September 13, 2018

The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) through a series of vibrant performances, lectures, family activities and exhibitions at its museums. All programs are fee unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event

The Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of American History will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with “Making History, Sharing Culture,” featuring Disney Pixar’s Coco. On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visitors can participate in hands-on activities, learn about storytelling through animation, watch a cooking demonstration by Mexican American chef Zarela Martinez, meet Coco co-director Adrian Molina and animator Alonso Martinez and dance to the music of Grupo Bella, and all-female mariachi band. All activities are free, but visitors must reserve tickets for timed screenings of Coco, which will be distributed at the box office at the Warner Bros. Theater in the museum on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Bring the Kids

On Saturday–Sunday, Sept. 15–16, the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York will host “A-Maizing Fun Days,” a program celebrating maize and cacao, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can make Otomi paper figures, create a Mayan codex with Evelyn Orantes (Quiche Maya), help design and paint a mural with Joaquin Newman (Yaqui/Mexica), and learn how to make a Huichol yarn painting that features these two foods. There will be live musical performances by Marimba Lira Huehueteca.

The National Portrait Gallery’s Education Center hosts Portrait Story Days on Saturdays and Sundays. Participants can listen to stories of noteworthy figures from American history, then work on art projects inspired by their lives. Featured figures for Hispanic Heritage Month include Mexican American labor leader Dolores Huerta, Mexican American dance and choreographer José Limón, labor leader César Chávez, artist Frida Kahlo and Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Thursday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m., the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City hosts Third Thursday Concert with Marimba Lira Huehueteca. Visitors can enjoy a concert and learn about the marimba as a world instrument and its tradition in Guatemalan music.

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22–23, from 10 a.m.­ to 5 p.m., the National Museum of the American Indian will host Realm of the Jaguar. This series of dance performances honors the magnificent cat whose imagery found is in Native art from the Amazon to the U.S. border. The day includes dances of Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala, as well as jaguar-related crafts.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo will host ZooFiesta Sunday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This family day includes live music and educational activities with a focus on conservation in Central and South America. Animal keepers present talks, feedings and demonstrations featuring Andean bears, sloths, golden lion tamarins, Panamanian golden frogs and more.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the National Portrait Gallery will host Nuestra Ciudad/Our City Hispanic Heritage Month Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kogod Courtyard. Visitors can meet local artists, musicians and dancers as the gallery celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival is presented in partnership with Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School.


The Smithsonian Latino Center and the National Museum of the American Indian will host a symposium to celebrate the exhibition “Taíno: Native Heritage and Identity in the Caribbean” Sept. 8 from 10:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Experts representing Indigenous studies, genetic science, anthropology, linguistics and other academic disciplines will explore exhibition themes in dialogue with Taíno/Indigenous Caribbean community leaders and cultural workers. The symposium will explore the history of the Taíno movement, particularly through the experiences and perspectives of its participants. ASL & English/Spanish interpretation provided.


On Thursday, Sept. 27, 4:15­–7:15 p.m., the National Museum of the American Indian is hosting Exploring the Inka Road—an Engineering Marvel. Fourth- through eighth-grade teachers are invited to join the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Isabel Hawkins and archaeologist Vicentina Galiano Blanco to explore the museum’s “The Great Inka Road” exhibition in this free workshop. Classroom materials and a light snack will be provided. Email for pre-registration and additional information.


On Saturday, Sept. 15, the National Museum of American History will host “Cooking Up History: Exploring Mexican Regional Cooking” at 1 p.m. Chef Zarela Martínez helped introduce Mexican regional cooking to American audiences, popularizing new flavors and new techniques. In 1987, she opened Zarela, a fine dining Mexican restaurant in New York City, and has since published five cookbooks. During this demonstration, Martinez and Smithsonian food historian Ashley Rose Young discuss how memory and community can be expressed in the kitchen. Martínez will prepare salpicon de hauchinango (red snapper hash). This event is part of the family day “Making History, Sharing Culture.”


The National Portrait Gallery will hold a Hispanic Heritage Month tour Thursday, Sept. 13, and noon. Visitors can learn about the lives and work of Frida Kahlo, Miguel Covarrubias and José Limón. This 30-minute tour is part of 3 in 30, a series that explores at a single topic by focusing on three individuals represented in the gallery.

The Renwick Gallery will offer a Spanish-language tour of its exhibition “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” Tuesday, Sept. 25, and Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m. Tours meet in the lobby.


“The Case of Luisa Moreno” is on exhibit at the National Museum of American History. A new temporary display in the “New Perspectives” case, part of the permanent “American Enterprise” exhibition, looks at the legacy of Guatemalan-born Luisa Moreno’s work in the U.S. as a labor organizer and civil rights advocate. It includes a pamphlet that aimed at halting Moreno’s deportation in 1950. The display runs through Jan. 13, 2019.

“Taíno: Native Heritage and Identity in the Caribbean” is on exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York. Over the past 40 years, a diverse Taíno movement has taken form, challenging the prevalent belief that Native peoples became extinct shortly after European colonization in the Greater Antilles. This movement is spurring a regeneration of indigenous identity within the racially mixed and culturally blended societies of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as other areas of the Caribbean. In this exhibition, visitors will explore the rural roots of the Taíno movement and find information about the legacy of Native peoples throughout the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands and their U.S. diasporas.

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