December 5, 2013
The Smithsonian is here to get you into the swing of the holiday season by way of a free, two-day festival happening this weekend. Come out to the mall for two days of movies, music, book signings and (of course), shopping. For all gifts purchased at the Air and Space, American History and Natural History Museum stores, volunteers will be on hand to wrap your presents from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. And if you need help getting around, the Smithsonian Holiday Shuttle Bus will loop the National Mall every fifteen minutes from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM, stopping at the American History Museum, Smithsonian Castle, Air and Space Museum, American Indian Museum and Natural History Museum. Getting excited? Here’s the rundown of events.
Saturday, December 7
Air and Space Museum
9:30 AM-3:00 PM: Holiday Festival Family Activities for All Ages
Learn about comets and make a decorative comet ornament to take home. Learn how different cultures around the world told different stories about the same groups of stars, discover your Tibetan sun sign and then decorate your Greek sun sign. Design and create a paper Native American star quilt.
11:00 AM-2:00 PM: NASA Star Quilt Activity
Create a star-themed fabric quilt block to add to the block created by astronaut Karen Nyberg aboard the International Space Station. Nyberg has invited the public to create star-themed blocks to be combined into a community quilt for the 2014 International Quilt Festival. This event repeats on December 8 at the same time and venue.
11:00 AM-4:00 PM: Trunk Show: Alpha Industries
Alpha Industries has been making military garments for over 50 years. Come explore our assortment of Alpha flight jackets, including our most popular style, the MA-1, which has a bright orange lining used during rescue missions.
11:00 AM-5:00 PM: Trunk Show: Red Canoe
Red Canoe offers aviation inspired apparel and accessories perfect for the flight enthusiast. Meet Dax Wilkinson, Founder and President of Red Canoe, and shop their line featuring products inspired by Boeing, Cessna, Lockheed Martin and North American Aviation. This event repeats on December 8 at 10:00 AM at the same venue.
11:00 AM: US Air Force Band Holiday Concert: Max Impact
Come listen to Max Impact, the United States Air Force’s six-man rock band as they perform a lively holiday concert. This event repeats today at 12:00 PM, and 1:00 PM, and again on December 8 at 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM.
3:00 PM-5:00 PM: Book Signing: Margaret Weitekamp, David DeVorkin and Diane Kidd
Air and Space Museum curators Margaret Weitekamp and David DeVorkin teamed up with illustrator Dianne Kidd to create the children’t book Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery. Meet the authors and illustrator and have your copy of the book signed.
American History Museum
9:30 AM-5:00 PM: Jewelry Trunk Show: Anne Koplik Designs
Anne Koplik’s handmade, vintage-inspired jewelry has studded the fashion scene for the past 30 years and has been featured on television programs such as Dancing With the Stars and America’s Got Talent. A selection of her bangles and baubles will be available for purchase at the museum store. This event repeats on December 8 at the same time and venue.
10:00 AM-5:00 PM: $10 for 10 mins.: Smithsonian Tours by Segway
In the market for alternative modes of transportation? Try the Segway PT for 10 minutes for only $10. If you enjoyed your test run, save your receipt and get $10 off a Smithsonian Segway tour, where you can enjoy a scenic glide along the National Mall. Tickets are required: $10 for the 10-minute Segway experience. This event repeats on December 8 at the same time and venue.
11:00 AM-3:00 PM: The Polar Express 3D
A special, 12-minute 3D adaptation of the Chris Van Allsburg children’s book will be screened at the Warner Brothers Theater. Tickets are $5 and are on sale outside the Warner Brothers Theater. Multiple screenings will occur each hour between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. This event repeats on December 8 at the same time and venue.
11:00 AM-1:00 PM: Book Signing: David Bruce Smith
Author David Bruce Smith signs copies of his books Three Miles from Providence, a work of historical fiction about a Mexican-American War veteran called to guard Abraham Lincoln, and American Hero, an illustrated biography of founding father and Chief Justice John Marshall.
11:00 AM-1:00 PM: Book Signing: Susan Castriota
Author Susan Castriota signs copies of her children’s book Wilson and the White House Pups, the story of an adopted poodle who travels back in time to meet the dogs who inhabited the White House.
11:00 AM-2:00 PM: U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants
The official chorus of the United States Air Force will fill Flag Hall with the sounds of the holidays. Each performance begins on the hour and lasts approximately 20 minutes.
1:00 PM-3:00 PM: Book Signing: Richard Kurin
The Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture Richard Kurin signs copies of his book The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects, which tells the story of the United States from the pre-Columbian era to the present, all in 101 objects from the Institution’s vast collections.
3:00 PM-5:00 PM: Book Signing: Ann Mah
Food and travel writer Ann Mah signs copies of her book Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris, in which she chronicles her gastronomic adventures in the City of Light.
