A Garden Party and 21 Other Things to Do in August at the Smithsonian

A Garden Party and 21 Other Things to Do in August at the Smithsonian

SMITHSONIAN at 8's A Garden Party: From Africa to Asia will take place Friday, Aug. 16 in the Enid A. Haupt Garden. Guests will enjoy music, cocktails, curator talks and late-night access to galleries featuring art from the African and Asian continents.
SMITHSONIAN at 8's A Garden Party: From Africa to Asia will take place Friday, Aug. 16 in the Enid A. Haupt Garden. Guests will enjoy music, cocktails, curator talks and late-night access to galleries featuring art from the African and Asian continents.

Thursday, August 1

Discovery Theater Presents Beatboxing with Max: Max, an astounding human beatbox, introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own body. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math and music. This show is appropriate for ages 5-16 and is also playing August 2. Showtimes are at 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. $3-$9

Darley Newman and Carman Chan dine at Sei Kee Cafe in Macao. Newman will speak at the Smithsonian on Aug. 1. (Travels with Darley)

Travels with Darley: Inside Hong Kong and Macao: Come discover the history, culture and cuisine of a pair of fascinating Asian destinations and get expert tips from television host Darley Newman, who previews a new episode of her PBS series Travels With Darley. After the program guests will enjoy a light reception featuring Asian appetizers and drinks. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Friday, August 2

Smithsonian Sleepover at the Natural History Museum: Don’t just dream about adventure on a summer night, have one! Pack your sleeping bag and a toothbrush and venture to the National Museum of Natural History, as it closes its doors. Wander into the newly opened Fossil Hall, where dinosaurs cast giant shadows; explore the ocean’s aquatic wonders; walk softly pass mysterious mammals—did that one blink? Swap stories while enjoying hands-on crafts projects and games. And then, as the lights dim, roll out your sleeping bag and dream away, knowing that Phoenix the whale is keeping watch throughout your night in the museum. For kids 8-14 and their chaperones. This program also takes place Aug. 9. 7 p.m. $100-$120

Saturday, August 3

Splendor of English Country House: The country houses of England are among the country’s greatest treasures. Art historian Bonita Billman surveys a selection of these grand estates, known for their architectural magnificence, spectacular decorative art and art collections and glorious gardens. 9:30 a.m. $90-$140

Pointed-Pen Calligraphy: This one-day workshop gets you started in the calligraphic style used for envelopes, invitations, place cards, escort card, menus and more recently, in home-decorating signage. Students learn the basic strokes that make up the copperplate script alphabet and practice using nibs in an elbow holder. No prior experience required, just a steady hand. 9:30 a.m. $95-$115

Books to Leaf Through: The Washington area is a book lover’s playground, with excellent local bookstores satisfying every kind of literary taste. Join some of the district’s knowledgeable local booksellers as they preview upcoming titles in genres they know and love. 10 a.m. $80-$130

Mosaic Jewelry: This comprehensive workshop covers the key knowledge and techniques needed to create unique fine mosaic jewelry. Learn about topics including jewelry-base selection, adhesive choice, and suitable tesserae, and get experience in the skills of precision cutting, artistic laying techniques, and working on a small scale. 10:15 a.m. $145-$165

Tuesday, August 6

A Toast to Mead: Grab your horned helmet, battleax and tankard: It’s time to rediscover the world’s oldest fermented beverage. It’s mead, everyone’s favorite ancient honey-based intoxicant—and it’s making a comeback! Raise your own glass at a mead tasting at the conclusion of the program. 6:45 p.m. $35-$50

Thursday, August 8

Marian Anderson: A New Look at an Iconic Life: A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, One Life: Marian Anderson, examines how the performer’s roles as singer, diplomat and muse helped shatter segregationist policies on and off the stage. Join curator Leslie Ureña, to learn about the making of the exhibition and the powerful cultural and artistic themes it illuminates. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Botanicals in Watercolor: In this three-session course open to all levels, students discover the versatility and fluidity of working in watercolors while exploring the functional and aesthetic elements of color and design found in plants. 6:30 p.m. $135-$165

Saturday, August 10

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Vision of Religious History Unfolds: The initial discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, and their publication in 1948, changed the study of ancient religions. Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Gary Rendsburg explores details of the documents’ discovery and what research has revealed about their origins and influence on the development of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. 9:30 a.m. $90-$140

