Cultural Tourism DC Calendar

Back to Website

Mar
24
Sun
Gallery Talk: “The Tale of Genji in Japanese Art”
Mar 24 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Celebrate the beginning of spring—and of the National Cherry Blossom Festival! Join Freer|Sackler curator Frank Feltens for a tour of Japanese masterpieces depicting scenes from the Tale of Genji.

Mar
26
Tue
Free Landmark Lecture: The Power of Family @ Tudor Place Historic House & Garden
Mar 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Children of the Pater Patriae: George Washington’s Step-Grandchildren and the Power of Family, presented by Cassandra Good, Assistant Professor of History, Marymount University

No family better displayed the enduring value of family ancestry in the new republic than the next generation of George Washington’s family. His step-grandchildren, the Custises, may not have shared a last name with the first president, but they readily invoked their family connections as a source of prestige and political legitimacy. Martha Custis Peter and her three siblings all lived and built homes in the DC area, where they positioned themselves as Washington’s heirs. They prominently displayed their Washington lineage with Washington furniture and relics in their houses (and even on their bodies) to bolster their social and political status. Decades into the nineteenth century, they continued to give small gifts of objects associated with Washington to reinforce their membership in the illustrious president’s family. Through these means, Martha and her siblings gained high social standing and access to political leaders. Masking their somewhat aristocratic pretensions behind a screen of affectionate attachment, the Custises paved the way for family to serve as a source of power in America.

Admission is free/pay what you can, with donations welcome. Doors open at 6 p.m., lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.

Mar
28
Thu
Clara Barton at Andersonville @ Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Mar 28 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Historian Mary Kate Robbett will discuss Clara Barton and her relationship with the infamous Confederate prison in Georgia at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6:00 PM.

The current historiography on Civil War prisons discusses Andersonville’s uses and meanings during Reconstruction, but offers only passing mention of Barton. Robbett’s presentation will look at the ways Barton’s public work fits into the larger story of Americans’ memories of Andersonville as well as Barton’s contributions to the postwar conversation and rhetoric about the treatment of POWs.

Mary Kate Robbett graduated from George Washington University’s Museum Studies M.A. program in May, 2017. While there, she received the program’s Marie C. Malaro Excellence in Research and Writing Award. She currently works at the National Museum of American History as a Spark!Lab Facilitator.

Mar
30
Sat
Empresses Exhibition Opening Day
Mar 30 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Celebrate Women’s History Month and the opening of the landmark exhibition Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912, with activities for all ages throughout the museums. Be transported into the imperial complex known as the Forbidden City through fascinating curator talks, performances, food, and art activities on this special day.

• Food for an Empress: taste recipes from the Chinese imperial court, 12–4 pm, Sackler, ImaginAsia Studio
• Entertainment for an Empress: Chinese classical musical theater performances by Shanghai Kunqu Troupe, 1 and 3:30 pm, Freer, Meyer Auditorium
• Create your own royal portrait, 12–4 pm, Sackler pavilion
• Write letters to women of the past, 12–4 pm, Sackler level B2
• Fly Chinese kites, 12–4 pm, Freer plaza (weather permitting)

• Gallery talks in English:

  • Exhibition curator tours, 12 and 2 pm, Sackler level B1 lobby
  • Meet Empress Dowager Cixi with Professor Ying-Chen Peng, 1:30 pm, Sackler pavilion

• Gallery talks in Mandarin:

  • Meet Empress Dowager Cixi with Professor Ying-Chen Peng, 12:30 pm, Sackler pavilion
  • Exhibition curator tour, 4 pm, Sackler level B1 lobby
Apr
11
Thu
Gallery Talk: Empresses of China’s Forbidden City
Apr 11 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Take a peek inside the Forbidden City and learn about the lives of Chinese empresses during the Qing dynasty with Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art.

