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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Smithsonian



The Smithsonian celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums around the Institution. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events, visit

Feature Event

The Smithsonian will present “Hispanic Heritage Month Family Day” Saturday, Sept. 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The family day will include crafts and art activities, music and dance performances, storytelling and bilingual tours.



The National Museum of American History will feature “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!” on weekends in September and October. In a brief theater piece, actor Manolo Santalla will portray Spanish American Adm. David Farragut, hero of the Battle of Mobile Bay in the Civil War. The performance will take place in the exhibition, “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War.” 



The National Museum of the American Indian will present “Dinner and a Movie: ‘La Mission’” (2009, 117 minutes) Friday, Oct. 9, at 5 p.m. (dinner) and 7 p.m. (movie). This film features Emmy-nominated actor Benjamin Bratt (“Law & Order” and “Love in the Time of Cholera”), who stars in brother Peter Bratt’s story of family, community and classic cars in San Francisco’s Mission District. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Dinner will be available at the museum’s Mitsitam Café and the film will be shown at the Rasmuson Theater. The screening is free, but online reservations must be made in advance beginning Sept. 15 by going to film is recommended for mature audiences.



Inspired by stories of migrant labor, poets will read from their works amid the artifacts in the exhibition, “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942–1964” at the National Museum of American History. “Poetics of Labor: A Reading Series” will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 27, at noon and 3 p.m. This lecture is presented in collaboration with Letras Latinas, a literary program at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.


Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who began his public career as a community organizer advocating for health care in older and minority neighborhoods, and Jorge Castañeda, former foreign secretary of Mexico, will discuss the legacy of the Bracero Program Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the National Museum of American History. Matthew Garcia, outreach director for the Bracero Archive, will moderate. 


The Smithsonian American Art Museum will present “Latino Art in Transition” Friday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the McEvoy Auditorium. During this lecture, renowned artist PepÏŒn Osorio and emerging artist Miguel Luciano will discuss ways in which Latino art is changing.


Family Activities

Guided by local artist and author Edwin Fontánez, children can create journals to record their observations of nature, decorating them with pictures of their favorite animals, flowers and birds Saturday, Sept. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the National Museum of Natural History. “Create Your Own Nature Bio-Journal” is recommended for children ages 4 and up.


The National Air and Space Museum will present “The Airplane Comes of Age: The World Starts to Fly” Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This family day will celebrate early flight with a focus on pilots from South and Central America. There will be activities for children of all ages, and bilingual presentations will be included. 


The Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park will host “Fiesta Musical,” its annual all-day fiesta, Sunday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event for the whole family will include costumed dancers, Latino music and food, traditional crafts and animal demonstrations. Zoo scientists will be on hand to discuss field research in Latin American countries. This event will be held rain or shine.





In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Renwick Gallery will offer three bilingual

walk-in tours of the permanent collection Mondays, Sept. 21 and Oct. 5 and 12, at noon. A tour in English only will be offered Monday, Sept. 28. Meet in the museum’s lobby.


The Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer four bilingual gallery tours Mondays,

Sept. 21 and 28 and Oct. 5 and 12, at 12:30 p.m. The tours will trace the work of Hispanic American artists from the 19th century to the present, highlighting ways in which the Latino experience is reflected in American art. Meet in the F Street lobby.



The Smithsonian Latino Center will present the exhibition “Panamanian Passages” from Oct. 5 through May 31, 2010, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center’s Concourse. This bilingual exhibition is a multisensory journey through Panama’s human and natural history since the rise of the isthmus more than 3 million years ago. Key chapters in that history include early indigenous settlement, the building of the canal and the 20th-century struggle for sovereignty. This exhibition was organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Museo del Canal Interoceánico de Panamá.


“Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964” opens at the National Museum of American History Sept. 9 and will be on view through Jan. 3, 2010. This exhibition examines the Bracero Program and the experiences of bracero workers—temporary Mexican laborers—and their families. The Bracero Program, a little-known chapter of American and Mexican history, was originally created to fill the labor shortages of World War II. Between 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexican men came to the United States on short-term labor contracts, making it the largest guest-worker program in U.S. history. The exhibition draws extensively from the museum’s collection of photographs taken by photojournalist Leonard Nadel in 1956, as well as oral histories, documents and objects collected by the Bracero Oral History Project.


This information is subject to change. For more information on the Hispanic Heritage Month programs, call (202) 633-5299 or e-mail For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000 or (202) 633-5460 (TTY).

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