
The Museum of African American History & Culture is exhibiting Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture, thru June 2019. The exhibition uses the life of Winfrey and her 25-year daytime talk show “as a lens to explore contemporary American history and culture, especially issues of power, gender and the media. "The exhibition features video clips on a range of subjects, interactive interviews with Winfrey, costumes from her films Beloved and The Color Purple and artifacts from Harpo Studios in Chicago, home of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, won seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host, received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and is the first self-made African American female billionaire. The exhibition “probes the way in which America shaped Winfrey and how Winfrey’s work has shaped America.” The exhibition is displayed in three sections: America Shapes Oprah, 1950s–1980s, The Oprah Winfrey Showand Oprah Shapes America.
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. Image below: From the Eyejammie Hip-Hop Collection: Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim
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 is exhibiting Let's Get It Right: Work Incentive Posters of the 1920s, thru January 6, 2019.The exhibition "explores how employers encouraged their workforce. "The display features 16 posters from the early 20th century including a World War I poster and posters from Mather and Co. and the Parker-Holladay Co. with images and sayings designed to influence attitudes, reduce conflict, and increase efficiency."
Image below courtesy of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
The American History Museum is exhibiting The American Revolution: A World War, thru July 9, 2019. The exhibition examines the 1781 victory at Yorktown and the Franco-American partnership that made it possible. The exhibition “captivates visitors with compelling objects, including two paintings created by Louis-Nicolas van Blarenberghe as copies of those presented to King Louis XVI. The exhibition features The Siege of Yorktownand The Surrender of Yorktown, both painted in 1786, and George Washington’s early-1780s portrait by Charles Willson Peale, united for the first time in a national museum since their display together in the 1700s. They appeared in the Comte de Rochambeau’s chamber as a reminder of the French general’s partnership with the American general.
Image below: The Siege of Yorktown by Louis-Nicolas van Blarenberghe
The American History Museum is exhibiting Luisa Moreno, thru January 2019.The display examines the lasting legacy of the Guatemala-born labor organizer, who brought together more than 100 groups in 1938 for El Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, the Spanish-Speaking People’s Congress. The display features objects representing her work as a civil rights activist and labor organizer with union pins as well as her shawl and a pamphlet to rally national attention and halt Moreno’s deportation.
Image below: Luisa Moreno's shawl - Gift of Vicki L. Ruiz.
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 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 was celebrated on May 15, 2018. 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."