As part of the Smithsonian’s Heritage and History education initiative, the National Air and Space Museum presents a “Heritage Family Day” series celebrating ethnic and cultural diversity. The series coincides with national observances, focusing specifically on the contributions that diverse communities have made to aviation and space exploration. These activity-filled days, which take place at the museum’s National Mall building and its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., beginning February 2014, offer parents and children the opportunity to meet role models—ranging from World War II veterans to astronomers. Support for the “Heritage Family Day” series is provided by Northrop Grumman Corp.
“The museum’s dual mission, in history and science, come together in the ‘Heritage Family Day’ series,” said Maureen Kerr, education chair at the National Air and Space Museum. “The programs feature inspiring role models who have helped make history by their achievements in aviation and spaceflight.”
“Northrop Grumman is proud to sponsor the ‘Heritage Family Day’ series for the eighth consecutive year at the National Air and Space Museum,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, vice president of corporate responsibility, Northrop Grumman Corp. “We are excited to support this series because it recognizes the unsung heroes of STEM and is an incredible benefit to schools and families in the community.”
The 2014 series began Feb. 8 at the museum’s National Mall building with “African American Pioneers in Aviation Day,” and continues at the Udvar-Hazy Center Feb. 22, with the same theme. Visitors will have the chance to meet NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps and watch a new puppet show produced for the museum about the famous WWII pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen.
“Women in Aviation and Space Day” will take place March 15 at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Visitors will learn about the accomplishments of women in aviation, science and aerospace. Families can enjoy guest speakers, hands-on activities, a theatrical presentation and more, with special discounts for Girl Scouts.
On March 22, “Kites of Asia Day,” visitors to the National Mall building will experience the beauty of kites by celebrating the first aviation-related objects collected by the Smithsonian—two Chinese kites. There will be indoor kite flying, and experts will explain how kites influenced the development of aviation and the science behind kite flying. Visitors can decorate and build their own kites.
“Explore the Universe Day” will take place at the National Mall building April 12. Astronomy will serve as a common theme for visitors to learn how different people and cultures view and talk about the sky. The museum’s Public Observatory will be open for daytime sky watching, weather permitting.
There will be two “Heritage Family Days” in September: “A Century of Women in Aerospace” at the National Mall building Sept. 13 and “Hispanic Heritage Day: Innovators in Air and Space” in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center Sept. 27 at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
The last “Heritage Family Day” of the 2014 series will be Oct. 4 at the National Mall building and will also celebrate Hispanic Heritage in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Latino Center. There will be bilingual programming and visitors will have the chance to meet Hispanic scientists and engineers.
The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.