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American History Programs
George Washington’s Alexandria
Afternoon Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Sunday, April 30, 2017 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
New Market and Fisher’s Hill
All-Day Tour

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was both a crucial invasion route and the breadbasket for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Author and historian Garrett Peck leads a tour of two critical 1864 battlefields in the region.

Date
Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Ride to Yellow Tavern: Stuart Confronts Sheridan
All-Day Tour

Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer retrace an epic 1864 campaign across Virginia’s central Piedmont that ended in a battle between Union and Confederate forces outside Richmond.

Date
Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Great River Expeditions

The mystery and adventurous allure of distant rivers held a fascination for American explorers of the 19th and early-20th centuries. Author and maritime historian Andy Jampoler recounts true stories of voyages of discovery along the Congo and Amazon and to the Dead Sea.

Date
Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Reading the Gilded Age Authors

Works by novelists Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska provide literary perspectives on the changes that swept America during the Gilded Age. Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University leads a reading-group series that explores their varied depictions of characters whose personal dramas play out against rapidly shifting social, cultural, and economic backdrops. This session spotlights Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923).

Date
Monday, May 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The WWI Navy: Second to None

For the U.S. Navy, World War I was the first significant test of its global prowess. Historian James C. Rentfrow, a faculty member at the U.S. Naval Academy, examines the growing role of the Navy in peace and war during early decades of the 20th century.

Date
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Manhattan Project: Visions of a Nuclear Future

The clandestine Manhattan Project was a futuristic enterprise embedded in a wartime environment—and both the war and the future influenced its evolution. Historian Martin J. Sherwin explores the history and legacy of this world-changing mission.

Date
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Jerome Kern: Godfather of American Musical Theater

Drawing on personal correspondence, film clips, and recordings of masterworks, American music specialist and pianist Robert Wyatt guides you through highlights in the life of Jerome Kern, the genius who set the cornerstone of American musical theater.

Date
Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Schooner Sultana Cruise and Historic St. Michaels
All-Day Tour

Explore the rich heritage of the Eastern Shore during a day that includes a cruise on a replica of an 18th-century vessel, and time in one of the region’s most charming towns.

Date
Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Jewish Heritage in New York City
All-Day Tour

Spend a fascinating day as you immerse yourself in the lives of immigrant families at the Tenement Museum and get an insightful overview of heritage, culture, and art at the Center for Jewish History, a Smithsonian affiliate organization.

Date
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Potomac Eagle: A Rail Ride Through the Trough
All-Day Tour

Squeezed between two Appalachian ridges, the south branch of the Potomac cuts through a narrow wooded West Virginia canyon known as the Trough. Traverse it with rail historian Joe Nevin on a tour that includes a 3 1/2-hour excursion on the diesel-powered Potomac Eagle along the route of the South Branch Valley Railroad from Petersburg to Romney.

Date
Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
A Mountain Rail Extravaganza: The Cass Scenic Railroad and Other West Virginia Excursions
3-Day Tour

Stunning spring vistas, vintage locomotives, and West Virginia history are on the itinerary for a weekend spent riding the Cass Scenic Railroad and other mountain routes.

Date
Depart: Friday, June 2, 2017, 8:00 a.m.
Return: Sunday, June 4, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
Friday, June 2, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 3, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 3, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
American Eclipse: Scientific Rivals in the 19th-Century West

A rare total eclipse drew scientists from all over the country to Wyoming and Colorado in the summer of 1878. Three of them became professional competitors: astronomers James Craig Watson and Maria Mitchell, and a young Thomas Edison. Author (and eclipse chaser) David Barton tells their story.

Date
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Women’s Vote: The 19th Amendment and Its Aftermath

Although the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920, didn’t actually change the status of many American women, it did set in motion events that would have a huge impact on the national agenda. Learn about the amendment’s tumultuous history and how American women of the 1920s “changed the meaning of womanhood.”

Date
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 10, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Historic Boundary Markers of the Federal District
Weekend Tour

Historian Kathryn Holt Springston leads a program and tour focused on the laying out the District’s boundaries, marked by 40 stones placed at one-mile intervals along the border. The story of the stones and the people who surveyed and placed them offers insights into a period in which the idea of an American federal city became a reality.

Date
Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Archaeology in Maryland: Excavating History
All-Day Tour

St. Mary’s City and St. Leonard on Maryland’s Western Shore are locations that offer rich archaeological insights into the state’s—and America’s—past. Spend a day led by science and history communicator Steve Lonker exploring that history though excavations from early Native American sites, colonial settlements, 19th-century battle sites, and more recent finds.

Date
Friday, June 23, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Presidential Virginia
Overnight Tour

The Old Dominion was the birthplace of several presidents, the site of a number of their residences, and contains a host of family links to the White House. Join historians Gregg Clemmer and Ed Bearss on a tour that covers both public and private locations that trace this fascinating aspect of the state’s legacy.

Date
Depart: Saturday, June 24, 2017, 7:30 a.m.
Return: Sunday, June 25, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Doctor’s Orders: The Growth of the Public Health Movement

The 1920s stimulated many new discoveries and initiatives in medicine, as well as a growing public confidence that the field could conquer and control modern problems. Alexandra Lord of the American History Museum explores the medical and public health advances of the decade and places them in a cultural context.

Date
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
John F. Kennedy: 1,000 Days in Office
The Making of an Iconic Presidency

Ken Walsh, veteran White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, considers JFK’s 1,000 days in office, his legacy, and whether any president could ever again attain his mystique.

Date
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
All the Presidents' Gardens

From plant-obsessed George Washington to Michelle Obama's kitchen garden, the White House grounds have mirrored American garden history and changing fashions in horticulture and design. Author Marta McDowell offers a survey of their transformations and traditions, featuring the presidents, first ladies, and their gardeners.    

Date
Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
Friday, July 7, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, July 8, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, July 8, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, July 22, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Mallows Bay by Kayak: Ghost Ships and Bald Eagles

Mallows Bay on the lower Potomac is the site of a “ghost fleet” of nearly 200 wrecked vessels dating from the Revolutionary War through World War I. There’s no better vantage point than a two-person kayak from which to experience this dramatic collection, as well as to explore the bay’s marshy tributaries filled with abundant wildlife.

Date
Saturday, July 22, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Date
Friday, August 25, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.