October 11, 2012
Friday, October 12: Design Craft: DreamHome
For everyone who loves art, design and endlessly watching HGTV: Design Craft at the Renwick brings together the Washington Design Center and the Gallery’s “40 Under 40″ exhibition of craft artists. Eight designers took specific pieces from the show to help inspire individual rooms in this year’s DreamHome. Two of the designers will be paired with the artist who inspired them in this discussion of inspiration and design. More than just an illuminating look at how the two fields often intersect, the insight into the creative process will allow the audience to watch how one object can create an entire room. So turn off the House Hunters for one night and head to the Renwick for a real-life dissection of a DreamHome. Free. 12 p.m. Renwick Gallery.
Saturday, October 13: All That Glitters: The Allure of Classic Jewelry
Emeralds, rubies and diamonds: in short, something for everyone. Royalty and commoners alike will enjoy this all-day discussion of the ways in which our preference for precious stones have changed over time. From the Victorian Age to the Art Nouveau era up into the Modern glamour of Art Deco and beyond. Stefanie Walker, a lecturer for the Smithsonian-Mason MA Program in the History of Decorative Arts, will lead the audience through a dazzling history. Wear your best gems and jewels and prepare for an educational day of eye candy. Tickets $85-$120. Ripley Center.
Sunday, October 14: Printmaking workshop with artist Jorge Porrata
Cuban poet and artist Jorge Luis Porrata has illustrated six books for the Miami-based publisher Homago. Sunday he joins the American Indian Museum to help the whole family craft a work of art. Though his work, both as an illustrator and widely published poet, emphasizes the interconnected nature of man across cultural traditions, Sunday’s workshop will focus on the Taino people. The Taino are native to the Caribbean islands including the Bahamas, and words from their language permeate the Spanish spoken in Cuba, as well as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Educational and arty, the workshop is open to all ages. Free. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Repeats at 2 p.m. American Indian Museum.
September 10, 2012
Tuesday September 11, When the Season is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska
This 2005 film features four contemporary Alaska Native artisans, a sculptor, a painter, a skin sewer and an ivory carver, who tell their personal stories of inspiration and cultural heritage. In a land where survival often depends on hunting and gathering, artistic production has a complicated relationship with culture and economics, which the film explores. Learn about both the history and future of artists practicing at the edge of the Earth. Free. 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. American Indian Museum, Rasmuson Theater.
Wednesday September 12, Online Discussion with Barbara Kruger
The artist behind such slogans as “I shop therefore I am” and “Belief+Doubt=Sanity” will be available for questions on Twitter. Kruger’s new installation at the Hirshhorn opened August 20, covering the lower lobby and bookstore with giant phrases and provocative words. Use hashtag “AskKruger” to join the discussion. Free. 2 p.m.
Thursday September 13, Edvard Munch, The Scream Heard Round the World
Join art historian and National Gallery of Art senior lecturer David Gariff to discuss Edvard Munch’s most famous painting. The work recently sold at auction for a cool $120 million, begging the question: wait…why? Gariff will explore the artist’s participation in the Expressionist movement, which challenged the conventions of subject matter, and also explore what makes this particular image so popular—even ranking a mention on The Simpsons. $40, general admission. Buy tickets online. 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. S. Dillon Ripley Center.
For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. And download our new Visitors Guide & Tours App for both iPhone and Android. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.
July 23, 2012
Tuesday July 24 Incredible Animal Journeys
From compasses to GPS to Siri, humans have needed help getting around as long as there was somewhere to get. But how do animals, traveling across continents, find their way? Biologist James Gould and science writer Carol Gould examine the wayfinding strategies of animals including monarch butterflies on their annual 2,000-mile journey to Mexico. After establishing the sophisticated techniques of these animal interlopers, Gould and Gould go on to ask how climate change has impacted migratory species. The duo, research associates at the Smithsonian, present their findings in their newest book, Nature’s Compass: The Secret Guide to Incredible Animal Journeys, available for purchase and signing at their evening lecture. Tickets available online. 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Ripley Center.
