Newswise — The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate Women’s History Month in March through a series of vibrant performances, lectures, family activities and exhibitions at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event

The Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Women’s History Month will be a Family Day hosted by the National Portrait Gallery, Saturday, March 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, the family day will include family-friendly music, hands-on activities, a tour of the “Elaine de Kooning: Portraits” exhibition and much more.


The Anacostia Community Museum will host two lectures: Historian and former Howard University librarian Janet Sims-Wood will discuss the distinguished career of Dorothy Porter Wesley, who helped create the world-class archive of Negro history known as the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m.), and author James McGrath will discuss his book Eye on the Struggle, which focuses on the story of pioneer journalist Ethel Payne, Sunday, March 29, at 2 p.m.

Native artists Delores Elizabeth Churchill (Haida), Pat Courtney Gold (Warm Springs Wasco) and Ronni-Leigh Goeman (Onondaga) will discuss their careers and demonstrate their artistry at the National Museum of the American Indian, Saturday and Sunday, March 7–8, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition “Elaine de Kooning: Portraits,” artist Denise Lassaw will discuss the life and work of her godmother, Elaine de Kooning, at the National Portrait Gallery, Friday, March 13, at noon.

Live Webcasts

The National Museum of Natural History will host two free “Smithsonian Science How” webcasts: geologist Cara Santelli will discuss the role microbes play in the transformation of minerals and the beneficial application of microbes in cleaning up pollution (Thursday, March 12, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), and invertebrate zoologist Karen Osborn will explore the diversity of invertebrate life in the ocean’s water column (Thursday, March 26, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). The webcasts will be broadcast live on the Q?rius website. Registration is available at


The National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, presents “Woman I Am…Radmilla Cody,” Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m. Cody is an award-winning recording artist of traditional Diné songs, often performed in the original language. A survivor of domestic abuse, she uses her personal experience to advocate against violence toward women.


The Anacostia Community Museum will screen Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War in conjunction with the current exhibition “How the Civil War Changed Washington,” Tuesday, March 10, at 11 a.m. The film features actors and historians that bring to life the story of Loreta Velazquez, one of more than a thousand women who secretly served as soldiers in the Civil War. A discussion with a museum educator will follow the screening.

Family Activities

The National Portrait Gallery will present four Portrait Story Days that feature hands-on activities for young visitors and their families based on a story about women who have contributed to the nation: Women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony (Saturday, March 7, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 8, from 2 to 5 p.m.), American Red Cross founder Clara Barton (Saturday, March 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.), author Maya Angelou (Sunday, March 22, from 2 to 5 p.m.) and novelist Toni Morrison (Saturday, March 28, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 5 p.m.).

Children 5 and younger are invited to become Young Portrait Explorers as they study a portrait of Susan B. Anthony, listen to a story and take part in a hands-on activity at the National Portrait Gallery, Monday, March 9, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Registration is required and available at


The National Portrait Gallery presents “Elaine de Kooning: Portraits,” a major retrospective of de Kooning’s abstract and figurative paintings and drawings. The exhibition will include 66 of her portraits; it will be open daily March 13 through Jan. 10, 2016, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The National Museum of American History’s permanent exhibition “The First Ladies” looks at the unofficial but important position of First Lady and features more than two dozen gowns from the Smithsonian’s almost century-old First Ladies Collection, including those worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. The exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The National Museum of American History also presents “A Room of Her Own: An Altar for My Mother,” a Day of the Dead installation created by author Sandra Cisneros to honor her mother. The installation is on view within the “American Stories” exhibition and it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

New Releases

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings announces two playlists for Women’s History Month: Bev Grant and Working Women and Women and Folk from Smithsonian Folkways. Both playlists are available at

All programs are subject to change. For more information about the Women’s History Month programs, visit or email [email protected]. For general Smithsonian information, the public may call 202-633-1000.