Events May 28-30: Sylvan Sounds, Trivia Night and Joseph Henry

This week, see the art that launched the Freer Gallery, test your knowledge of DC celebrities and meet the Smithsonian’s first secretary

Painter Thomas Dewing
Painter Thomas Dewing (1851 to 1938) was best known for his tonalist style, which blurred images to create a dream-like effect. See his work in “Sylvan Sounds: Freer, Dewing and Japan,” which opens at the Freer Gallery on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Flick user deflam

Tuesday, May 28: “Sylvan Sounds: Freer, Dewing and Japan

In 1923, Charles Lang Freer founded the Freer Gallery, one of Smithsonian’s two Asian art Museums. His taste for Japanese art in particular grew out of a love for the enigmatic tonalist landscapes by American painter Thomas Dewing, who was himself influenced by Japanese pastoral paintings. Today, a new exhibition opens entitled “Sylvan Sounds: Freer, Dewing and Japan.” It juxtaposes Dewing’s works with the Edo period prints Freer acquired in the 1890s, including hanging scrolls and screens. Check it out! Free. 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Freer Gallery.

Wednesday, May 29: Pop quiz: Hometown Heroes

What do Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nye the Science Guy and J.C. from ‘N SYNC have in common? They were all born in Washington, DC, of course! If you think you’re an expert on DC’s famous sons and daughters—or, you know, if you just want to have a good time with your friends—drop by the National Portrait Gallery after work this evening for a trivia night dedicated to the city’s hometown heroes. Free (drinks and snacks available for purchase). 6:30 p.m. National Portrait Gallery, Kogod Courtyard.

Thursday, May 30: Historic Theater: Meet Joseph Henry

Just how did the Smithsonian Institution begin, anyway? Joseph Henry, the first secretary, is cruising the American History Museum’s halls today (actually, he’s a historical reenactor) to talk about the Smithsonian during the Civil War and Henry’s great influence on the Institution from during the years 1846 to 1878. Ask him about electromagnets! Free. 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. American History Museum.

Also, check out our Visitors Guide App. Get the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C. and the National Mall with this selection of custom-built tours, based on your available time and passions. From the editors of Smithsonian magazine, the app is packed with handy navigational tools, maps, museum floor plans and museum information including ‘Greatest Hits’ for each Smithsonian museum.

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

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