Today marks the start of Black History Month, and there are many area programs and events happening over the next few weeks to celebrate it. Here’s a round-up of them, some starting as soon as today. Most descriptions are straight from the websites, and I’ll add to the list as I learn about more.
Black History Month at Mount Vernon
There will be several special highlights from February 1 – 28 in observance of Black History Month at Mount Vernon. Every day from 10am – 12pm at the slave quarters, interpreters will focus on the lives and contributions of the slaves who built and operated the plantation home of George and Martha Washington. A wreathlaying and presentation will occur daily at the slave memorial site at 12pm. And at 1pm, the Slave Life at Mount Vernon tour will explore the lives and contributions of the slaves who lived at the Estate. Black History Month activities are included in regular Estate admission: $15/adults, $7/children ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.
American I AM: The African American Imprint
At the National Geogrpahic Museum, take a journey through trials and triumphs while exploring nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the economic, political, cultural, and spiritual development of the United States. Bear witness to more than 200 poignant artifacts from the dungeon doors of the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana to Prince’s guitar. The exhibit will run from February 2 – May 1. Admission is $12/adults, $6/children ages 2-12. Open daily from 9am – 5pm.
Black History Month 2011 Family Day Celebration
On Saturday, February 5, the whole family is invited to the Smithsonian’s kickoff celebration of Black History Month at the National Museum of American History. The day includes the award-winning interactive theatrical presentation “Join the Student Sit-Ins,” performances by the Washington Performing Arts Society, tours of the exhibition The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey — Where Art and History Intersect, the debut of an American Girl self-guided Civil War family tour (“Addy’s World”), and many interactive activities to celebrate family and heritage. The event runs from 11:30am – 5pm.
Play Date with Pride
Culture Kingdom Kids, a mobile cultural arts program that produces children’s events with a cultural twist, presents Play Date with Pride on Saturday February 5 at the Alexandria Black History Museum. Celebrate Black History Month at this interactive workshop for children ages 5 to 12. Enjoy hands-on creative arts such as storytelling, crafts, and music and dance activities. Parents must accompany children. The event runs from 1 – 2:30pm. Reservations recommended.
Segragation Aboard Streetcars
The National Capitol Trolley Museum will present this special exhibit on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of February in observance of Black History Month. Located in Colesville, MD, the museum is open weekends from 12 – 5pm. Admission including unlimited trolley rides is $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17, and $4/all ages without rides.
African American Pioneers in Aviation
The National Air & Space Museum invites visitors to meet famed African American pilots from World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen, who fought discrimination both at home and abroad; talk to Museum experts; and participate in hands-on activities, and story time. This event occurs twice – first at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles on Saturday, February 5, then again at the museum on the National Mall on February 12. Both are free and run from 10am – 3pm.
Black History Month Stamp Collecting
On Saturday, February 12, celebrate Black History Month at the National Postal Museum by making your own stamp collection featuring prominent African Americans such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. After making your collection, be sure to see the Negro Leagues Baseball Stamp exhibition. Drop in between 11am and 2pm to participate in this free program.
Black History at Rock Creek Park
Several days throughout the month, Rock Creek Park is offering programs that explore black history, including “Through a Slave’s Eyes” on February 5 and “Sounds of Black Georgetown” on February 12. Check the website for complete details.
Portrait Story Days: Rosa Parks
Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery’s weekly program to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. in observance of Black history Month, this week guests can learn about Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks. This free program runs from 1 – 4pm.