3:00 PM-5:00 PM: Book Signing: Roland Mesnier
Chef Roland Mesnier, who served sweets to five presidents of the United States, signs copies of his culinary memoir A Sweet World of White House Desserts. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of pie made from Brown’s recipes, for sale in the Stars & Stripes Café.
3:00 PM-5:00 PM: Book Signing: Warren Brown
Lawyer-turned-baker Warren Brown, founder of CakeLove bakery, will sign copies of his fourth book Pie Love: Inventive Recipes for Sweet and Savory Pies, Galettes, Pastry Cremes, Tarts, and Turnovers.
3:30 PM-5:00 PM: Puppet Demonstration and Book Signing: the Puppet Co.
Puppet Master Christopher Piper brings to life a Circus Bear, Cinderella’s bossy stepmother, and shows kids how to make a sassy hand puppet with a simple rubber ball. Afterward, Piper is joined by fellow Puppet Masters MayField Piper and Allan Stevens to sign copies of their book of the Puppet Co.’s The Nutcracker, illustrated with color photographs from the production, and celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the show. This event repeats today at 3:30 pm and 4:15 pm.
10:00 AM-4:00 PM: Trunk Show: Kyoto Kimono
Kyoto Kimono offers one-of-a-kind vintage Japanese garments straight from the temple markets and auction houses of Kyoto, Japan. Each vintage kimono is unique, offering its own expression of Japanese life and culture. Come shop our assortment, as well as special trunk show only items, and take home your own piece of wearable art. This event repeats on December 8 at the Natural History Museum.
1:00 PM-4:00 PM: Book Signing: Laura Kelley
Laura Kelley signs copies of her book The Silk Road Gourmet in which she chronicles the cuisine of 30 Asian countries in 1,000 recipes.
Natural History Museum
9:30 AM-5:00 PM: Jewelry Trunk Show: Meridian Jewelry & Design
Inspired by peoples and places from all over the world, designers Lynn and Brad Ölander draw on both old world aesthetics and modern streamlined forms in their collections of handmade jewelry
11:10 AM: Jerusalem 3D
Jerusalem 3D takes you on an inspiring and eye-opening tour of one of the worlds oldest and most enigmatic cities. Destroyed and rebuilt countless times over the past 5,000 years, Jerusalem’s enduring appeal remains a mystery. What made it so important to so many different cultures? How did it become the center of the world for three major religions? Why does it still matter to us? Tickets are required: $9 for adults; $8 for seniors; $7.50 for youth. Tickets may be purchased in advance online or at the Johnson IMAX Theater box office. This event repeats today at 1:50 PM and 3:20 PM and again on December 8 at the same times and venue.
1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Story Time: Dino Tracks with Rhonda Lucas Donald
Author Rhonda Lucas Donald and illustrator Cathy Morrison present their story, Dino Tracks. Come learn which dinosaurs made the tracks and what scientists think they were doing when they made them. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.
2:00 PM-3:00 PM: Book Signing: Rhonda Lucas Donald
Author Rhonda Lucas Donald signs copies of her children’s books Dino Tracks and Deep in the Desert.
1:00 PM: Holiday Card Workshop
Come to the Postal Museum for this arts and crafts workshop where you can create your own personal, one-of-a-kind holiday greeting cards. Look to the museum’s collection of beautiful holiday stamps to inspire your creations.
11:00 AM-4:00 PM: Jewelry Trunk Show: Cynthia Gale
Cynthia Gale finds inspiration from the collections of American cultural institutions, such as the Kennedy Center and the New York Historical Society, to create her handmade works of sterling silver jewelry.
Sunday, December 8
Air and Space Museum
12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Book Signing: Tami Lewis Brown
Author Tami Lewis Brown will sign copies of her children’s book Soar, Elinor!, the true story of Elinor Smith who earned her aviator’s license at the tender age of 16 and went on to be hailed as one of the best pilots in America.
American History Museum
11:00 AM-2:00 PM: U.S. Air Force Silver Wings
The premier country band of the United States Air Force will fill Flag Hall with music. Each performance begins on the hour and lasts approximately 20 minutes.
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Book Signing: Brian Jay Jones
Author Brian Jay Jones will sign copies of Jim Henson: The Biography, his account of the famous puppeteer and creator of the Muppets.
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Book Signing: John Fricke
Author John Fricke will sign copies of The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic, his latest book on the beloved 1939 movie.
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Book Signing: Paula Fleming
Author Paula Fleming will sign copies of her book Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell, a book that reprints a series of 19th-century 3D postcards depicting supernatural scenes. Antique stereoscope viewers will be available near the book signing so you can experience first hand the original 3D entertainment.
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Walt Whitman High School Chamber Choir
The Walt Whitman High School of Bethesda, Maryland, Chamber Choir is the school’s most advanced choral group. The Chamber Choir has long been considered a flagship of excellence among high school choirs throughout the state of Maryland. The group performs a mix of a cappella pieces from a variety of choral styles, as well as holiday songs. Select jazz octets also perform lighter selections.