Monday, August 12

Road Trip: The American Car Past, Present, and Driverless: The imminent arrival of the driverless car has forced us to reevaluate the place of the automobile in our lives. Historian and car critic Dan Albert combines historical scholarship and personal narrative to trace the history of the automobile as the history of America. 6:45 p.m. $20-$30

Tuesday, August 13

From Walden Pond to Woodstock: The Transcendentalist Roots of the 1960s Counterculture: The vibes of peace, love and nature that shaped the counterculture of the 1960s have a connection that might have surprised some of its laid-back proponents: the landscape of 19th-century New England transcendentalism. Bill Dinges, a professor of religion and culture at Catholic University, explores this notable American intellectual movement and how it inspired the activism, literature and religion of that turbulent decade and beyond. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Wednesday, August 14

Breakfast with Einstein: Quantum Physics Over Easy: Think that the esoteric, abstract realm of quantum physics has no relevance to our daily lives? Physics professor and author Chad Orzel wakes us up to the fact that even the routines by which we start our day—involving everything from making toast to checking our phone—provide scientific evidence of the connection between our quotidian world and the quantum world. 6:45 p.m. $15-$35

Thursday, August 15

Tiki Time! Exotic Cocktails and the Cult of the Tiki Bar: In countless restaurants and bars, rum drinks topped with paper umbrellas, “exotic” foods and fantasy Polynesian décor offered mid-century America’s favorite tropical escape. Martin and Rebecca Cate, founders of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, lead a colorful journey into the lore and legend of tiki culture and its modern revival, and offer samples of their bar’s original cocktail recipes. 6:45 p.m. $50-$65

Friday, August 16

SMITHSONIAN at 8 Presents A Garden Party: From Africa to Asia: There’s no better place to celebrate summer than the Enid A. Haupt Garden, flanked by the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery. Spend an evening in the dramatically lit garden, and enjoy late-night access to galleries featuring art from the African and Asian continents, music by DJ Alkimist, specialty cocktails, curator talks and more. Guests must be 21 to attend. 8 p.m. $30-$55

Saturday, August 17

The Geologic Past of the Mid-Atlantic Region: Geologist and Washington native Callan Bentley leads a fascinating day-long exploration of the Mid-Atlantic region that traces an extraordinary history spanning more than a billion years of geologic time. 10 a.m. $90-$140

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Smithsonian Sleepover at the Udvar-Hazy Center: There’s no more perfect setting for dreams of flight than the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Sleepover guests are on a mission to explore the whole world of flight, from its pioneering days through the era of commercial aviation to the excitement of today’s space program. Kids ages 8-14 and their chaperones will grab a 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. 7 p.m. $100-$120

Introduction to Pastels: Cezanne-Inspired Landscapes: Working in Smithsonian gardens to capture colors in nature and their interaction with light, students learn Cezanne’s color-blocking style to achieve the brilliant and subtle effects characteristic of the medium during this two-session weekend workshop. The second session will be held on August 24. 10 a.m. $175-$195

Wednesday, August 21

Overtourism: How to Avoid it: From Machu Picchu to Prague to Reykjavik, popular destinations everywhere are being overrun by hordes of tourists, turning a trip into a nightmare for many. Join Washington Post travel writer Andrea Sachs and other travel pros as they discuss destinations to avoid, places to visit instead and how to be a more responsible traveler today. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45

Friday, August 23

Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Portrait Gallery: Spend the night in the Smithsonian museum that tells the stories of America through the people who have shaped our nation, from pre-colonial times to today. Experience the roles of the artist, art critic and storyteller in this unique sleepover for kids aged 10 to 14. Inspired by a variety of visual art mediums, games and an immersive journey through the museum, sleepover guests create their own portfolios and display their work in a one-night-only gallery exhibition. 7 p.m. $100-$120

Monday, August 26

Music of 1969: Talking ‘Bout My Generation: In 1969 the events rocking American culture and society found a corresponding reflection in pop music. From Woodstock to “American Pie,” explore the music of that era and why it endures in this three-session course. The first session focuses on Woodstock. 6:45 p.m. $30-$45