Smithsonian Celebrates Earth Month With Free Festivals and Programs

April 1, 2024
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Picture of outstreched arms in yellow sleeves holding soil and plants in their hands.

Visitors at the Anacostia Community Museum’s 2023 Honor the Earth Celebration plant the museum’s garden to start the spring season. Credit: Matilong Duma.

The Smithsonian is celebrating the Earth throughout the month of April with free festivals, programs and performances in Washington, D.C.; Chantilly, Virginia; Edgewater, Maryland; and New York City. The festivities include a full day of programming across several Smithsonian museums April 20. A full schedule is available; events are free unless otherwise noted. 

April 20 Programming  

10 a.m.–1 p.m. 

The National Museum of Natural History is hosting “The World & Me,” a celebration of the diversity found in nature, movement and the planet people call home. The event will feature local dancers from Company | E, musicians from Sound Impact, science students from local colleges and educators from the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can watch the performance “Letters to Earth” and explore hands-on activities with museum specimens, microscopes and more to learn about DNA and some of the tiny and large organisms with which humans share the Earth. 

10 a.m.–5 p.m. 

The Anacostia Community Museum’s “Honor Earth: An Earth Day Celebration” festival will feature a clothing swap, family-friendly maker activities and chances to meet community partners and learn more about plant care. Plus, visitors can attend the inaugural weekend of the 2024 FRESHFARM ACM Farm Stand, one of two direct-to-consumer farm stands of its kind east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. 

11 a.m.–5 p.m. 

The National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York City is hosting “Earth Day: Native Blooms,” where families can learn about flowering plants indigenous to the Americas, their different uses and the significance behind them with Native artists Jennifer Younger (Tlingit) and Neebinnaukzhik “Neebin” Southall (Chippewas of Rama First Nation). 

11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.  

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery’s Earth Day Family Day, taking place in the museums’ Kogod Courtyard, visitors can enjoy musical performances from Bash the Trash and other acts to learn how art and science can help protect the Earth. Attendees can also enjoy nature-themed crafts and coloring pages as well as face painting for those ages 12 and under. A scavenger hunt in the galleries features works in both museums’ collections that highlight the natural wonders of Earth and the various ways artists contribute to the care of the planet. Registration is encouraged. 

2 p.m.–3 p.m. 

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., will host the panel discussion “Earth Day—Youth in Action: Indigenous Ecosystems,” moderated by Jade Begay (Tesuque Pueblo/Diné). The panel will feature two Native youth activists, Seneca Johnson (Mvskoke) and Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad (Marina Anderson [Haida/Tlingit]), who will discuss their work to create a more equitable and sustainable future.  

Additional Earth Month Programming  

April 4; 6:45 p.m.–8 p.m., Smithsonian Associates 
Not the End of the World: The Beginning of a Better Future ($20 for members, $25 for non-members) 

April 6; noon–2 p.m., Anacostia Community Museum 
Grow Green Waste Warrior: Composting For Youth (registration is required) 

April 8; noon–4 p.m., National Air and Space Museum and National Museum of Asian Art 
Solar Eclipse Festival on the National Mall and viewing party at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. 

April 9, 11, 12, 25 and 26; 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Smithsonian Associates 
Mother Earth & Me (pricing varies) 

April 15; 6:45 p.m., Smithsonian American Art Museum 
Artist Spencer Finch in Conversation (registration is required) 

April 16; 7 p.m.–8 p.m., Smithsonian Environmental Research Center 
America’s Mercury Detox: A Victory in Progress (registration is required) 

April 18; 10:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m., National Museum of Natural History 
Life on a Sustainable Planet: Exploring and Understanding our Natural World—Natural Science Symposium (registration is encouraged) 

April 19; 10:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m., National Museum of Natural History 
Natural Science Careers Workshop for Undergraduates (registration is required) 

April 23; 5 p.m.–6:45 p.m., National Portrait Gallery 
Trivia Night: The Great Outdoors (registration is encouraged) 

April 24; 2 p.m.–3 p.m., Smithsonian National Zoo 
Conservation Classroom: Saving Endangered Species (registration is required) 

April 28; 4 p.m.–4:45 p.m., National Portrait Gallery 
Glacier: A Climate Change Ballet (registration is required) 

About Life on a Sustainable Planet  

Life on a Sustainable Planet is the Smithsonian’s initiative to collect new data about our changing planet, implement holistic approaches to environmental conservation and educate the world about why and how sustainable solutions to climate change can benefit people and nature. Life on a Sustainable Planet uses the Institution’s vast scientific resources across its global network of research centers to produce, curate and communicate strategies for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.   

The Institution will also pioneer new technologies to collect environmental data, develop new platforms to analyze and share data and work with partners and communities to inform conservation action. Life on a Sustainable Planet is part of the Smithsonian’s commitment to working with communities to promote equitable, sustainable and resilient ecosystem solutions to build a more sustainable future for all. 

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Benjamin Marcus


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