Smithsonian Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
The Smithsonian is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15) with a series of vibrant performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events and information about tickets, visit smithsonianeducation.org/heritage.
The Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month will be a Family Day Festival held in conjunction with the exhibition “Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed” at the National Museum of the American Indian, Saturday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The day will include a dance by Aval, a musical demonstration by Quiche Maya artist Carlos Chaclan, food demonstrations and pottery workshops.
Also in conjunction with the exhibition “Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed,” the National Museum of the American Indian will host a symposium, “Revealing Ancestral Central America,” Sunday, Sept. 8, 10:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Panelists include leading scholars of Mesoamerica’s indigenous heritage.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum will screen the final hour of the landmark six-hour PBS documentary “Latino Americans” Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Ray Telles, the documentary’s producer; Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour; and E. Carmen Ramos, curator of the museum’s upcoming exhibition “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.”
The National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, will host a panel to discuss contemporary “indigeneity” in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. “Self-Discovery and Indigeneity in the Caribbean” will take place Saturday, Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The dynamic Brooklyn band Jarana Beat will perform at the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, New York City, Saturday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m.
The Anacostia Community Museum will host “Metro Mambo: The Legendary Tito Puente” Saturday, Sept. 28, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by Jim Byers (WPFW 89.3 FM’s “Latin Flavor”) the event includes an intimate retrospective of the legendary Tito Puente, followed by a dance party featuring one of the region’s top bands. The event is free, but space is limited; for information and reservations, call (202) 633-4844.
Taíno book illustrator Jorge Luis Porrata shares stories based on Mayan folktales and leads a class for children to create clay sculptures based on the stories, at the National Museum of the American Indian Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7–8 and 28–29, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The event is free, but tickets are required for the craft portion. Pick up free tickets in the Activity Center.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum will celebrate Hispanic heritage with an afternoon of salsa music, dance demonstrations by the Eileen Torres Dancers and a salsa scavenger hunt for kids Sunday, Sept. 15, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The National Portrait Gallery will host two portrait story days for visitors to learn more about Latino activists César Chávez (Sunday, Sept. 15, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and Dolores Huerta (Saturday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Visitors can meet Hispanic astronauts, scientists and engineers, and participate in bilingual activities during the Hispanic Heritage Family Day at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, Saturday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The National Zoo’s Fiesta Musical will feature animal demonstrations, Latin American music, gourmet cuisine at a Latin American-inspired food bazaar and traditional crafts Sunday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The National Museum of Natural History will host “Luis Garay’s Percussion Explosion” Friday, Oct. 4 at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Garay’s sensational Percussion World ensemble unleashes the primal power of congas, bongos, steel drums and marimbas. The young audience explores math to the beat of the tradition music of Caribbean and all of Latin America. For ticket information, call (202) 633-8700 or visit discoverytheater.org.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, walk-in tours during the month feature a work by a Latino artist at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Meet in the F Street Lobby.
The National Museum of the American Indian presents “Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed,” a bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibition that illuminates Central America’s diverse and dynamic ancestral heritage with a selection of more than 160 objects from seven cultural areas and spanning three thousand years of history. The exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art,” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists active in the United States since the mid-20th century. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. It explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture. The exhibition is open daily beginning Friday, Oct. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The National Museum of American History presents “A Room of Her Own: My Mother’s Altar,” an installation created by Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo, based on Day of the Dead traditions to honor her mother. The installation will be open daily starting Friday Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Cisneros will be available for a book signing near the exhibit Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. The National Museum of the American Indian will host a discussion with Cisneros at its Rasmuson Theater Saturday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.