Smithsonian Summer: Folklife Festival and New Exhibit at the NMAH

Between the opening of the National Museum of American History’s newest exhibit–The Nation We Built Together–and the start of the 50th annual Folklife Festival, it’s an exciting week to be part of the Smithsonian family!  We wanted to share some photos and facts about these two events with you…check out all the info below!

The Nation We Build Together-at the National Museum of American History

WHAT: Centered on the ideas and ideals of America, the National Museum of American History’s new series of exhibits, “The Nation We Build Together,” spans 500 years of American history, and features different exhibitions – American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith; Many Voices, One Nation; Religion in Early America; and Within These Walls…

Each exhibit provides an impactful look into the context of the country’s founding and its evolution today. In development for more than five years, with final designs set about two years ago, the 30,000 square feet of exhibition space focuses on the U.S.’s 

founding principles and how they’ve evolved, asking, “What kind of a nation do we want to be?”

WHERE/WHEN: The exhibit opened to the public on June 28th and is slated to run for twenty years.  The museum is open every day from 10 AM to 5:30 PM and is located on the National Mall, at the intersections of 14th street and Constitution Avenue NW.

HOW: How should you see the newest exhibit and the rest of the National Museum of American History? On a privately guided walking tour, led by our professionally trained National Mall Tours guides–of course! Our walking tour–Myths and Misconceptions–explores the stories and myths of some of America’s most treasured objects. In a museum that could take you days to explore by yourself, this tour presents the highlights of the Museum in 90 minutes. Myths and Misconceptions is offered Friday-Sunday at 2:30 PM.

Make your reservation for the tour here.


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival

WHAT: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in the summer on the National Mall. This year, the Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary with the theme “Circus Arts.” The 2017 Festival will bring the rich history, mystique and diversity of circus arts to life on the National Mall. But visitors will see more than just a performance—they’ll be taken behind the scenes to learn from generations of American circus families and contemporary visionaries who are keeping the circus arts alive and engaging.  Meet artists and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, lighting and sound technicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, cooks, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. Along with new students and celebrated masters, experience the many dimensions of circus arts through performances, demonstrations, and workshops under a big top tent and other colorful venues.Aerialists and acrobats will demonstrate their gravity-defying disciplines, combining strength and skill with grace and daring.

Equilibrists and object manipulators will share their tricks that date from ancient times. Clowns will demonstrate mesmerizing transformations, tapping into the human heart and spirit.

In addition to daily performances, the Folklife Festival also offers a variety of food and drink stations (complete with boozy popsicles for those 21 and over!), as well as an expansive marketplace featuring handmade items representative of the diverse cultures celebrated by the Smithsonian Institution.


The 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between Seventh and Twelfth streets and in the Arts and Industries Building. Running June 29 to July 4 and July 6 to 9, the Festival is free of charge. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening dance parties at 5:30 and circus performances most nights at 7 p.m.

Located just a block and a half from our National Mall location, be sure to check out this iconic event either before or after your tour!
For more information, visit: