The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is offering a wide range of programs for all ages to start the new year. The winter programs schedule kicks off with the museum’s annual community program, The People’s Holiday, Monday, Jan. 16. This year’s theme will explore who inspired Martin Luther King Jr., who he inspired and what he was like as a person. King’s original speech from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will also be on display. The case containing the speech, which was initially on display in the fall, will be reinstalled just in time for visitors to view the historical document during this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It will be on view in the “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom” gallery. The museum’s Sweet Home Café will also celebrate the holiday with a special menu featuring some of King’s favorite dishes, including ribs, collard greens and a gelatin dessert his mother made called Quilly.

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Following this year’s theme of “Black Resistance” chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, NMAAHC’s Black History Month webpage and social media channels will amplify stories of Black resistance throughout February. The museum will focus on five weekly sub-themes of Black resistance and share objects and stories on how African Americans have practiced resistance from arriving in the Americas to today. To amplify the theme of “Leaning into Black Joy,” there will be a community day honoring the 25th anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway.

The weekly topics include:

Week 1: A Tradition of Activism
Week 2: Foundations of Faith
Week 3: The Value of Education
Week 4: The Black Press
Week 5: Leaning into Black Joy

The museum will also host an array of programs honoring the African American experience throughout February.

All programs held in the museum’s Oprah Winfrey Theater will stream live on the museum’s Ustream channel at ustream.tv.

January Programming
Community Event: The People’s Holiday
Monday, Jan. 16; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET (Concourse, 1st and 2nd Floor)

The museum’s annual community program, The People’s Holiday, will explore the inspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. The event will take a deeper look at who inspired him, who he inspired and what he was like as a person. Through hands-on activities, reenactors, tours, music and food, visitors can discover answers to these questions.

Historically Speaking: Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party—An Evening with Stephen Shames and Ericka Huggins
Tuesday, Jan. 31; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Photographer Stephen Shames presents rarely seen images featured in the book Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party. Co-authored with former party leader Ericka Huggins, the book chronicles the history of women and their importance within this critical grassroots movement. Following Shames’ presentation, Angela Tate, NMAAHC curator of women’s history, will moderate a conversation with Huggins, Hazel Mack, Cheryl Dawson and Lynn French. During this discussion, they will explore how Comrade Sisters rewrites the record of the women who, as teachers, students, writers, musicians, medics, mothers, daughters, aunties, worshipers and factory laborers, grew the movement by taking the well-being of the community into their own hands. Copies of the book will be for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Books. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

February Programming
Public Program: Black Homesteaders of the South with Bernice A. Bennett
Saturday, Feb. 4; noon to 1:30 p.m. ET (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

Genealogist Bernice A. Bennett will uncover the stories of African American families who became landowners through the Homestead Act of 1862 from her latest book Black Homesteaders of the South. Bennett’s work is a modern story of Black genealogists who networked through a Facebook page to trace the footsteps of their ancestors in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. Participants can find out how these families navigated the application process through the federal government and what this legacy means for their descendants today. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

NMAAHC Kids Learning Together: Black History Month
Feb. 4, 10, 13 and 21; 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. ET

Throughout February, the Learning Together series (designed for children ages 6 and up) will hold discussions with a veterinarian, an ice skater, a chef and a doctor to learn about their incredible work and how it is similar to well-known Black characters from children’s movies and television. Learning Together is a virtual program series that invites children to learn together with museum educators and special guests about a range of topics from identity, culture and activism to STEM, art and history.

  • Celebrating Encanto
    Saturday, Feb. 4; 11 a.m. ET
    Inspired by Encanto’s Antonio, veterinarian Dr. Lauren Davidson will teach about animal behavior and care and answer questions live. Then, participants can create art inspired by Antonio’s colorful toucan friend, Pico. Admission is free; however, registration is required.
  • Celebrating Frozone
    Friday, Feb. 10; 11 a.m. ET
    Inspired by The Incredibles’ Frozone, figure skater and coach Joel Savary will talk about how to skate, share what he loves about the sport and answer questions live. Then, participants can learn more about ice with a hands-on science experiment led by a museum educator. Admission is free; however, registration is required.
  • Celebrating Princess Tiana
    Monday, Feb. 13; 11 a.m. ET
    Inspired by The Princess and the Frog’s Princess Tiana, chef Scotty Scott will share his love for cooking and the special way food brings people together and will answer questions live. Then, participants can share their favorite dish through a 3D art project. Admission is free; however, registration is required.
  • Celebrating Doc McStuffins
    Tuesday, Feb. 21; 11 a.m. ET
    Inspired by Disney’s Doc McStuffins, Dr. Maia McCuiston will teach children about her job as a pediatrician and what makes people’s bodies so special. Then, they will be empowered by a body-positivity activity led by a museum educator. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

Screening: Through the African American Lens: Afrofuturism: Black to the Future
Wednesday, Feb. 8; 7 p.m. ET (Oprah Winfrey Theater)

In support of NMAAHC’s newest exhibition, “Afrofuturism—A History of Black Futures,” the museum will present the documentary Black to the Future produced by the Smithsonian Channel. This film features insights from Kevin Strait, NMAAHC curator of the Afrofuturism exhibition and contributor to its companion collection of essays. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

Community Day: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway
Monday, Feb. 20

NMAAHC is hosting a Community Day celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway. The festivities will include show-themed workshops led by Disney Theatrical Teaching Artists (separate passes required) and other in-museum activities for the whole family. We invite you to join us in this celebration of Black joy. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

Historically Speaking: Next Generation of Black Leaders in Geneticists
Thursday, Feb. 23; 7 p.m., ET (Heritage Hall)

NMAAHC presents the third in a series of four discussions organized in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute. During this program, panelists will explore the work of a new generation of African American biomedical scientists conducting groundbreaking research. Chris Williams, STEM education specialist at NMAAHC, will lead a conversation with scholars Carter Clinton and Tina Lasisi. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 8.5 million in-person visitors and millions more through its digital presence. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

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Media Contacts

Jason Spear
(202) 445-7456
spearj@si.edu

Melissa Wood
(202) 297-6161
woodm2@si.edu

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