The Smithsonian Institution Building (“The Castle”) in Washington, D.C., at dusk. Photo: Ken Rahaim, Smithsonian
The Smithsonian will celebrate the first Saturday of summer—“Solstice Saturday”—with free parties, programs and performances throughout the day and night June 25. Most museums on the National Mall will have extended hours, with several museums open until midnight. Visitors who stay late can explore exhibitions, join a garden dance party or enjoy a concert on the National Mall hosted by the ongoing Folklife Festival. First launched in 2018, this is the fourth annual Solstice Saturday. Programming was virtual in 2020 and canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19.
The following museums and gardens will be open with extended hours:
Open until 8 p.m.:
- The National Museum of African American History and Culture; passes are not required after 5:30 p.m.
- The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Open until midnight:
- The National Museum of Natural History
- The National Museum of Asian Art
- The National Museum of African Art
- The Smithsonian Institution Building (“The Castle”)
- The Arts and Industries Building
- The Enid A. Haupt Garden
The following is a sampling of programs; a full schedule of events is available. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will also present programming and performances from 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. on the National Mall between Seventh and 12th streets. A full schedule of festival programs for the day is available at festival.si.edu.
Living Longer Festival: Health + Wellness 2050
Arts and Industries Building; 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
For this day of fun, learning and wellness, the “FUTURES” exhibition blasts into the near future to look at how everyone can live longer, better, healthier lives. Visitors can join a full day of activities, including a drawing for relaxation workshop, the special interactive pop-up “The Doctor Is in (Space)!” featuring a futuristic health-care visit in the year 2050, meet-and-greet conversations with innovators and inventers featured in “FUTURES,” an exciting expert-led panel discussion to explore health on the horizon, and glow yoga after dark. The public can see a full schedule and RSVP online.
Anacostia Community Museum’s Women’s Environmental Leadership Lecture Series—WATER BLOCK: Urban Design and Environmental Justice
National Museum of Natural History; 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Award-winning designer and educator Atianna J. Cordova, founder and CEO of WATER BLOCK and WATER BLOCK Kids will present an exploration of her ongoing collaboration with communities in New Orleans and beyond at the intersection of environmental advocacy, design and urban planning. The conversation will trace Cordova’s personal and professional journeys and the importance of intersectionality and community leadership in advancing racial and environmental justice. The program will be held in the Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, on the ground floor of the National Museum of Natural History. Advance registration is requested online.
National Museum of Asian Art and Enid A. Haupt Garden; 5:30 p.m.–12 a.m.
Visitors can experience the art and cultures of Asia through an outdoor dance party featuring DJ Ayes Cold, a Washington club and bass music DJ known for her eclectic selections, or explore the museum’s exhibitions until midnight. Music in the nearby Enid A. Haupt Garden will take place from 8–11 p.m.
En Pura Plena: Celebrating the Life and Loves of Tito Matos
Smithsonian Folklife Festival; 6:30–9:15 p.m.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will present a tribute to master plena percussionist Héctor René “Tito” Matos Otero. The tribute, a journey through the many Puerto Rican plena aesthetics he promoted, will include several performances from Caribbean jazz fusion by Oakland-based John Santos Sextet and Friends to orchestrated plena by New York City-based Los Pleneros de la 21. The tribute will take place at the festival’s main stage on the National Mall near 12th Street.
Earth and the Great Weather: A Sonic Geography of the Arctic
Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden; 9 p.m.–10:30 p.m.
The 21st Century Consort returns to the Hirshhorn Museum with a special, one-night-only performance of John Luther Adams’ Earth and the Great Weather. Combining music, natural sounds and languages (English, Iñupiaq, Gwich’in and Latin), Adams’ operetta transports attendees on a “journey through the physical, cultural and spiritual landscapes of the Artic.” Under the director of Christopher Kendall, an ensemble of strings, percussionists and vocalists will perform under the stars in the museum’s Sculpture Garden on the National Mall. Free passes required.
About Hofstra University’s Astronomy Festival on the National Mall
Solstice Saturday is held in association with Hofstra University’s Astronomy Festival on the National Mall. The festival features solar, optical and radio telescope observations; hands-on activities; speakers from scientific and educational organizations; and a chance to mingle with astronomers. The festival takes place Saturday, June 25, from 6 to11 p.m. in front of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Hofstra University is a nationally ranked and recognized private university in Hempstead, New York.