Museum visitors can revel in the extra hours of daylight and reflect on American unity with “America Now: Solstice Edition” on Saturday, June 23. This special evening of festivities is a three-museum collaboration between the National Museum of American History, National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Events begin at the National Museum of American History with a “speakeasy happy hour” in the galleries and continue at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture where the Smithsonian American Art Museum will host a Block Party and Beer Garden and the National Portrait Gallery will close out the night with live music by Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics, and Washington D.C.’s own Oddisee. Now in its fourth year, the tri-institutional partnership of “America Now” will coincide for the first time with a full Smithsonian-wide Solstice celebration.
“America Now: Solstice Edition” is free to the public and open to general audiences; drinks and food will be available for purchase at each location. Details are outlined below and at AmericaNow.si.edu.
National Museum of American History
Special programs: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Galleries open until midnight
Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W.
“America Now” kicks off its Solstice Edition in honor of the year’s longest day with themed activities, including a chance to make Swedish-inspired summer crowns and a scavenger hunt for artifacts associated with nighttime. For adult audiences of age, the museum will feature speakeasy bars, drinks and food for purchase, a “secret” room containing rarely seen collections items and a performance by DJ Eau Claire. Activities are programmed from 5:30–8:30 p.m. and visitors are encouraged to hop on the pedi-cab procession to continue the second part of “America Now” at the partner museums, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery
Special programs: 7:30–11:30 p.m.
First floor galleries open until 11:30 p.m.
Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard
Eighth and F streets N.W.
Continuing the festivities, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery will host an array of activities across art and performance. Guests will be welcomed by an outdoor Community Block Party composed of food trucks, lawn games and craft-making activities with local artists organized in collaboration with Made in DC. They can connect with representatives from the Downtown BID, Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, Shakespeare Theater Company and Fresh Farm Farmer’s Market. Visitors can then cool off at a boutique-designed Beer Garden inside the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, have their portraits done by a Washington-based caricature artist and explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery’s exhibitions throughout the first floor. “America Now” will conclude with dancing to the sounds of DJ Ayes Cold and a major live concert by Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics, and Washington’s own Oddisee.
“America Now” is a three-museum collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History and Smithsonian American Art Museum. It is made possible by the support of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Family Foundation. The Washington Post is the media sponsor of America Now. This year’s celebration is part of a Smithsonian’s “Solstice Saturday” program done in association with the “By the People Festival,” led by Halcyon. Several Smithsonian museums will stay open until midnight on June 23. Details are outlined at www.si.edu/SolsticeSaturday.
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About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.