Events June 13-17: Star-Spangled Banner, Sketch Time, Honeybees, Laundry and Balloons | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian
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Events June 13-17: Star-Spangled Banner, Sketch Time, Honeybees, Laundry and Balloons

During the week of June 13, spend an afternoon drawing, get some old school laundry tips, recreate a piece of American history and much more

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Star-Spangled Banner demonstration. Courtesy of American History Musem

Monday, June 13 Escape the Monday blues

Have you ever found yourself humming the Star-Spangled Banner tune and wondered where the inspiration came from? Well now you can find out and test your knowledge of the American Flag with an exciting interactive puzzle. Go to the Flag Hall of the American History Museum this Monday at 10:30 and meet Mary Pickersgill (played by actor Kate Guesman) , the seamstress who sewed the Star Spangled Banner in 1813. During the War of 1812, Pickersgill was commissioned by Major George Armistead to sew a flag so large that the approaching British soldiers would have no trouble seeing it from miles away. Pickersgill answered the call and was able to put the flag together in just six weeks with only the help of five others. The final product contained 400 yards of fabric and 15 stars and stripes. It was this flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that we now honor as our National Anthem, and now we need your help to assemble the flag again. You too can play a part in the historical Star-Spangled Banner by helping Pickersgill assemble the massive flag and learning about its history. Can’t make it at 10:30? You can catch it again at 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30 PM as well.

Lean more about the history in our video produced by Ryan Reed of a reenactment held in Baltimore.

Tuesday June 14 Sketch Your Way Around

Break out of your boring Tuesday routine by visiting the American Art Museum‘s Luce Foundation Center for American Art. Make your way to the 3rd floor of the West Wing of the museum at 3:00 p.m. to join a discussion about some of the works that line the walls of the museum. Then put your own spin on the masterpieces as you spend time sketching a few of your favorites. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the pickings are slim, there are more than 3,300 artworks on display in the Luce Foundation Center so branch out and find your favorite. Be sure to bring a small sketchbook and some pencils and enjoy the artwork as you spend an afternoon adrift in the Luce sea. The event is free and lasts until 4:30 PM.

Wednesday, June 15 Coral, Tigers, and Honeybees. Oh My!

What do tigers and honeybees have in common? If your answer is nothing you couldn’t be more wrong. Tigers and honeybees are two of the many species that are suffering catastrophic decline in our growing world. Joining coral, frogs and birds, these animals are disappearing at a disastrous rate. Conservationists estimate that one-fifth of mammal species, one-eighth of all bird species, and one-third of amphibian species are at risk of extinction. This could lead to devastating changes in the functioning of ecosystems and eliminate all the services they provide. Each loss signals a change that affects our world. Join Steve Monfort, director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Brian Gratwicke, an amphibian conservation biologist, Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project; Michael Henley, an invertebrate keeper at the National Zoo; Peter Marra, a conservation scientist at the Zoo; and Jeff Pettis, a researcher from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to discuss both efforts to preserve species and the ecological implications of extinction. Come on out, 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, for this crucial discussion provided by Resident Associates.

Thursday, June 16 Never Complain About that Washer Again

Go back to a time when doing laundry consisted of more than pushing a button in this blast from the past. Twist and turn your way into this free laundry day that the whole family will love. Learn what it was really like to do laundry before the invention of washing machines! See if you can take the heat as you wash, rinse, wring and repeat your way through a batch of laundry just like Americans did at home during the 19th century. After the program, visit Within These Walls to learn more about the laundry life of families in the 1880s. So roll up your sleeves and start washing from 10:30 to 11:30 outside the American History Museum, on the South side Mall terrace.

Friday, June 17 A Bunch of Hot Air

After you have cooled off from the Friday heat, join Dr. Tom Crouch, senior aeronautics curator, as he chairs a panel of authorities on Civil War ballooning tonight at 7 p.m. at the Air and Space Museum. Listen as experts including Mike Boehme, Virginia Aviation Museum director; Dr. James Green, NASA; and Thomas Hilt, USN, (Ret.) talk about the role that balloon travel played in the Civil War. On June 18, 1861, Thaddeus. Lowe’s tethered ascent from the area in front of the present site of the National Air and Space Museum attracted the support of President Abraham Lincoln. Lowe’s demonstration of how a gas-filled balloon could be used to spy on the Confederate troops intrigued Lincoln and led to the creation of a Union Army Balloon Corps, becoming the first military air unit and it is now the oldest military aeronautical unit in American history. Hear this distinguished panel of scholars discuss the events leading up to this historic flight, ballooning during the Civil War, and the birth of aerial reconnaissance in America. While the event is free, do not let your chance float away. Be sure to make a reservation to hold your seat.

For a complete listing of Smithsonian Museum events and exhibitions visit the GoSmithsonian Visitors Guide.


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