Wednesday July 25 Sahara Dance Company
The capital gets a little warmer Wednesday with a performance from the Middle Eastern-inspired Sahara Dance Company at the African Art Museum. The studio blends modern Egyptian, American and Lebanese styles of dance, creating performances that honor traditional dance as well as incorporate more experimental trends. Beginning Wednesday, there will be two daily demonstrations through Friday. Any activity that embraces loose-fitting clothing and bare feet in the summer is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Free. 12:30 and 1:15 p.m. African Art Museum Pavilion.
Thursday July 26 Brush Up Your Klingon: Adventures in Invented Languages
When the actors of Star Trek needed help with their language skills to speak Klingon, Vulcan or Romulan, they turned to English professor Michael Adams. Author of From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, Adams will be discussing how and why invented languages originate. Completing the Thursday four-man show will be Marc Okrand, inventor of the Klingon language, and two company members of WSC Avant Bard to show the audience how it’s done. For linguists and sci-fi fans alike, this lecture will explore the productive and entertaining implications of fantasy. Tickets available online. 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Ripley Center.
July 16, 2012
Tuesday, July 17 The Hidden World of Caves
The first cave many of us encounter is in the pages of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We’re told; “Within was a small chamber, chilly as an ice-house, and walled by Nature with solid limestone that was dewy with a cold sweat. It was romantic and mysterious to stand here in the deep gloom and look out upon the green valley shining in the sun.” National Speleological Society fellow Gregg Clemmer will lead a romantic and educational virtual tour of caves, covering everything from the striking architecture of mineral deposits to the many species living in these dark ecosystems. New technology even allows us to see where no researcher has ever been. 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. $35 general admission. S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Wednesday, July 18 Air Force Strolling Strings
You’ve heard of the Sultans of Swing but what about the ambassadors of music? The United States Air Force Strolling Strings ensemble has been performing for the White House and Capitol Hill since 1954. Get the presidential treatment this Wednesday with a midday concert showcasing the Strolling Strings many styles including bluegrass, Classical, Broadway and popular tunes. 12:30 p.m. Free. Wednesdays through August 1. Space Race, Gallery 114, Air and Space Museum.
Thursday, July 19 Take 5!
If music is a language, jazz is its poetry. Lending itself to collaboration and interpretation, jazz continues to provide fertile grounds and entertaining evenings. Join the American Art Museum for Thursday’s installment of Take 5! honoring the works of Thelonius Monk. Friends and fans of the legendary artist, Freddie Redd and Butch Warren will perform pieces by or inspired by Monk, including “I Remember Monk.” Accompanied by Brad Linde, Brian Settles and Tony Martucci, the quintet compliments the American Art Museum’s current exhibition, “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond.” Refreshments, board games and a chance to paint for those who register complete the event dedicated to the enduring impact of artists such as Thelonius Monk. 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Free. Kogod Courtyard, American Art Museum.
For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.
July 11, 2012
Getting around the Smithsonian museums has never been easier thanks to a partnership with Google Maps. Visitors using smart phone with Android can now get step by step walking directions through every floor of 17 of the Smithsonian’s museums, including the big three: the Air and Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the American History Museum.
After seven months of working together to confirm the exact location of museum artifacts, Smithsonian and Google launched the new indoor maps on Tuesday. The announcement was widely covered by publications and outlets including the Washington Post, CBS and Huffington Post.
The maps, which also include the National Zoo, currently cover 2.7 million square feet, but will continue to expand as the partnership moves forward. And because so many tourists and families come looking for particular objects, hundreds of artifacts can be easily located and set as their own destination.
Looking for the Hope Diamond? Just select the item and the map will guide you through the Museum of Natural History. Parents weighted down with diaper bags and snack reserves will delight in the ease of the application.
The product will be available through Google Maps for Android. The database now includes the African Art Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the American Art Museum, the American History Museum, the American Indian Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, the Freer Gallery, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Zoo, the Postal Museum, the Renwick Gallery, the Ripley Center, the Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Castle.
Stay tuned for even more exciting app news this month when the Smithsonian will be unveiling its newest tool for touring the museums in style.