Dates for when the Smithsonian Institution will open its doors to in-person guests have yet to be released, but lucky for you, the globally recognized organization is continuing to bring innovative ideas to the masses through virtual offerings. Whether you’re looking to work on your artistic ability, broaden your mind to a new perspective on society or learn about new reads from inspired authors, there’s something for everyone to take part in this month. Find out about all the free events, below.
Drawn to Figures
Recurring Thursdays, 11 a.m.
Hosted by the Portrait Gallery, this digital sketching workshop is all about portraying the human body. Artist Jill Galloway will highlight the techniques and challenges of figure drawing, guiding budding artists ages 13 and up through the process.
Let’s Talk Gardens!
Thursday, July 9, noon-1 p.m.
Horticulturist Sarah Dickert of the Smithsonian Gardens will lead this workshop, teaching participants how to create monarch butterfly “pit stops” in their gardens. Through these unique devices, you can help the monarch habitats that are declining nationwide.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Recurring Thursdays, 12:15-12:45 p.m. and Fridays at 12:15 p.m.
We could all use a little peace and quiet right now. With this weekly meditation hosted by the Asian Art Museum, you will practice the art of mindfulness by drawing inspiration from art in the museum’s collection.
Air and Space Live Chat
Recurring Thursdays, 1:1:30 p.m.
Each week until the Air and Space Museum reopens to guests, museum staff will bring in various industry experts to discuss everything from aerospace engineering to the launch of a new Mars rover. Kids, students and air and space enthusiasts alike are also encouraged to bring questions for the designated speaker of each week’s Facebook Live event.
Recurring Thursdays, 2:30-3 p.m.
Every Thursday, the Anacostia Community Museum gives viewers a chance to take time for wellness, health and creativity with artists, performers and other leaders in the local community. On Thursday, July 9, mural artist Miss Chelove will discuss her art inspiration, as well as how her multicultural background influences her work, in detail.
Curator Conversation: Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death
Thursday, July 9, 3 p.m.
Tune in for a display of artist Arthur Jafa’s powerful video, Love is the Message, The Message is Death, which examines Black life in America. The moving video explores the mix of joy and pain, as well as transcendence and tragedy that characterize the Black American experience. Plus, there will be an online conversation with members of the community following the showing.
Open Studio with the Portrait Gallery
Recurring Fridays, 11 a.m.-noon
Every Friday at 11 a.m., start your weekend with this weekly art workshop hosted by the Portrait Gallery. Staff members will post a new video every week on YouTube, introducing an activity or technique that aspiring artists of all levels will enjoy.
Preservation Family Workshop | Outdoor Sculpture Art & Me
Saturday, July 11, 10-10:45 a.m.
Three museums—the Freer Gallery of Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the American Art Museum—are coming together to engage children ages 3 to 5 in an outdoor art class. Children and their caretakers will experiment with making art and preservation techniques, specifically creating a piece of art that will be great for the outdoors. // registration recommended
Natural History Summer Explorations
Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17, 11 a.m.; Monday, July 27 through Friday, July 21, 11 a.m.
Designed for children in grades third through seventh, this weeklong series led by Natural History Museum staff will consist of ocean explorations that look at how science and art are interconnected. Each day, kiddos will do something related to the subject, including puppet making, dancing, drawing and more. The second session, held later in July and titled Paleo Art – Edge of Extinction, will include a week of exploration on fossils and what life looked like in the past. The daily demonstrations will be entertaining and informative for all science enthusiasts. // registration required
Young Portrait Explorers
Recurring Tuesdays, 11 a.m.
Streamed via Instagram stories, this workshop is entertaining to youngsters and adults of all ages, as Portrait Gallery staff will highlight a new person each week. Whether it’s an athlete, an activist or an astronaut is a surprise until the day of, however you can expect to take a close look at the featured portrait, dig deeper with some discussion questions and finally get moving by doing an activity related to the image.
Vaccines and Society
Tuesday, July 14, 10:30-1:30 p.m.
