The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has announced upcoming online events, engagement opportunities and educational initiatives for June, including “Curator Chats,” a new video series featuring commentary by museum curators on exhibits, initiatives, and topics in African American history and culture and an at-home Juneteenth celebration. 

All the museum’s digital resources and opportunities for online engagement are located on the museum’s newly created Digital Resource Guide webpage. Users may visit the museum’s resource guide, events page and follow @nmaahc on social media for the latest digital events, programming and initiatives. 

NMAAHC Curator Chats Series: The New Negro Renaissance During World War I

  • During Memorial Day, the museum debuted a new online video series named Curator Chats. In the first video of the series, museum specialist Tulani Salahu-Din discusses the emergence of the New Negro Renaissance during World War I. Curator Chats are video portraits of NMAAHC curators and museum specialists providing insight and anecdotes on exhibitions and upcoming projects. The first segment from Curator Chats is available at

NMAAHC Blog: Delaying Funerals Until It Is Safe to Gather Has Roots in African American “Secondary Burial” Traditions

NMAAHC Summer Reading Challenge 2020: "Reading Through the Galleries"
Monday, June 15–Monday, Aug. 31 

  • The museum is presenting a new digital experience this summer, the “NMAAHC Summer Reading Challenge 2020: Reading Through the Galleries.” This is a self-guided virtual program for third through 12th-grade students and their educators/guardians to read books related to themes of African American history. The program begins June 15 and concludes Aug. 31. Each month, the museum will share a booklist with book-related enrichment activities highlighting the museum’s three thematic areas: history, community and culture. Participants can view the NMAAHC Summer Reading Challenge at  

Meditation Mondays 
Every Monday in June (12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.)

  • In this virtual program, participants will contemplate the journey of black Americans toward liberation through meditation. During the 45-minute guided meditation session, attendees will have an opportunity to reflect on their liberation, closing with a brief discussion on the meaning of freedom. Meditator, yoga instructor and fundraising professional Ericka Phillips will lead the sessions. No experience, equipment or special clothing is necessary. Admission is free, and the program is available at

COVID-19: Crisis in Public Health and Trust
Tuesday, June 16 (11 a.m. to noon) 

  • A panel of the nation’s foremost experts discusses the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting impact on the African American community. Panelists include Algernon Austin, Ph.D., senior researcher, Thurgood Marshall Institute, NAACP Legal Defense Fund;Lisa Cooper, M.D. MPH, Johns Hopkins University, general internist, social epidemiologist and health services researcher; Spencer R. Crew, acting director, NMAAHC; David McBride, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, professor emeritus, Department of African American Studies and History; and Selwyn Vickers, M.D., vice president of medicine, University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine. Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered will moderate the discussion. The program will be available for viewing at

National History Day (NHD) at NMAAHC Student Documentary Showcase
Wednesday, June 17–Wednesday, June 24 (Smithsonian Learning Lab)

  • In collaboration with National History Day (NHD), the museum will showcase select short student documentaries created for the NHD competition that embody the mission and stories reflected in the museum. Student films were created based on this year’s theme narrative: Breaking Barriers in History. This program is supported by United Airlines. Admission is free; the showcase will be available for viewing at   

The Community at Home on Juneteenth
Friday, June 19 (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) 

  • The Juneteenth holiday commemorates June 19, 1865. On that day, approximately two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved communities in Texas learned they were free. During NMAAHC’s online celebration of Juneteenth, participants will enjoy live activities, including a discussion of the Juneteenth holiday led by the museum’s Oral History Manager Kelly Navies, based on her family’s long tradition of Juneteenth celebrations; a genealogy exercise led by an expert from the museum’s Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center; and a tale celebrating the ancestors told by renowned storyteller Diane Macklin. The program will be available for viewing at

NMAAHC and Google Arts and Culture: The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth
Friday, June 19

  • Our country’s "Second Independence Day" has long been celebrated among the African American community. To share this history, the museum partnered with Google Arts and Culture to present an online digital feature on the history and legacy of Juneteenth. Organizing historical images, video, and google maps, curator Mary Elliot explores the origins, evolution, and significance of the Juneteenth even today. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued nearly two years earlier, on June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Texas and read federal papers to free the enslaved people of Texas. Even in his order to free the enslaved, general Granger advised freedmen to “remain quietly at their present homes, and work for wages... and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” Exploring the history and legacy of Juneteenth provides an opportunity for Americans to pause and think about the meaning of freedom. The digital feature goes live, Friday, June 19th

Artists at Home 
Wednesday, June 24 (program occurs weekly)

  • In this digital, interactive program, students will engage in hands-on art-making and conversations about African American artists and different genres of visual art. Each session, led by an NMAAHC educator, will focus on a unique visual art piece and encourage discussion around a central question. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on art project using household materials. This program is for students from grades six–12. Admission is free; however, registration is required at

The Premiere of John Lewis—Good Trouble
Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. 

  • Director Dawn Porter uses interviews and rare archival footage in her highly-anticipated documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble. A Magnolia Pictures and Participant release, the film chronicles the U.S. Congressman from Georgia John Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on issues ranging from voting rights to immigration. A post-screening discussion will include a conversation between Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch and Porter. The film will be released in theaters and on-demand July 3. A limited number of tickets for this virtual screening will be available at


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 6 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000square-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, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

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Media Contacts

Jermaine House
(202) 322-7354;
Cierra Jefferson
(202) 633-7812

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