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Tranquil Tuesdays Tea Tasting Event
Meet Charlene Wang, founder of Tranquil Tuesdays, an online business that showcases China’s finest teas, and sample authentic Chinese tea in this tasting event.
June 20, 2013
Artworks either hang on the wall or sit on the shelf, so by and large, you wouldn’t think that they would require much in the line of maintenance aside from the occasional cleaning. Not so. Art pieces can be made from a wide variety of materials, each one with its own set of potential care and maintenance issues. But even a well meaning cleaning job can ruin an object or devalue it. Countless episodes of Antiques Roadshow bear witness to that catastrophe. The value of bronzes and Tiffany lamps are decimated once an overzealous polishing job removes the original surface quality of the work.
While garments come with tags that instruct you on how to launder your clothes and tech companies offer help desks for when your gadgets malfunction, but rarely does an artwork come with an instruction manual for how it should be maintained. This kind of knowledge belongs to the pros, like those at the Lunder Conservation Center, whose counsel I sought recently.
A recent purchase of a vintage poster on eBay from the 1950 Judy Garland/Gene Kelly musical Summer Stock arrived in my mailbox with more than its share of issues. The gauzy photos used in the auction listing hid a lot of the stains, the severe creases, and on taking the poster out of its grungy wood frame, I discovered packing tape patches on the back that had me feeling a little ill at ease. While still the perfect pop of color to brighten the living room wall, this poster was one sick puppy. It was time to contact Lunder.
Kate Maynor, who has been a conservator at the American Art Museum since 1986, greeted me at the Lunder Conservation Center’s paper lab. As I laid my poster on a table for examination, Maynor began by explaining the nature of the beast.
“Paper,” she said, “is a very open and porous. It makes works on paper very vulnerable to agents of deterioration.” She began by examining the back of the poster, and immediately pointed to the packing tape patches. It turns out that they were much worse than a merely inelegant repair job. Maynor explained that adhesives can cause an alarming amount of deterioration because the adhesive can migrate into the paper, causing it to stain or turn transparent. The other problem was surface grime—and the poster had plenty of that—which can also migrate and effect the aesthetic quality on the reverse side of the artwork.
Turning the poster over, Maynor brought over a halogen lamp and illuminated the poster from the side. While not a lighting choice for standard display purposes, it revealed tears and silverfish damage I never noticed when examining the piece at home. She then pointed brown acid stains caused by a bad frame job, explaining that, before the advent of acid-free and archival-grade materials, framers would use whatever was on hand to prepare an artwork for presentation. She had even seen cases where wood roofing shingles were used to back paper pieces, and over time, imparted wood grain-patterned acid stains onto an artwork.
Now that I had seen the poster, warts and all, it was time to brace myself for Maynor’ diagnosis. “What I try to do in order to discuss this is ascertain which of these conditions are contributing to the deterioration of the artwork and which conditions are stable,” she said. “And we have to weigh the effect of those condition problems. Some kinds of disfiguring stains might not be as important in an archival piece as opposed to an artwork where aesthetics are important. We have to be mindful of the original characteristics: is it glossy, is it matte, etc. All those characteristics need to be noted and maintained during treatment.”
Thankfully, the poster’s condition is unlikely to get worse, she assured me. The tape should be removed sooner than later and the piece should be surface cleaned. When re-framing, I should make sure that I use a mat board, so that the paper can breathe, and consider having a professional framer do the job since tapes are usually used to affix an artwork to the mat board in a DIY frame job. Before leaving, she wrote down a list of conservators in the area I could contact, and I was able to leave the museum with a game plan for how to ensure that Judy and Gene can beautify my walls for years to come.
March 31, 2011
Friday, April 1: Home-School Open House
The Portrait Gallery Education Department hosts this home-school open house with mini-tours of special exhibitions, story time for children, hands-on arts activities and resources, including a Smithsonian Field Trip Kit. Free, but registration is required. Attendees should e-mail email@example.com the number and ages of children, number of adults, and the city and state of residence. National Portrait Gallery, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM.
Saturday, April 2: NanoDays 2011
An ideal event for children, Spark!Lab hosts its third NanoDays—a nationwide celebration of nanotechnology aimed at teaching the general public about science and invention and the role it plays in our lives. Spark!Lab staff and docents help visitors conduct experiments and demonstrations, including: constructing a giant model of a carbon nanotube entirely from balloons; measuring height in nanometers and creating a liquid crystal display that changes color. You will also have an opportunity to talk with Dr. Heather Clark of Northeastern University about her work inventing nano glucose sensors. This event repeats on Sunday, April 3 at the same time and location. Free. American History Museum, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM.