This free, online webcast surrounds the coronavirus in connection with vaccination. This session, which is part four in a series, will feature a discussion with Sharon Kaufman, a professor and former chair of the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, on policy and societal conditions driving vaccine hesitancy. // registration recommended
Inspiration | Action
Recurring Tuesdays in July, 2:30-3 p.m.
This new weekly virtual series by the Anacostia Community Museum is designed to educate and inspire participants to calls of action. This month’s theme is “Inequality,” with weekly topics being Underserved Communities (July 7), Food Access and Resources (July 14), LatinX Post-COVID (July 21) and Small Businesses (July 28).
Virtual Writing Hour with the National Portrait Gallery
Tuesday, July 14, 5-6 p.m.
In this one-hour creative writing session for adults, writers will create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s online exhibitions on Google Arts and Culture. The first half of the session will consist of writing original works, and the second will be a brief discussion and critique.
Fossilized Footprints Reveal a Snapshot of Early Human Life
Wednesday, July 15, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
A few months ago, a research team of the National History Museum announced results of their study of the largest fossil human footprint site in Africa. This Zoom webinar will include a presentation by William E.H. Harcourt-Smith on the findings, as well as a few other key research team members that all dinosaur lovers will want to tune into. // registration recommended
Artists at Home
Recurring Wednesdays, noon-1 p.m.
Hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture every week, this interactive program is designed to engage students in sixth grade through 12th in hands-on art making and conversations about African American artists and the various genres of visual art. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their own creative works that they make at home right now. // registration recommended
Look & Listen: Asian Art and Music, Kiya Tabassian, setar, with Massumeh Farhad
Wednesday, July 15, 4 p.m.
In this session, embrace a livestreamed concert (found on YouTube) led by musical virtuoso Kiya Tabassian as he performs and discusses music surrounding the setar, an ancient Iranian instrument.
Career Dives with the Natural History Museum
Recurring Thursdays starting July 16, 10-11 a.m.
In these weekly explorations, you’ll learn how Smithsonian marine science professionals dove into their specific fields of study. First, you’ll hear from science journalist Michelle Donahue on July 16, followed by Marine Community Ecologist Holly Sweat on July 23 and lastly Woody Lee, a captain and research technician at the Smithsonian Marine Station on July 30.
Moment of Zenn: Buddhist Teachings for Turbulent Times
Wednesday, July 22, 6 p.m.
Hosted by the Asian Art Museum, this webcast will explore all things Zen; the power of it, where it stemmed from, its relevance and more. Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams—a Black, mixed-raced woman Zen priest—will tune in to share her take on the concept, in addition to theorist Yukio Lippit and Frank Feltens, who is a specialist in Japanese art.
Book Talk: North Carolina’s Free People of Color 1715-1885
Saturday, July 25, noon-1:30 p.m.
Author Warren E. Milteer, Jr. will debut his latest book, North Carolina’s Free People of Color 1715-1885, in this virtual live talk, appropriate for adults. The study offers a rare perspective into the lives of free communities of color and how they were able to build communities and create distinct cultures.
Examining the Contributions of African American Medical Professionals
Monday, July 27 through Wednesday, July 29, 1-4 p.m.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is offering a free, multi-day workshop exploring the history of African Americans in health care, specifically curated for kids in third through eighth grade. Participants will learn stories and experiences of African American doctors, nurses and researchers who are working to combat disease within our nation. This extremely relevant workshop includes lectures, discussions with health care workers and hands-on STEM activities you won’t want to miss. // registration required
Museums and Healing: A Conversation with Krista Tippett
Wednesday, July 29, 6 p.m.
The role and expectations of museums have shifted in the coronavirus era, and it’s time to rediscover what museums can bring to our society. In this special online event, three panelists will discuss how staff members can use their knowledge and collections of religious and cultural artwork to enact change, promote tolerance, enable empathy and shape conceptions of ourselves and others. The group of speakers includes Krista Tippett, a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and host of podcasts On Being and Becoming Wise, and Chase F. Robinson, the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art.
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