Smithsonian Celebrates Women's History Month

February 28, 2008
News Release
Social Media Share Tools

The Smithsonian celebrates Women's History Month (March 1–31) with a series of films, lectures and performances at museums around the Institution. All programs are free, unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event
The Institution will kick off Women's History Month Sunday, March 2 at 3 p.m. with "Women's Stories/Women's Films: Searching for Angela Shelton" (2004, 94 minutes). In 2001, a woman named Angela Shelton set off across the country to meet and interview on film other women named Angela Shelton. Intending to tell a sweeping story of women in the United States, she discovered that 70 percent of the other Angelas had been victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Both her work with these women and the film itself have served as catalysts for healing and change.

A tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum featuring women artists in the collection will precede the film screening, which will take place in the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The tour will start at 2 p.m. at the information desk in the F Street lobby. A discussion with the director will be led by Washington radio personality Heather R. Taylor and a book signing will follow the film.

The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art will present "Music From Japan: Ancient Winds/Modern Percussion," Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m. in the museum's Meyer Auditorium. This concert of new music for traditional Japanese instruments will feature Mayumi Miyata, a touring star who has performed under the conduction of Charles Dutoit and Vladimir Ashkenazy. She is the first person to play the sho (mouth organ) as a solo instrument and introduce it worldwide in appearances with major orchestras. This concert is part of the Music from Japan Festival 2008.

On Friday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m., the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will feature "Buffy Sainte-Marie in Concert" in the museum's Rasmuson Theater. Canadian-born singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) became known for both protest and love songs in the 1960s. Her "Up Where We Belong" won an Academy Award for best song in 1982. There is an admission charge for this performance. For tickets, call (202) 633-3030 or visit

The National Museum of the American Indian will present "Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises" (2006, 104 minutes) Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. in the museum's Rasmuson Theater. Having dedicated nearly four decades to chronicling the lives of Native peoples in Canada, director Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki) returns to her home village in this documentary, which delves into the history and contemporary realities of the Abenaki people. A discussion with the filmmaker will follow the film screening on both days. This film is part of the Environmental Film Festival. For more information, visit

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will hold a series of 15-minute talks during which museum curators will discuss the contributions of women to aviation and space exploration. The lectures will be held Wednesdays, March 5, 12 and 19 at noon. Visitors meet at the museum seal near the National Mall entrance. (Presenters and topics are subject to change.)

  • March 5—Dorothy Cochrane presents "The First Female Thunderbird: Nicole Malachowski."
  • March 12—Dominick Pisano presents "Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl."
  • March 19—Valerie Neal presents "Space Shuttle Commander: Pam Melroy."

For more information about these lectures, call (202) 633-1000 or visit The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present "In Conversation" Friday, March 14 at 12:30 p.m. New York–based artist Amy Sillman will discuss her work with museum co-curators Anne Ellegood and Ian Berry. Sillman's work includes a new body of paintings in which she uses shape to explore what she calls "pessimistic optimism"—a sense of anxiety within what seem to be cheerful images. Those paintings are part of the exhibition "Amy Sillman, Third Person Singular," on view at the Hirshhorn from March 14 through July 6. For more information, call (202) 633-0828. Meet at the information desk.

For Children
The Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital will celebrate women in science and aviation at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Educators from the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum will hold a scavenger hunt and tell stories of aviatrix and philatelist Amelia Earhart. Science projects by local girl scouts also will be on view.

The National Postal Museum will mark its 15th anniversary in the spirit of the quinceañera tradition that marks the transformation to womanhood for Hispanic girls turning 15 years old. "Nuestra Quinceañera: A Celebration of Our 15 Years" will be held Saturday, March 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., and will include music and explorations of stamps and correspondence. Participants can walk in the steps of a quinceañera, share stories and discuss career paths with special guests Magdalena Mieri of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and Alta Rodriguez of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will feature walk-in tours Wednesdays, March 12 and 19 at 12:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 27 at 2 p.m. The tours will highlight a variety of works, from Malcah Zeldis' festive and colorful folk art paintings to Louise Nevelson's monumental wall sculpture to a 19th-century Lilly Martin Spencer sentimental painting of fading beauty. Participants meet at the information desk in the F Street lobby.

All programs are subject to change. For more information about the Women's History Month programs, visit or e-mail For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5285 (TTY).