Credit Mariah Miranda

Plus, a Free “Future Fitness Night” Gets Everyone Moving, “Doing Nothing with A.I.” Slows it Down, and More

It is Earth Day, and “FUTURES” at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building (AIB) invites visitors to explore big, bold and exciting solutions for the planet with “Earth Days @ FUTURES: A Sustainability Celebration” April 22–24, a weekend-long festival to renew, reduce, recycle and reinspire a love for the world and its living ecosystems.

Kicking off on Earth Day Friday, April 22, a special “Fridays@Futures” at 5:30–7 p.m. will explore all things sustainable. Visitors can tour the exhibition with expert guides to learn surprising facts about objects that push the future of renewability forward, such as a water harvester, fish skin fashion or the Last Whole Earth Catalog, a 1960s guide that helped kick off the modern sustainability movement.

The festival goes into full swing Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, when audiences can embark on mind-expanding journey through the food, energy, transportation and communities that could help meet the Earth’s needs today and for generations to come. This includes a FUTURES Food Market with tasting samples and speculative future recipes from Ikea’s think tank Space10, an energy-efficient silent disco, an interactive biodegradable living art wall, a book swap, seed pop-ups, a bike maintenance station, a morning sound bath and more.

Both days, visitors will also have a chance to hear directly from exciting experts and innovators. Saturday will feature “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel: Energizing our FUTURES” at 4 p.m. ET, a look into the leading edge of wind, solar and water power and the defining role energy could play in shaping the future. Sunday will convene “We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Panel: Future of Transportation” at 4 p.m. ET, delving into the ways rethinking how people get around—electric or autonomous cars, mass transit, personal flight, even scooters—could radically transform cities and the planet.

Visitors can also take VR tour through the future of water and learn how their choices matter with a new “Water, Water, Everywhere…” experience created in partnership with Oracle, charge their phones and themselves at new solar-powered Recharge Station gazebos in the Haupt Garden featuring recyclable solar panels from First Solar and get to see Ford’s new all-electric Lightning truck prototype up close.

Other programs in April include:

  • “Future Fitness Night” (in person and virtual); Thursday, April 7, 6:30 p.m. ET: In celebration of World Health Day, AIB invites audiences to treat both body and mind with the ingredients they need to be ready for tomorrow. This one-hour evening wellness experience is a one-stop-fitness-shop combining gratitude practice, sound bathing, kickboxing and yoga taught by enthusiastic teachers and community ambassadors. Designed for fitness explorers of all levels, this event is free with registration required.
  • “Tell Me More: Doing Nothing with AI” (in person and virtual); Thursday, April 14, 6:30 p.m. ET: How much time do people spend mindlessly scrolling through email or packing their schedules with busyness? What if that time was used to daydream or mediate to allow for more creative problem solving? Austrian artist and researcher Emanuel Gollob and his installation “Doing Nothing with AI” uses robotic choreography and a learning AI to push “FUTURES” visitors to in fact, discover the joy and productivity in doing nothing. Gollob is joined by award-winning science communicator Emily Graslie for AIB’s signature series “Tell Me More,” which peels back the curtain to invite audiences to join in the discovery of groundbreaking innovations.
  • “Fridays @ FUTURES” (in person); Friday, April 1, 8, 15 and 29, 5:30–7 p.m. ET: Friday night in “FUTURES,” visitors can start the weekend off right with a generous helping of new ideas and surprising brain snacks. They can explore the entire exhibition until 7 p.m. and keep coming back each week for a new and interesting take on the future through special tours, pop-up experiences, guest speakers and more. Free and open to drop-ins, no advance registration is required.

For more details, the public can visit aib.si.edu/happenings.

“Earth Days @ FUTURES: A Sustainability Celebration” is made possible by First Solar, Oracle and Ford. “Tell Me More: Doing Nothing with AI” is made possible by Accenture. Livestreaming for programs is supported by Comcast NBCUniversal.

About “FUTURES”

“FUTURES” is the Smithsonian’s first major building-wide exploration of the future and temporarily reopens its oldest museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition, part-festival, designed by award-winning architecture firm Rockwell Group, celebrates the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon.

On view through July 6, “FUTURES” is open every day except Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free, and no timed tickets are currently required. For more information and to plan a visit, the public can go to aib.si.edu.

“FUTURES” is made possible by a select group of sponsors and supporters: Amazon Web Services, Autodesk, Bell Textron Inc., Jacqueline B. Mars, John and Adrienne Mars, the Embassy of the State of Qatar, David M. Rubenstein, and SoftBank Group. Major support is also provided by the Annenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Kevin S. Bright and Claudia W. Bright, and Robert Kogod. Additional funding is provided by Accenture, John Brock III, Comcast NBCUniversal, Events DC, First Solar, Ford Motor Company, Wendy Dayton, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, the Suzanne Nora Johnson and David Johnson Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, MedWand Solutions, National Football League, the National Football Players Association and Oracle.

About the Arts and Industries Building

The Arts and Industries Building (AIB) is a home for the future-curious. The Smithsonian’s second-oldest building opened in 1881 as America’s first National Museum, an architectural icon in the heart of the National Mall. Its soaring halls introduced millions to wonders about to change the world—Edison’s lightbulb, the first telephone, Apollo rockets. Dubbed “Palace of Wonders” and “Mother of Museums,” AIB incubated new Smithsonian museums for over 120 years before finally closing to the public in 2004. “FUTURES” is a milestone first step in the long-term plan to renovate and permanently reopen this landmark space. For more information, visit aib.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.