The Smithsonian celebrates the 35th Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May with kid-friendly activities, performances, films and lectures. All events are free unless otherwise indicated. Reservations are strongly recommended for select programs. A full calendar of events and information about tickets are available here.
The Institution will kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the National Museum of Natural History Saturday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with its “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Family Day: I Am Beyond.” Inspired by the exhibition, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” the day includes arts-and-crafts activities, interactive performances, exhibition tours, storytelling for young children, music, a scavenger hunt and a magic performance. Visit www.apa.si.edu for more information. Admission is free; no reservations are required.
The National Postal Museum will present “Family Day Fun” Saturday, May 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can commemorate the 145th anniversary of the completion of the intercontinental railroad while learning about Chinese heritage and National Train Day through family-friendly activities. The day includes dance performances, games and a reading of the children’s book Coolies, a story of the Chinese experience in early America.
The National Museum of the American Indian will present “Celebrate Hawai’i,” Friday, May 16, through Sunday, May 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian. Visitors of all ages can try their hand at kapa (bark cloth) stamping, Hawaiian kit making, lei making and traditional games.
As part of the “Celebrate Hawai’i” festival, Kūpaoa, the husband-and-wife duo of Līhau Hannahs Paik and Kellen Paik will present a concert at the National Museum of the American Indian Saturday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. The performance includes a special hula presentation by Patrick Makuakāne and Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu.
The National Museum of the American Indian presents Dinner and a Movie featuring Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau (Hawaiian: 2013, 90 minutes; short subject: 2013, 6 minutes) Friday, May 16. The documentary chronicles the life of the legendary Hawaiian big-wave surfer and doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a. Dinner will be served in the Mitsitam Café at 5:45 p.m., and the documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater.
Lectures and Exhibitions
The Freer Gallery of Art will present “Current Matters: Exploring the Lives of Water in Asia” Saturday, May 31, at 2 p.m. Visitors will join artist Charles Lim and author John Wennersten in a discussion of water issues in Asia. Lim and Wennersten will consider relationships between humanity and ecology in art—across cultures and throughout history—in order to gain a broader perspective on today’s global water problems.
The National Museum of Natural History will host “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” through Aug. 16, 2015. The exhibition looks at contributions to American life made by Indian immigrants and Indian Americans. Tours are available on Fridays and on weekends. A schedule of tours can be found here.
The Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center will present “A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America,” an online exhibit marking the 145th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony, a celebration of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The exhibition will showcase photographs and videos of Asian Pacific American life provided by the public through Flickr. On May 10, photographers and videographers of all skill levels are encouraged to capture images reflecting Asian Pacific American life and submit their work to the Smithsonian Flickr group. More information is available here.
The Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center will co-sponsor, “Asian American Literature Today: Tarifa Faizullah” Wednesday, May 21, at 4 p.m, at the Library of Congress Mary Pickford Theater. Poet Tarifa Faizulla will debut Seam, her collection of poems reflecting Asian American culture and heritage.
The National Museum of American History will display the Nisei Congressional Gold Medal through June 1. The medal was recently awarded to the Japanese American veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service.