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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

History, creativity, and nature are all in the mix for this week's edition, in topics weighted with significance and as light as birdsong.

They're designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you've come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.

Turning Civil Rights History Into Theatre

The Smithsonian's American History Museum holds one of the Civil Rights era's most iconic and powerful artifacts: the Woolworth's lunch counter in racially segregated Greensboro, North Carolina, where four African American college students sat down on February 1, 1960. To help young visitors understand how that action helped ignite a youth-led movement against racial inequality throughout the South, the museum approached Roberta Gasbarre, director of Smithsonian Associates' Discovery Theater. Her work as a creative consultant resulted in The Nation We Build Together, an interactive gallery performance set against the backdrop of the lunch counter in the museum's Unity Square, a space for public dialogue. Its form and script drew from actual workshops that prepared participants to join subsequent student sit-ins. This filmed performance is a perfect way to introduce the young people in your life to the world that those protesters challenged—and changed.

Watch the Performance

Learn More About the Greensboro Four

The Past as a Tool

How do cultural organizations remain accessible and relevant during a period of global pandemic coupled with nationwide protests against injustice? Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch examined how libraries and museums can offer needed context for today's events and at the same time re-examine how they present information and history to their audiences. View their thoughtful conversation, part of the National Book Festival's Connecting the World With Words series.

Watch the Interview

Asian Treasures

The 269 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Asia offer a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. A new Smithsonian Associates Streaming series offers an in-depth overview of four of the most intriguing, including both well-known and lesser-known sites. Historian Justin M. Jacobs begins with a June 25 session devoted to China's "art gallery in the desert," the Mogao Grottos, and journeys on to programs on Tibet's Potala Palace, the Taj Mahal, and the fabled city of Samarkand.

Register for the Program

The Joy of Birds

Whether you're just looking for a lift, unable to enjoy the outdoors, or in desperate need of distraction, Audubon comes to rescue with a digital care package that lets your spirits take wing. It's filled with beautiful photos and videos, Zoom backgrounds, tips on backyard birding and photography, natural soundscapes, and even the answer to the question "Should you name your baby after a bird?" The New York-based new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound also finds avian inspiration for the moment. Ten Thousand Birds by composer John Luther Adams incorporates the songs of birds that are native to or migrate through the area in which it is performed. View the group's most recent version, Ten Thousand Screens.

Discover the Joy of Birds

Learn More About Ten Thousand Birds

Artists at Work

You've learned from them in the classroom, but did you ever wonder what the personal studios of quilt maker and fiber arts Lauren Kingsland, jewelry maker (and newest Smithsonian Associates staff member) Mïa Vollkommer, and mosaics artist Bonnie Fitzgerald look like? The popular Studio Arts instructors open their creative spaces and discuss their work in delightful mini-tours on Instagram.

View the Artists' Studios