Empress Xiaoxian (detail), Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1777, with repainting possibly in 19th century, Ignatius Sichelbarth (Ai Qimeng) [China (born in Bohemia), 1708–1780], Yi Lantai (active about 1748–1786), and possibly Wang Ruxue (active 18th century), hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, Peabody Essex Museum, gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Sturgis Hinds, 1956, E33619. Photo by Walter Silver/PEM.

Within These Walls: Contraband Hospital and the African Americans Who Served There @ Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Apr 11 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

On April 11 at 6:00 PM at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum, join exhibition specialist and curator Jill Newmark as she discusses her research on Contraband Hospital.

The story of African American medical personnel who served during the Civil War is an often overlooked and neglected part of Civil War history. This presentation will explore one hospital in Washington, D.C. that treated black soldiers and civilians and reveal the stories of the African American nurses and surgeons who served there.

The presentation begins at 6 PM on April 11 at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum. The presentation will be pay-what-you-please.

Jill L. Newmark is an exhibition specialist and curator at the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health.  She has worked in the History of Medicine Division of NLM for the past 15 years where she is conducting research on African American medical personnel that served during the American Civil War.  She has curated several exhibitions including Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries:  African Americans in Civil War Medicine and has authored several articles that have appeared in Prologue magazine, the quarterly publication of the National Archives, Traces, a publication of the Indiana Historical Society, and several online publications and blogs.  She is currently working on a book on African American Civil War Surgeons.

Apr
23
Tue
Free Landmark Lecture: A Remarkable Friendship @ Tudor Place HIstoric House & Garden
Apr 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Martha Custis Williams Carter, A Remarkable Friendship, presented by Alexandra Deutsch, Vice-President of Collections & Interpretation, Maryland Historical Society

Although the story of Elizabeth Bonaparte’s marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest brother has long been celebrated, her end-of-life friendship with Martha Custis Williams Carter, longtime resident of Tudor Place, is rarely noted. Between 1875 and 1879, Bonaparte and Carter formed a unique relationship which is well documented in the pocket-sized diaries Carter maintained.

Filled with remarkable details about Elizabeth Bonaparte’s life, Carter’s diaries proved to be one of the most important sources used by Alexandra Deutsch for her book, A Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.

Join us to explore the story of this unique friendship between these highly educated, intuitive, and intriguing women whose lives provide a fascinating window into the nineteenth century.

Alexandra Deutsch is the Vice-President of Collections & Interpretation at the Maryland Historical Society. Her book on Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte is the culmination of her research and presentation of the nationally acclaimed exhibit at MHS-“Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy.” The exhibit is ongoing at the museum in Baltimore.

Apr
27
Sat
Reimagining Arab America with Omar Offendum
Apr 27 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

What is the early history of Arab immigrants to the United States, and why aren’t their stories more widely known? Join hip-hop artist and activist Omar Offendum for a performance and discussion about his current creative project, which focuses on the history of Manhattan’s fabled Little Syria neighborhood. Immigrants from the Arab world first settled Little Syria over a century ago, forming the foundations of contemporary Arab American culture.

Offendum’s unique performance project blends hip-hop with live Arabic instrumentation and the time-honored Hakawati storytelling traditions of the Levant. For this event, he will be joined by oud virtuoso Ronnie Malley, beatmaker Thanks Joey, and scholar Elizabeth Saylor to uncover what life in the heart of Arab America was like over a century ago. They’ll also explore how these origins continue to  inform what is (still) happening today in terms of immigration, xenophobia, Syria, and the ever-evolving notion of an “American dream.”

Omar Offendum is a Syrian American rapper and poet based in Los Angeles. He was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Washington, DC. Known for his unique blend of hip-hop and Arabic poetry, he has collaborated with major museums and cultural organizations and helped raise millions of dollars for humanitarian relief groups. Offendum is a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow for 2018–19.

Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist, actor, producer, and educator. He has a degree in global music studies from DePaul University, and he is a teaching artist with Chicago Public Schools and a faculty member at Old Town School of Folk Music. He has performed internationally in India, Spain, China, and Vietnam. 

