Smithsonian Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

September 13, 2012
News Release
Social Media Share Tools

The Smithsonian celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events, visit

Feature Event

The Smithsonian will present “Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day: Central American Traditions” Saturday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the National Museum of American History. The day includes music and dance performances by local Central American artists, hands-on arts and craft activities, food demonstrations, video interviews with the Hirshhorn’s ArtLab+ teen videographers, and many interactive activities to celebrate family and heritage.


The National Museum of American History will present “Star-Spangled Banner en Español” Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. Local award-winning chamber chorus Coral Cantigas will perform Clotilde Arias’ 1946 Spanish translation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The chorus will also perform “Huiracocha,” Arias’ best-known composition.


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center will feature museum program specialist Jorge Estevez (Taino) as he discusses the history and culture of the Taino people of the Caribbean. “Tainos Encounter Columbus” will take place Thursday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m.

Family Activities

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will host “Family Day: Hispanics in Science and Aerospace” Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Young visitors will learn about Latino Americans’ contributions to aviation and space exploration, and take part in bilingual story times and hands-on activities presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center. Admission to the museum and Family Day is free; parking is $15.

The National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall will host “Family Day: Innovators in Aerospace” Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day will include hands-on activities and bilingual presentations on Hispanic contributions to air and space technology.

The National Museum of Natural History will present “Rock On!” Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors may experience how rocks play an integral part in our lives and learn about the exciting rescue of 33 miners at the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile. Bilingual docents will be stationed at a hands-on activity cart in the exhibition “Against All Odds: Rescue at the Chilean Mine.” The exhibition is open daily through Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble joins Mariachi Los Amigos on stage for an exciting performance of mariachi music. “Mariachi Madness” will be presented at the National Museum of Natural History Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. This program is recommended for children ages 5 and up. Tickets are required: adults, $8; children, $6; Resident Associate members, $5; children 2 years old, $3. Call (202) 633-8700 or visit


The Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer tours that highlight the artistic achievements and cultural traditions of Hispanic Americans Sunday, Sept. 16; Wednesday, Sept. 19; Friday, Sept. 21; Monday, Oct. 1, at 12:30 p.m. No reservations are required. Meet in the F Street lobby.


The National Museum of Natural History presents “Against All Odds: Rescue at the Chilean Mine,” in the Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. During the fall of 2010, the world watched as rescuers in Chile ferried 33 miners to safety after their nearly two months in a collapsed mine. The exhibition tells the story of the complex rescue effort and includes a rescue capsule, new video footage, mementos from the miners and rock samples from the mine. The exhibition is open daily through Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Not Lost in Translation: The Life of Clotilde Arias” is a biographical exhibition that includes journals, photographs, and personal and professional documents of the Peruvian-born composer of “Huiracocha.” In 1946, Arias was commissioned by the U.S. Department of State to write an official Spanish translation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Through her life story, we see a broader picture of the Great Depression, World War II, Pan-Americanism, and the development of Madison Avenue. This exhibition is open daily beginning Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Albert Small Documents Gallery of the National Museum of American History.

The National Museum of American History will include the portrait of Celia Cruz by Robert Weingarten on the museum’s Artifacts Walls, daily beginning Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This portrait of the Cuban-born salsa performer was created as a “visual biography” by photographer Robert Weingarten as the result of an online competition. It complements the exhibition “Pushing Boundaries: Portraits by Robert Weingarten,” which also includes his portrait of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and is on view at the Smithsonian’s International Gallery, S. Dillon Ripley Center, through Oct. 14.

# # #