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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

May brings opportunities to mark Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, support the resilience of endangered migratory birds, and recall the heroism that helped bring World War II to a close in Europe 76 years ago this week. And this month's reopening of several parts of the Smithsonian is something to cheer, too.

They're among the offerings 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.

Welcome Back!

Arts and Industries Building at dawn (Photo: Eric Long)

If your spring isn't complete without a Smithsonian visit, here's some good news. Eight of its facilities will reopen to the public in May, starting today with the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Additional museums and the National Zoo will open Friday, May 14, and Friday, May 21. All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures and visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.

View the Reopening Schedule

For the Birds

American Kestrel by Matt Felperin

According to the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, North America has lost 29% of its breeding birds since 1970. In less than a human lifetime, we've lost one out of every three birds-2.8 billion birds in all. The huge scale and pervasiveness, across diverse species and biomes, surprised even experts. But there's hope: Birds are resilient. If we bring back the habitats they need, and remove threats, they can return and flourish.

That's the Smithsonian's message for World Migratory Bird Day on Friday, May 7. And you don't need to be an avian scientist or environmentalist to do your part. Make a difference with your coffee mug by learning how to select bird-friendly beans. The zoo can also help you become more bird friendly with a foundation of seven simple ways to make your home and lifestyle better for birds and the planet.

Do you wish you knew more about those intriguing-looking birds you spot in your backyard or on your walks? In a Thursday, June 24 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program, Matt Felperin, NOVA Parks' roving naturalist, offers an essential guide to what you see and hear designed for both beginning birders and those who want to take their skills to the next level.

Register for the Program

Asia's Culinary Legacy

Clockwise: Kim Pham, Katsuya Fukushima, Sana Javeri Kadri, and Dale Talde (Photo: Deanie Chen, NA, Aubrie Pick, and NA)

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and rich food traditions are a vital part of that cultural legacy. Two more programs in the free series CULINASIA: The Future of Asian Food in America-virtual conversations that explore food legacies and the ways in which Asian diaspora cuisine continues to change and enrich our lives-are now available for registration. They focus on the misperceptions and myths that surround the nature of Asian food (June 9) and use the Oscar-honored film Minari to examine the lives of both fictional and real-life Asian farmers. (June 23). Eater DC offered a look at the genesis and development of CULINASIA, a collaboration of Smithsonian Associates, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Read the Article

Ordinary Girls, Extraordinary Courage

Saturday, May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. The stories of young women who played a part in the long path to VE Day continue to come to light. They took on varied and dangerous roles in the resistance to Nazi Germany: Whether hiding a variety of refugees-political, cultural, religious-and helping them to find freedom; guiding Jewish children to safety; aiding downed pilots; serving as vital links in the chain of underground communication; crafting forged documents; or spying on German units, theirs was a history marked by courage and resistance.

Only a handful of women resistance fighters, however, ever used a weapon to actually shoot Nazi targets. Two teenage sisters, Truus and Freddy Oversteegen, and their friend, a college-student named Hannie Schaft, trailed a unique path through war-torn North Holland. Working within a Haarlem resistance cell, their duties included explosive sabotage and several face-to-face assassinations. In a Thursday, May 6 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program, author Tim Brady draws on his new book Three Ordinary Girls to explore the resistance in the Netherlands through the amazing story of these young women.

Register for the Program

In a Different Light

Photos courtesy of Roff Smith.

"A year ago, as a travel photographer grounded by the pandemic, I started bringing a camera and tripod with me on my morning bicycle rides and shooting them as though they were magazine assignments. What started out as just something to do, a challenge to try to see the familiar through fresh eyes, blossomed into a celebration of travelling at home."

British magazine writer and photographer Roff Smith took off on a journey of rediscovery last year, one that covered a territory he knew well: the old seaside town he calls home, St Leonard's-on-Sea, in Sussex on the south coast of England. What surprised him was how a shift of his personal and creative focus revealed new perspectives on the vistas he'd seen for years. The stories of those bike rides and the images they inspired are chronicled on his charming website Travels at Home: A Cyclist on the English Landscape. Bathed in soft morning light, Smith's evocative photos capture a sense of mystery within the familiar, reflecting an experience that he says "brought home the truth that you don't need to board a plane and jet off to the far side of the world to experience a sense of travel or the romance of difference. It lies waiting on your doorstep-if you look."

If Smith's work inspires you to capture the world around you, studio arts classes in photography from Smithsonian Associates Streaming offer a wide range of opportunities to hone both your vision and your technical skills. Who knows what you might see through a new lens?

View our Photography Workshops