Thanks Joey is a musician and music producer born in Brooklyn to Syrian immigrants. In 2009, he established the Colours Of The Culture record label; in 2018, he released his first instrumental album, On Beats, inspired by the work of Khalil Gibran. He produced the 2018 NIKO IS album UNIKO, which featured artists from around the world.

Elizabeth Saylor is visiting assistant professor of Arabic at Middlebury College. She holds a PhD in Arabic literature from the University of California, Berkeley. A native New Yorker, she serves as secretary of the Washington Street Historical Society, which promotes the legacy of New York City’s Little Syria neighborhood and fosters awareness about Arab immigration and culture in America.

Image courtesy of Omar Offendum

May
4
Sat
Curator Perspectives on Empresses of China’s Forbidden City
May 4 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

How is a major exhibition created across two continents and three museums? Join Empresses cocurators Jan Stuart and Daisy Yiyou Wang to learn about the origins of this groundbreaking exhibition, which highlights accomplishments of women at the Qing dynasty court. Stuart and Wang will discuss the process of creating the exhibition in collaboration with the Palace Museum in Beijing. Plus, they’ll share how empresses of the period exerted influence in the arts, religion, politics, and diplomacy.

Stuart is Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer|Sackler. Wang is the Robert N. Shapiro Curator of Chinese and East Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

May
11
Sat
Women of the Qing Court: History and Fantasy
May 11 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

What does the way the past is depicted tell us about the present? Scholar Dr. Tobie Meyer-Fong explores the history of women in the Chinese imperial court during the Qing dynasty, delving into themes raised in Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912. Dr. Meyer-Fong will describe aspects of women’s lives at court based on historical evidence. She’ll also examine media representations of the period, including a 2018 TV drama that became a megahit in China, The Story of Yanxi Palace. Is it possible to separate the reality of Qing imperial women’s lives from how we currently imagine them? What is fact and what is fiction?

Meyer-Fong is professor of history and director of the East Asian Studies program at Johns Hopkins University. She is an expert in the history of China from 1600 to the present and served as editor of the journal Late Imperial China. Her previous work draws upon a wide range of sources to explore responses to war in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and her recent research examines images of the Qing dynasty (and the past more generally) in contemporary China.

May
15
Wed
See Me at the Freer|Sackler
May 15 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Experience an interactive tour of the museums that is tailored to individuals with dementia and their care partners. Free registration is required. For more information and to register, contact access@si.edu or 202.633.2921.

May
18
Sat
James A. Garfield and the First Decoration Day – May 30, 1868 @ Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
May 18 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

James A. Garfield and the First Decoration Day – May 30, 1868

On Saturday May 18 at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum, join the Site Manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site Todd Arrington as he discusses the first Memorial Day.

The holiday we now call Memorial Day was founded after the Civil War and known initially as Decoration Day. The first national Decoration Day ceremony took place in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. The keynote speaker that day was a young Ohio congressman and former Union general named James A. Garfield. In the shadow of the home once inhabited by Robert E. Lee, Garfield memorialized the Northern war dead but also reminded everyone what the war had truly been about, discussing slavery, freedom, civil rights, and more. This presentation will explore the origins of Decoration Day but also the themes on which future President James A. Garfield spoke on that first Decoration Day and their lasting importance.

The presentation begins at 11 AM on May 18 at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum. The presentation will be pay-what-you-please.

Todd Arrington is the Site Manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. As a career National Park Service historian and park ranger, he has also worked at Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska and Gettysburg National Historic Site & Eisenhower National Historic Site, both in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Arrington has been published many times on subjects related to the American Civil War and westward expansion. His essay “Industry and Economy during the Civil War” was published in The Civil War Remembered, the National Park Service’s official handbook commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He writes and edits for the popular history blogs We’re History and Emerging Civil War, and his book ‘The Triumphs of Liberty and Law’: The Presidential Election of 1880 will be published later this year by the University Press of Kansas. In discussing relevant history and National Park Service news and events, he has spoken at dozens of academic conferences and appeared on PBS, C-SPAN, numerous television and radio news programs, Radio Free Europe, and National Public Radio. He appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary Murder of a President about James A. Garfield in 2016.

