After years of planning, fundraising, design, and construction, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will finally open its doors on September 24 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. There is room for everyone at the outdoor Dedication Ceremony; however, tickets to tour the exhibits and interior of this spectacular new museum on opening weekend have all been snapped up! Free same-day passes will be made available on weekdays starting September 26; free advance passes for October, November, and December can be obtained online. Visit NMAAHC’s website for details on same-day and advance passes, as well as more information about the Dedication Ceremony.
It’s a boy! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is celebrating the birth of the as-yet-unnamed male Bornean orangutan, born September 12. “Each and every birth of a critically endangered species is significant, but it is all the more exciting and this is a historic moment for our Smithsonian’s National Zoo,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates and member of the Orangutan SSP Steering Committee. Some of us feel we already know mama Batang, as the Zoo provided weekly updates on her condition for the past 12 weeks on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For now, the Zoo’s Great Ape House will be closed to give Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant, but keepers will continue to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos using the hashtag #OrangutanStory.
The Maryland State Police and the Maryland Department of Transportation are taking part in Hunger Action Month by hosting their fourth annual statewide food drive to benefit the Maryland Food Bank (MFB). Already underway, the food drive goes through September 30, and includes an online virtual food drive option so you can donate some of MFB’s most-needed foods from home. Visit MFB’s website for more information on how you can get involved in this event, or other local events across the state, during Hunger Action Month.
As you might guess from the event’s title — Boldly Go 50 Celebration — the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) will celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with a free event on September 9 from 7:00-11:00 pm. Enjoy photo ops, tours, and special presentations all evening, and visit the Starship Enterprise in its new home in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. Or perhaps you’d like to go all out by arriving in costume for a contest to see who can best replicate Lt. Uhura, Spock, or Captain James T. Kirk’s signature style. For more information, visit NASM’s website.
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts pulled out all the stops on September 16 at its annual Wolf Trap Ball—held at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, on the spectacular, second-largest stage in the nation. Themed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, guests were greeted by stunning images of our national parks on 28-foot screens, as well as décor representing the importance and grandeur of the 400+ national park sites across America. Evening highlights included a classic American-cuisine gourmet dinner, dancing, and a performance by mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves.
The theme for this year’s American Horticultural Society (AHS) Annual Gala, Celebrating the Gardens of Virginia: Enjoying the Beauty and Bounty of the Earth, perfectly captures the feeling you get strolling the incredible grounds of AHS’s River Farm headquarters. Marvel at the beautiful gardens, savor a sumptuous three-course dinner, and enjoy the silent auction (vacation trips, dazzling jewelry, distinctive garden decor and tools, etc.), all while overlooking the Potomac River. The Gala, on Saturday, September 17, features honored guest J. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This memorable night will support AHS’s outreach programs and stewardship of River Farm. Visit AHS’s website for tickets and more information.
One hundred years ago, George Gustav Heye opened his personal collection of thousands of Native American artifacts to the public, calling it the Museum of the American Indian—the predecessor institution to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC. To celebrate the centennial of the Museum’s founding, NMAI is holding a special symposium at its Heye Museum in New York City. Vistas and Dreams: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Museum of the American Indian will feature distinguished scholars delving into the late 19th and early 20th century contexts of North American museums, philanthropy, personal and scientific collecting, and perceptions of Native people. A reception with refreshments follows the event. Visit NMAI’s website for more information about the symposium.
September is Hispanic Heritage Month, and all Smithsonian Museums are celebrating — including the National Zoo, where Friends of the National Zoo will host ZooFiesta on Sunday, September 18, from 10:00 am-5:00 pm. This free celebration includes live music, authentic gourmet cuisine, and educational activities about conservation in Central and South America. Animal keepers will give talks, feedings, and demonstrations highlighting animals native to the region: sloths, giant anteaters, Panamanian golden frogs, etc. Visit the Zoo’s website for more information.
And on the West Coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium holds its Cooking for Solutions Party on Saturday, October 1. A fundraiser like no other—this party is an “ocean-healthy lifestyle celebration” with more than 60 restaurants, wineries, and breweries serving up their finest food and drink all evening. Emmy-winning chef and television celebrity Nathan Lyon will prepare an interactive dessert with a blow torch — s’mores with homemade marshmallows. Then the Aquarium turns into an underwater nightclub with dancing and entertainment for the rest of the night. For tickets and more information, visit MBA’s website.
And just a quick heads up that the Rainforest Action Network’s annual REVEL Gala is coming to San Francisco on Thursday, October 13—details to follow in October’s FYI, but visit RAN’s website if you want to learn more now…tickets are selling fast.