Cultural Tourism DC Calendar

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American Civics @ The Mansion on O Street
Aug 20 all-day

The first-ever collaboration between acclaimed contemporary artist Shepard Fairey and the estate of legendary photographer Jim Marshall. In it, Fairey interprets Marshall’s iconic photography from the 1960’s, including images of Johnny Cash, Cesar Chavez, and Fannie Lee Chaney, with five new works, vividly depicting the humanity behind some of our country’s enduring social justice issues: Voting Rights, Mass Incarceration, Workers’ Rights, Gun Culture, and Two Americas. The art of American Civics gives a face to these issues to cultivate dialogue and encourage vigorous solutions to problems that have divided the country and eroded the core of the American ideals.

Artist Soldiers – Artistic Expression in the First World War @ National Air and Space Museum
Aug 20 all-day

The First World War remade the world geopolitically and transformed how societies engage and relate to military conflict.

Artistic expression during the war contributed to this transformation. Before World War I, war art largely depicted heroic military leaders and romanticized battles, done long after the fact, far from the battlefield. The First World War marked a turning point with the appearance of artwork intended to capture the moment in a realistic way, by first-hand participants.

This exhibition examines this form of artistic expression from two complementary perspectives. One is professional artists who were recruited by the U.S. Army, serving in the AEF. They were the first true combat artists. The other is soldiers who created artwork. Their self-expression in the form of stone carvings in underground shelters, hidden away for a century, has been brought to light for the first time through the stunning photographs of photographer, artist, and explorer, Jeff Gusky. Together, these soldier works of art shed light on World War I in a compelling and very human way.

A collaboration between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of American History.

Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now @ National Portrait Gallery
Aug 20 all-day
May 11, 2018 – March 10, 2019

Silhouettes—cut paper profiles—were a hugely popular and democratic form of portraiture in the 19th century, offering virtually instantaneous likenesses of everyone from presidents to those who were enslaved. The exhibition “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” explores this relatively unstudied art form by examining its rich historical roots and considering its forceful contemporary presence. The show features works from the Portrait Gallery’s extensive collection of silhouettes, such as those by Auguste Edouart, who captured the likenesses of such notable figures as John Quincy Adams and Lydia Maria Child, and at the same time, the exhibition reveals how contemporary artists are reimagining silhouettes in bold and unforgettable ways.

Congress and the Separation of Powers @ United States Capitol
Aug 20 all-day

Why does the U.S. Constitution separate the government into three branches? At the nation’s founding, the Constitution’s framers understood that executive, legislative, and judicial responsibilities differed, and they provided for these distinct functions. They also believed that concentrating authority in one body would result in tyranny. They therefore divided the government into legislative, executive, and judicial branches, so that no single part would become too strong, and empowered each to limit or “check” the powers of the others. This exhibit examines Congress’s unique role and the ways in which it can balance or dynamically shape and challenge the powers of other two branches.

Open through September 2018

The Capitol Visitor Center, the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street.

The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Diggers & Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On @ Embassy of Australia
Aug 20 all-day


In 2018, Australia and the United States celebrate a centenary of Mateship that was first forged in the trenches of World War I during the Battle of Hamel on July 4, 1918.

This exhibition of artwork from the Australian War Memorial’s collection pictorially documents the centenary of Mateship between our two countries. Many of the artworks were created on location by commissioned war artists and others as forms of propaganda. Each image acts as a historical record of the connection and camaraderie between Australia and the United States.


Date: 18 June – 29 August, 2018
Hours: 10am – 2pm
Location: Gallery @ Embassy of Australia 1601 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036 Open 10am until 2pm weekdays Photo ID essential for entry

Contact: For further information call 202.797.3000 or email:

Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists @ Library of Congress
Aug 20 all-day

The Library of Congress dug into its vaults to present this enlightening and in-depth exhibit on the immense contributions made by North American women to the art forms of illustration and cartooning. Drawn to Purpose stretches all the way back to the late 19th century, showing how women’s roles in the private and public sphere gradually increased, allowing for incredible self-expression and creativity.

The exhibition will be free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are not needed.

This exhibit runs through October 20.

Form & Function: The Genius of the Book @ Folger Shakespeare Library
Aug 20 all-day

Jun 16 – Sep 23, 2018

Mon–Sat: 10am–5pm | Sun: noon–5pm
Dive deep into one of the world’s greatest technologies—the book. Discover a history beyond what’s printed on the page, seen in the structure, craftsmanship, and beauty of this often-overlooked marvel. Curated by Renate Mesmer, the Folger’s head of conservation, Form and Function shows the Folger collection from a completely different perspective.
Fun House @ National Building Museum
Aug 20 all-day

For Fun House tickets at the National Building Museum. Tickets are timed and include one hour in Fun Houseand access to all other Museum exhibitions.

Tickets for August will be released July 13.