Arrington has taught history and humanities courses at several northeast Ohio colleges, including Lake Erie College, John Carroll University, Lorain County Community College, and Lakeland Community College. He is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table.

May
19
Sun
Gallery Talk: Whistler in Watercolor
May 19 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Celebrate the opening of Whistler in Watercolor, the first in-depth examination of the Freer’s unparalleled collection of James McNeill Whistler’s watercolors, with Lee Glazer, director of the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College.

Watercolor Rediscovered: Whistler in the Nineteenth Century
May 19 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

In conjunction with the opening of Whistler in Watercolor, explore the development of watercolor in the Victorian era and James McNeill Whistler’s contributions to the genre. This program features talks by experts in British and American art history (Kathleen Foster, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Curator of American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Robyn Asleson, curator of prints and drawings at the National Portrait Gallery) and a paper conservation specialist (Emily Jacobson, paper and photographs conservator at the Freer|Sackler). The discussion will be moderated by Lee Glazer, director of the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. Beforehand, join us for a 1 pm gallery talk about the exhibition in Freer gallery 10.

May
30
Thu
Gallery Talk: Whistler in Watercolor
May 30 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Celebrate the opening of Whistler in Watercolor, the first in-depth examination of the Freer’s unparalleled collection of James McNeill Whistler’s watercolors, with Luce Fellow for American Art Kerry Roeder.

Jun
1
Sat
Gallery Talk: Fashion and Power: Clothing of the Qing Dynasty Empresses
Jun 1 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Explore the intricate artisanship and history of court robes worn by empresses of China’s Qing dynasty with Dr. Young Yang Chung. A scholar and master embroiderer, Dr. Chung is the author of Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Jun
6
Thu
Gallery Talk: Empresses of China’s Forbidden City
Jun 6 @ 1:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Peek inside the Forbidden City and learn about the lives of Chinese empresses during the Qing dynasty with Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art.

Jun
13
Thu
The Wound Dresser – Walt Whitman and the Civil War @ Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Jun 13 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

“Oh Captain, my Captain”–Walt Whitman’s words about President Lincoln and the Civil War continue to echo in our ears and in our pop culture. On Thursday June 13 at 6:00 PM at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office, discover the man behind the poetry, as Garrett Peck introduces us to Walt Whitman the poet, the nurse, the brother, the lover, the clerk, the myth, and the man.

Garrett Peck is the author of Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America’s Great Poet. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and earned his M.A. at the George Washington University. He leads local tours, including the Walt Whitman Tour and Alexandria’s Historic Breweries Tours.

The pay-what-you-please program begins on June 13 at 6:00 PM at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum.

The Wound Dresser – Walt Whitman and the Civil War @ Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Jun 13 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

“Oh Captain, my Captain”–Walt Whitman’s words about President Lincoln and the Civil War continue to echo in our ears and in our pop culture. On Thursday June 13 at 6:00 PM at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office, discover the man behind the poetry, as Garrett Peck introduces us to Walt Whitman the poet, the nurse, the brother, the lover, the clerk, the myth, and the man.

Garrett Peck is the author of Walt Whitman in Washington, D.C.: The Civil War and America’s Great Poet. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and earned his M.A. at the George Washington University. He leads local tours, including the Walt Whitman Tour and Alexandria’s Historic Breweries Tours.

The pay-what-you-please program begins on June 13 at 6:00 PM at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum.

Jun
22
Sat
Women, Court Theater, and Politics in Qing Dynasty China
Jun 22 @ 2:00 pm – 2:00 pm

When is a play more than just a play? Join Liana Chen, assistant professor of Chinese language and literature at George Washington University, to explore the role of theater at the Qing imperial court. Performances, often commissioned and enjoyed by women, told stories from Chinese history and mythology but were also used as tools for political influence. This talk expands on themes and objects in the exhibition Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644¬–1912.