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The Smithsonian Institution
Holiday Shopping at the Smithsonian Store

The Smithsonian Celebrates the Holidays!

The Smithsonian Institution opens its doors to the nation celebrating the holidays! The National Museum of American History is featuring a holiday marketplace with arts and crafts, food tasting, storytelling, music, dance, living history performances, and daily piñata breaking. Watch master chefs and designers carve portraits of the presidents in ice and build a gingerbread White House! At the National Museum of Natural History, join the fun at the 3-D Imax film: "Critique du Soleil Journey of Man," and try your hand at building a giant gingerbread Smithsonian Castle at the Atrium Café!

National Museum of Natural History

Extended Hours

The entire National Museum of Natural History will stay open until 9 p.m. on five Fridays, starting the day after Thanksgiving, Nov.24, and continuing through the Friday before Christmas, Dec. 22.

Five Fridays

On five Fridays (Nov.24, Dec.1, Dec.8, Dec.15, and Dec.22), the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History celebrates the holiday season with extended hours and special offerings in the museum stores. Late hours will give visitors more time to explore the museum and to view two recently opened exhibitions, the "Dresden Green Diamond" and the spectacular "Buccellati: Art in Gold, Silver and Gems."

Santa’s Chefs

At the Atrium Café, from 5:30 to 9p.m, "Santa's Chefs" will present a special Holiday menu. Children will help decorate a giant gingerbread "Smithsonian Castle" with colored frosting and candy "building materials."

Cirque du Soleil Journey of Man

On each night of the "Friday Night Holiday Festival" the museum's Johnson IMAX Theater will offer three screenings of the award winning Sony Pictures Classics 3D film "Cirque du Soleil Journey of Man," a stunning production that puts the viewer right in the middle of performances by the acclaimed troupe!

These screenings will be the only showings of the film in Washington!

Winner of the Giant Screen Theater Association's award for film of the year, "Cirque du Soleil Journey of Man" is a celebration of the human spirit. The film's theme follows the stages of human development from birth to maturity. The backdrop includes many natural and historic landmarks around the world. Celebrate your own experience in time! Learn more about the film: visit the Web site.

Ticket purchases may be made at the box office 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., evenings or Ticketmaster (202) 432-SEAT, (410) 481-SEAT, OR (703) 573-SEAT.

For Information

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is located at 10th street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, DC. Take Metro to Federal Triangle or the Smithsonian station Mall exits. For visitor information, call (202) 357-2700.


The National Museum of American History

Holiday Celebration

The National Museum of American History will host its 23rd annual three-day "Holiday Celebration" December 26 - 28 from noon to 4 p.m. The festival offers a diverse sampling of the many ways Americans observe and preserve their traditions and share their heritage during the holidays -- Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year.

Daily Fun

Children will enjoy a daily piñata breaking at 3 p.m. Taste Puerto Rican Coquito (eggnog); marvel at Kombo Omolara, a stilt walker; learn about crafts such as African-American Quilting, Jewish pastry making and Japanese flower arranging.

Master chef Tom Heilman will carve portraits of the presidents in ice; designer Opal Milberg will create a gingerbread White House!

In addition, a living-history performer will portray President Lincoln, and the season's story program, "A Bully Presidential Holiday: Christmas at Teddy Roosevelt's White House," will delight the child in everyone. This year's programming features a new exhibition, "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden."

Come hear music performed for Presidents in the White House!

Musical performances include a cappella music by Reverb, Klezmer music by Lox and Vodka, ad Trinidadian and Tobagonian music by Pan Masters Steel Band.

The Seven Trees of Christmas!

From December 8th through January 7, 2001 view seven decorated trees on the first and second floors of the museum. Included are a "Patriot's Tree," decorated with muslin dolls in patriotic dress and red white and blue streamers. Ceramic chili peppers, and yucca pods embellish a "New Mexico" tree, and of course, a "Nutcracker Tree" adorned with characters from the ballet.


The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N W, open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, visitor information at (202) 357-2700.


About the Author

Anthony J. Zecca compiled this list of activities at two of the Smithsonian museums. Tony is the Pubic Affairs Coordinator for the United States Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound in Washington State. Currently writing for Access America E-Gov E-Zine, he can be reached at