On display JULY 4-SEPTEMBER 3, 2018

Free: National Building Museum Members; join today.
$16: Adult
$13: Youth (ages 3-17), Student with ID, Senior (ages 60+), AARP Member with ID
$10: Blue Star (ages 3+; limit 6 per family with military ID)

After you purchase your tickets, look out for a confirmation email.

Monday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
The Building Zone closes at 4 pm

Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018 @ National Museum of Women in the Arts
Aug 20 all-day

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018 on through September 16, 2018

Heavy Metal, the fifth installment in NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series, showcases contemporary artists working in metal. The exhibition series is presented every two to three years and is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and participating outreach committees. The 20 committees participating in Women to Watch 2018 worked with curators in their respective regions to create shortlists of artists working with metal. From this list, NMWA curators selected the artists whose work is on view in Heavy Metal.


Lately Arrived: Recent Additions to the Collection @ DAR Museum
Aug 20 all-day

Lately Arrived: Recent Additions to the Collection

June 25 – December 30, 2018

The author Erik Larson once wrote, “One of the things I’ve always loved is collecting telling little details.”

This exhibit is a collection of “telling little details;” details of lives, of skills, of movements and communities. The 60 objects, which we recently added to our collection, are organized to present a few of the characteristics we consider when we choose to collect an item. One overall theme that joins all together is the desire to understand. Objects help us gain a better comprehension of how our ancestors lived and worked; how they created communities and how, when the need arose, changed their way of life.

Open Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4 pm and Saturday 9 am – 5 pm.

Questions? Contact Museum staff at 202.879.3241 or

National Geographic: Exploration Starts Here @ The National Geographic Museum
Aug 20 all-day

Where and when did exploration get its start at National Geographic?

Find out in “National Geographic: Exploration Starts Here,” a permanent exhibition showcasing the greatest hits from our long and storied history of discovery. Go on expedition alongside our scientists, adventurers, and storytellers to discover where we’ve been and how much further we plan to go. Examine artifacts like the camera Robert Peary used at the North Pole and pots recovered from a shipwreck by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Watch video from the top of Mount Everest and Jane Goodall’s research camp. And learn the untold stories behind the discoveries of Machu Picchu and the Titanic.

Come see where exploration starts! This exhibit is located in the M St. building lobby.

OPEN DAILY 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man @ Renwick Gallery
Aug 20 all-day

Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 75,000 people rises out of the dust for a single week. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. The thriving temporary metropolis known as Burning Man is a hotbed of artistic ingenuity, driving innovation through its principles of radical self-expression, decommodification, communal participation, and reverence for the handmade. Both a cultural movement and an annual event, Burning Man remains one of the most influential phenomenons in contemporary American art and culture.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time. The exhibition takes over the entire Renwick Gallery building and surrounding neighborhood, bringing alive the maker culture and creative spirit of this cultural movement.

Playball @ National Museum of the U.S. Navy
Aug 20 all-day
National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Bldg.76, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. 

The National Museum of the U.S. Navy (NMUSN) to host a baseball-themed exhibition.  Playball:  Navy and the National Pastime will debut on April 2, 2018 ahead of the Washington Nationals season opener and the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Nationals Park.  The exhibit will be on display through April 30, 2019 at the historic Washington Navy Yard at 736 Sicard Street SE, adjacent to the ballpark.  The National Museum of the U.S. Navy is free and open to the general public.

Making its debut on the east coast, Playball explores the relationship between baseball and the U.S. Navy from its earliest years through modern day.  The exhibit highlights the role of fitness in the early Navy leading to the birth of baseball in the Navy, the game during the times of war, and the inclusion of women and minorities.

All visitors must have a valid photo ID to enter the Washington Navy Yard to visit the National Museum of the United States Navy. Visitors without a DoD CAC, Uniformed ID and Privileges Card, USG-issued ID, Federal PIV Credentials, or TWIC or an escort with one of these credentials must report to the Visitor Control Center (VCC) at the primary access gate at 11th and O Streets SE (GPS address is 1022 O Street SE, Washington, DC).

The VCC is open weekdays, 6:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Remembering Vietnam @ National Archives
Aug 20 all-day

Remembering Vietnam addresses 12 important moments in the Vietnam War. The National Archives’ Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery hosts this exhibit that features recently discovered documents that shed light on essential details of the war. Learn of the decisions made to enter the war, the reason for its immense length and the great division that it brought to the U.S. through artifacts that can only be observed at the National Archives.
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | Free admission

The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers @ National Portrait Gallery
Aug 20 all-day

See the exhibit The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which combines art and social history with representations of American laborers across centuries of art. Artists such as Winslow Homer, Dorothea Lange, Elizabeth Catlett and Lewis Hine depict laborers throughout the changing landscape of America. From child and slave laborers to miners and steel workers, the media highlights a connection between the artists and their subjects. This exhibition continues through September 3.

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