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Events March 30-April 1: Tap Festival, Mysteries of Mail, Japanese Paper Dioramas

The weekend is packed with dance events, family fun and some crafty ideas for the whole family

jazz appreciation month

This Friday, feet will fly in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month. Image courtesy of the American History Museum.

Friday, March 30 Chloe and Maud’s DC Tap Festival Jam Session

The clickity-clack of tap shoes is a sound no one can mistake: the varying rhythms and stomps to the beat—the echo when metal hits wooden floor. This weekend, to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), join some of the world’s best dancers and students as they hit the floor during the opening event, Chloe and Maud’s D.C. Tap Festival Jam Session, which includes live jazz and tap dance improvisations from performers of all ages.  At the National Museum of American History, celebrity and big names will be in the house. To list a few: legendary tapper and vaudevillian, Harold Cromer—one half of the dynamic comedy duo “Stump and Stumpy”— creators of the D.C. Tap Festival, Chloe and Maud Arnold, Emmy Award Winner Ted Levy, and local bands like Herb Spice and the Cinnamonstix, with guest artist Ben Williams on bass.

The event will take place in the 1st Floor Lobby. Free. 7 to 9:30 p.m. National Museum of American History.

Saturday, March 31 Mysteries of Mail Family Day

It doesn’t take much to send a message these days. With texting, tweeting and emails, it seems as though we’ve forgotten about good old fashioned “snail mail.” Sending a hand-written letter may not be as easy as tapping the “send” button, but the path that it takes has a history and the postal system may have a lot more to it. This Saturday at Mysteries of Mail Family Day, take a time-traveling journey through the postal-past to discover the inner workings of the system that made it possible to send a newspaper in the 1800s, mail a postcard home from the battlefield during World War I, and ship a crate of eggs to Alaska.

How did machines read your handwriting? How did engineers sort it all out? As a part of the Systems at Work exhibit, this event will answer the questions you probably didn’t even know you had.

Free. Noon to 3:00 p.m. National Postal Museum.

Sunday, April 1 Japanese Paper Dioramas: Tatebanko

How many ways can you look at a mountain? Discover the answer at the Sackler Gallery where Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, is currently on view. The landmark series features innovative compositions, techniques and colors and established landscape as a new subject for Japanese artists. Grab an activity guide at the front desk to explore the exhibit, and in the classroom, create a layered miniature diorama (tatebanko) using reprints of  Hokusai’s landscapes. Free. 2:00 p.m. Freer and Sackler Galleries.

For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.

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