News Releases

Celebrate Women’s History Month at the Smithsonian

March 1, 2017

The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate Women’s History Month in March through a series of vibrant performances, lectures, family activities and exhibitions at museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event

The Smithsonian kicks off Women’s History Month with “Sounds of Awareness: Music and Poetry from Across Native America,” Saturday, March 4, 12–4:30 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian. Grammy-nominated recording artist Radmilla Cody (Navajo) and spoken word artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg) perform concerts of poetry and “roots music” with a contemporary flavor.


The National Museum of the American Indian’s Heye Center in New York City will host a discussion featuring Jeanne Shenandoah (Eel Clan, Onondaga Nation) and Sally Roesch Wagner, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Thursday, March 9, at 5 p.m. “Special Educator Program: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminist,” commemorates the centennial of women winning the right to vote in New York State. Learn how Iroquois women influenced the revolutionary vision of early feminists and radical reformers. Contact the museum at or (212) 514-3710 to reserve a seat.

The Anacostia Community Museum will host “Women’s Environmental Leadership,” Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m. Visitors can join a discussion on ways that women of many ages and backgrounds have advocated on behalf of the environment in their communities.    

The National Museum of African American History and Culture will present “Culinary Legacy: A Conversation between Jessica Harris and Chef Leah Chase,” Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. Culinary historian Jessica Harris takes part in a fascinating discussion with Leah Chase, esteemed chef and community builder, about her life, her creativity and the entrepreneurial drive that took Dooky Chase’s restaurant from its beginnings as a thriving sandwich shop to an elegant restaurant that served everyone from members of the community to U.S. presidents.

Bring the Kids

Young visitors and their families can drop into the National Portrait Gallery for the museum’s Portrait Story Day Series. Visitors can participate in an art activity after listening to a story about a famous inventor, activist or poet. This event is presented in partnership with D.C. Public Library and sponsored in part by the Reinsch Family Education Endowment.

Portrait Story Days: Gertrude Stein

Saturday, March 4; 1–4 p.m.

Sunday, March 5; 2–5 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Marian Anderson

Saturday, March 11; 1–4 p.m.  

Sunday, March 12; 2–5 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, March 18; 1–4 p.m.

Sunday, March 19; 2–5 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Ruth Bader Ginsberg  

Saturday, March 25; 1–4 p.m.

Sunday, March 26; 2–5 p.m.

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven Udvar-Hazy Center will host “Women in Aviation and Space,” Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this family day, visitors can learn about the significant contributions women have made despite the many challenges they faced. The day will feature presentations by local women in the field, hands-on activities and stories.


The Anacostia Community Museum will screen Celia the Queen Friday, March 10, at 11 a.m. This documentary traces the life of Cuban songstress Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, better known by the stage name Celia Cruz. A Q&A facilitated by Eric Gonzaba, historian at George Mason University, follows the screening.

The National Museum of the American Indian, Heye Center, presents Breaking Down Barriers: A Women’s Shorts Program Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m. The programming in this “At the Movies” event is a series of short works directed by Native women filmmakers.

Smithsonian Evening

The National Portrait Gallery presents “Portraits After 5: Unbought and Unbossed,” Thursday, March 9, 5:30–8 p.m. The event includes adult art activities, a pop quiz and music, all inspired by the gallery’s 2016 acquisitions of portraits of Barbara Walters, Halle Berry, Katharine Hepburn and Shirley Chisolm.    


The National Museum of American History will present “Women in Jazz: The Influence of Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams and Lil Hardin Armstrong,” Friday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. Join the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra for an evening showcasing big band compositions by women.

Held in collaboration with “Women in Jazz” founder Amy Bormet, “Oh Ella! Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald,” commemorates the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth at the Anacostia Community Museum, Saturday, March 11, at 2 p.m.


The National Museum of American History presents "American Ballet." This display features cotumes worn by ballerinas Violette Verdy, Marianna Tcherrkassky and Misty Copeland. The museum is also featuring Elaine Ostroff and the Universal Design Movement through March 23. Ostroff, an early pioneer in disability design, was among the founders of the Universal Design Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. This display features selections from her personal papers.

All programs are subject to change. For more information about the Women’s History Month programs, visit or email For general Smithsonian information, the public may call 202-633-1000.

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Native Woman weaving

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Chanel Williams 
(202) 633-0282