Sunday, April 3: PHEON
Do you have what it takes to win control of a secret world? Test your ingenuity by exploring, creating and texting your way around American Art in this multimedia scavenger hunt. You will need a cell phone with text messaging enabled, comfortable shoes and a sense of adventure. Learn more about this text-based adventure game at Pheon.org. To play, sign up in the Luce Foundation Center between 2:30 and 4 PM. Free. American Art Museum, 2:30 PM-6:00 PM.
For updates on all exhibitions and events, visit our companion website goSmithsonian.com
March 28, 2011
Monday, March 28: March Film Screening: My Name Is Kahentiiosta
Kahentiiosta, a young Kahnawake Mohawk woman, took part in a 78-day armed standoff in 1990 as a part of a land dispute between the Mohawks and the Canadian federal government. Arrested and imprisoned, she was detained longer than her peers because the prosecutor refused to let her stand trial using her native name. Learn about Kahentiiosta’s story and why she was prepared to die to protect the land and trees sacred to the Mohawk people of Kanehsatake. Free. American Indian Museum, 3:30-4:00 PM. This event repeats daily, except Wednesdays, through the month of March.
Tuesday, March 29: GE Aviation Lecture: “You Can Do This!” From Skyhawks over North Vietnam to Command of NATO Forces in Bosnia
As a naval aviator, Vice Adm. Leighton “Snuffy” Smith flew carrier-based light attack jet aircraft during multiple deployments to the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Western Pacific, and Indian oceans. This evening, he discusses some of his most critical challenges — from his jet combat missions over Vietnam to the command of the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia. Free, but tickets required. Reserve tickets online or call 202-633-2398. Air and Space Museum, 8:00 PM.
Wednesday, March 30: International Sweethearts of Rhythm: Jazz and Civil Rights
In this event sponsored by the American History Museum, learn about the women of jazz in a discussion featuring the “International Sweethearts of Rhythm,” members of the Jen Krupa-Leigh Pilzer Quintet, film director Judy Chaikin and moderator David Baker (maestro, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra). See clips from Chaikin’s new film Girls in the Band and stay for swing dancing and live music by the Jen Krupa-Leigh Pilzer Quintet. Please note this event will be taking place at Artosphere in Arlington, VA and NOT at the American History Museum. Free. Artisphere, 7:00 PM.
Thursday, March 31: Remembering Lena Horne
Tonight, the National Museum of American History and the National Portrait Gallery pay tribute to the life, career and civil rights legacy of the legendary entertainer Lena Horne. Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of the PBS series American Masters, joins Horne’s daughter Gail Lumet Buckley in a discussion moderated by Smithsonian curator Dwight Blocker Bowers and George Washington University program producer Richard Golden. Afterwards, enjoy a special screening of the American Masters documentary Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice. Free. National Portrait Gallery, 6:30-9:00 PM
Friday, April 1: NanoDays 2011
Come on out to Spark!Lab and take part in NanoDays, a nationwide celebration of nanotechnology aimed at teaching the general public—particularly children—about nano science and invention and the role it plays in our lives. Spark!Lab staff and docents help visitors conduct experiments and demonstrations, including: constructing a giant model of a carbon nanotube entirely from balloons; measuring height in nanometers and creating a liquid crystal display that changes color. Free. American History Museum, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
For updates on all exhibitions and events, visit our companion site goSmithsonian.com
March 24, 2011
Friday, March 25: Disorder
Using footage taken by amateur filmmakers, director Huang Weikai stitched short segments together to create a one-of-a-kind documentary. The film captures the anarchy, violence and seething anxiety animating China’s major cities today, as urbanization advances at a breakneck pace. One man dances in the middle of traffic while another tries to jump from a bridge before dozens of onlookers. Pigs run wild on a highway while dignitaries swim in a polluted river. Such scenes, which can’t be shown on China’s heavily controlled television networks, reflect an emerging underground media in Chinese society. Mandarin with English subtitles. Free. Freer, 7:00 PM.
Saturday, March 26: Portrait Story Days: Pocahontas
If your knowledge of Pocahontas comes by way of the 1995 Disney cartoon—or any of the many popular myths about her that still pervade our culture—you owe it to yourself to visit the National Portrait Gallery for Portrait Story Day. Learn the real story behind the you Native American woman who married English settler John Rolfe and then create your own work of art. Ideal for young visitors accompanied by an adult. Free. National Portrait Gallery, 1:00-4:00 PM.
Sunday, March 27: Painted Parasols
As you tour the Freer and Sackler Galleries, pay special attention to the flower motifs in the clothes and accessories of Japanese women as they stroll through parks in springtime. Then, in the Freer courtyard, paint a paper parasol to carry as you visit the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin. Free. Sackler Gallery, 2:00 PM.
For updates on all exhibitions and events, visit our companion site goSmithsonian.com