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Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Presents the 2016 “Heritage Family Day” Series

January 12, 2016

The National Air and Space Museum announces its 2016 “Heritage Family Day” series celebrating ethnic and cultural diversity, with new offerings and opportunities for families and visitors alike. As part of the Smithsonian’s Heritage and History education initiative, the series coincides with national observances, focusing specifically on the contributions that diverse communities have made to aviation and space exploration. These activity-filled days take place at the museum’s National Mall building and its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., and begin in February 2016. Support for the “Heritage Family Day” series is provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The 2016 series begins Feb. 6 at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center with “African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space” and continues at the museum’s building in Washington Feb. 20 with the same theme. Visitors can hear from NASA astronauts and watch a new puppet show produced for the museum about the famous World War II pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen.

“With the ‘Heritage Family Day’ series, the museum celebrates the diversity that has made our country a leader in aviation and spaceflight,” said Maureen Kerr, education chair at the National Air and Space Museum. “The stories from the past, as well as the plans for the future, will inspire our visitors, especially the youth.”

“We are very excited about the upcoming ‘Heritage Family Days’ and their potential to provide STEM outreach to a diverse audience of young people and their families,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president of Global Corporate Responsibility at Northrop Grumman and president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “Northrop Grumman is committed to expanding and enhancing the pipeline of diverse, talented STEM students globally, and ‘Heritage Family Days’ are an important part of that effort.”

The “Women in Aviation and Space Day” will take place March 12 at the Udvar-Hazy Center. The event will be part of “Museum Day Live!,” a nationwide Smithsonian campaign to reach women and girls in underserved communities, part of the partnership between the Smithsonian and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Families can enjoy guest speakers, hands-on activities, a theatrical presentation and more, with special discounts for Girl Scouts.

On March 19, “Kites of Asia Day,” visitors to the National Mall building will experience the beauty of kites. This year’s focus will be on Nepal and India with indoor kite flying while experts explain the science behind kite flying and how kites influenced the development of aviation. Visitors can decorate and build their own kites.

“Explore the Universe Day” will take place at the National Mall building April 9. Astronomy will serve as a common theme for visitors to learn how different people and cultures view and talk about the sky. As a new offering this year, a Planetarium show and hands-on activities will be accessible to all audiences, including visitors who have low-vision or are blind.

On Aug. 6, the Udvar-Hazy Center will host “We Share STEM! Connecting Across Cultures,” celebrating the contributions of scientists and engineers in STEM professions.

“Women in Aviation and Space” will take place at the National Mall building Sept. 17 and the 2016 “Heritage Family Day” series will conclude with “Hispanic Heritage Day: Innovators in Air and Space” in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center Oct. 8 at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

For more information about the museum’s “Heritage Family Day” series, visit

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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Alison Mitchell 
(202) 633-2376

Amy Stamm 
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Related photos: 

Heritage Days 2016

National Air and Space Museum

NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson speaks at the 2014 African American Pioneers in Aviation Heritage Family Day at the Museum in Washington, DC. 

Photo courtesy National Air and Space Museum

Related photos: 

Heritage Days 2016

National Air and Space Museum

Visitors participate in a Discovery Station at African American Pioneers in Aviation Heritage Family Day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Photo courtesy National Air and Space Museum