18 Things to Do at the Smithsonian in May

18 Things to Do at the Smithsonian in May

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy Center (Smithsonian Associates)
Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy Center (Smithsonian Associates)

Wednesday, May 1

DC’s Kwame Onwuachi: Notes From a Young Black Chef: Drawing on his new memoir, the executive chef of Kith and Kin at the Wharf shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age: one about the intersection of food, fame and race. 6:45 p.m. $25-$35

Saturday, May 4

Southern Maryland’s Chesapeake Heritage: Exploring Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties: Environmental historian Hayden Mathews leads a two-day tour that delves into the often-overlooked riches that Calvert and St. Mary’s counties offer to visitors including the Calvert Marine Museum, a tour of St. Mary’s City and Sotterly Plantation. 8 a.m. $495-$735

Tuesday, May 7

Discovery Theater Presents Tigers, Dragons, & Other Wise 'Tails': From ancient to modern, four tales come alive with the culture of the Asian countryside. Ages 5-10. Also playing on Wednesday, May 8-Friday, May 10. 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $3-$8

Wednesday, May 8

The Human Swarm: How Societies Manage To Stick Together: Mark W. Moffett, a biologist and Smithsonian research associate in entomology, examines findings in psychology, sociology and anthropology that explain the social adaptations that bind members of societies, and explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how those groups work—and sometimes don’t. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Friday, May 10

Seneca and Stoicism: An Ancient Philosophy’s Modern Relevance: Can Stoicism’s guiding emphasis on emotional moderation and the importance of moral choices provide us with some guideposts for navigating today’s world? Classicist James Romm examines the philosophy transmitted by Seneca the Younger with an eye to whether we can benefit from borrowing his Stoic outlook. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Draw Like Tiepolo: In a two-session workshop, students begin by drawing from the master’s works to help them grasp the idea of gesture, movement and the grouping of figures. They end by applying their new Tiepolo-inspired skills to contemporary images. The workshops comprise lecture, demonstration and one-on-one instruction. All skill levels welcome. 2 p.m. $75-$95

Saturday, May 11

Confidence with Color in Quilting: This two-session class offer quilters of all levels an opportunity to become familiar with the vocabulary of color and to learn how to use printed fabric to create spectacular color combinations. 10:15 a.m. $75-$95

Masterworks of Five Centuries 2018-2019 Concert Series: The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society features musical masterpieces from the 17th to the early 21st century, played on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments at the American History Museum. This concert features works of Bach, Haydn and Mozart. Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m. Concert: 7:30 p.m. $25-$35

Monday, May 13

The Global Grocery Store: How Your Food Gets From Farm to Table: Food historian Robyn Metcalfe explores an often-overlooked aspect of the global food system: how food moves from producer to consumer. She finds that the food supply chain is adapting to our increasingly complex demands for both personalization and convenience. But the future, she says, may bring changes to how we think about our food and our relationship to it. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Hiking the Jordan Trail: A path that Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all walked finds a new incarnation in the 400-mile Jordan Trail. Explorer Andrew Evans, one of the first Americans to hike its complete length, narrates the experience of his 40-day journey, showcasing his encounters with the nature, people, history and culture of Jordan. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Tuesday, May 14

Here It Comes: The Future Is Asian: From investment portfolios to trade wars, Hollywood movies to holiday travels, the influence of Asia on our lives—and the world’s economy—continues to grow. Shanghai-based global strategy advisor Parag Khanna examines why the Asian Century is a phenomenon far larger than we thought, and why there’s no more important region for us to better understand now. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Saturday, May 18

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center: There’s no more perfect setting for dreams of flight than the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Grab your flight checklist and take off for a night that includes plenty of games, art activities and close-up looks at some of the most historic and fascinating craft ever to take to the skies. Children ages 8 to 14 may participate. There must be at least one adult (21 and over) for every three children in any group that registers. 7 p.m. $125-$135

Monday, May 20

Babe Ruth: Playing it Big: Drawing on her new book, The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created, Jane Leavy discusses the Bambino’s journey from Baltimore to the big leagues to the center of the nation’s adulation. In conversation with local sports attorney Phil Hochberg, she goes behind the mythology to uncover the man whose approach to the game and to life was always to hit it with all you’ve got. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Tuesday, May 21

Chosen To Be Funny: Jewish Comedy Is No Laughing Matter: Jewish comedy is serious business. It can be traced back to biblical times—and to a people who used humor to deal with an uncaring universe. Jeremy Dauber traces the genre’s origins and evolution and shows how it has mirrored, and sometimes even shaped, the course of Jewish history. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Wednesday, May 22

An Immersion in Nature: Japanese “Forest Bathing”—Urban Style: Learn the benefits of quiet time spent in touch with nature as Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a certified nature and forest-therapy guide and author of The Joy of Forest Bathing, leads a 2-hour walk in the Smithsonian’s beautiful Enid A. Haupt Garden. 8:30 a.m. $30-$45

Discovery Theater Presents Black Diamond Reprise: This spirit-rousing musical play chronicles the struggles and triumphs of pioneering African American baseball players. You’ll stand up and cheer for the players who made sports history—and American history, too! Ages 6-12. Also playing on Thursday, May 23-Friday, May 24. 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $3-$8

Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change: Energy executive Daniel Poneman, senior fellow the Harvard Kennedy School and a former deputy secretary of the Department of Energy and member of the National Security Council, argues that a new approach to global energy policy can enhance the ability of nuclear power to combat climate change even as we reduce the risks of nuclear terror. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Friday, May 24

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Museum of American History: Solve a Smithsonian mystery of historic proportions! The devious diva Miss Rose has stolen six valuable objects from the National Museum of American History—and you need to discover what’s missing before evening’s end. Along the way, take part in some great games, experiments, and craft projects—and even become a presidential candidate. After you have solved the crime, roll out your bag and sleep soundly knowing that you’ve protected some of America’s treasures—and had plenty of fun. Children ages 8 to 14 may participate. There must be at least one adult (21 and over) for every three children in any group that registers. 7 p.m. $125-$135

For a full calendar of Smithsonian Associates events, visit