Smithsonian’s NMAAHC offers virtual programming for Kwanzaa, other December events

Here’s what the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. has in store for the month of December.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture unveiled its plan Thursday for a month’s worth of digital programming, initiatives and interactive media for December.

One of the key features of the recently-announced programming is a daylong “cross-country digital community initiative” called “24 hours in a Time of Change.” The event will be hosted Dec. 11.

The program will highlight the trials, failures and triumphs that Americans have faced in 2020, from the coronavirus pandemic to the social upheaval that pushed issues of racial equity and police brutality to the forefront of national conversation.

The Smithsonian will stream live programming from 10 of its museums and centers throughout the 24-hour sharing period.

On top of that event, there will be a number of featured programs, such as a discussion with Victor Glover, NASA’s first Black astronaut to reside long-term on the International Space Station.

The museum has also announced that it will launch an interactive website surrounding the holiday of Kwanzaa, which will roll out Dec. 26, the first day of Kwanzaa.

There will also be a discussion with some U.S. mayors about their efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their regions. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will be among those interviewed.

The museum is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of Ebony Magazine with an all-new webpage. First printed in November 1945, Ebony featured stories and news from the perspective of Black Americans. The online highlights showcase the contributions the historic magazine has made to American photojournalism during its run.

Below is a schedule of the museum’s December programming:

  • Every Tuesday and Thursday in December: The museum’s educational “Artists at Home” series. This program, which the museum featured over the summer, aims to engage students with hands-on artmaking, African-American artists and art media. The event is free for students in grades six to 12, but online registration is required.
  • Dec. 11: “24 Hours in a Time of Change — A Digital Outreach Project.” Participants can view and take part in the event online. The museum will issue prompts for those watching at home to respond to, and some of these responses will be featured during the programming.
  • Dec. 14, 7 to 8:30 p.m.: “Historically Speaking: Mayoral Leadership in the Time of COVID-19.” Panelists include: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Whitfield Carter III, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. The event is free and will be viewable online, but registration is required.
  • Dec. 26: Kwanzaa webpage launch. The website will teach about the origins and traditions of the holiday, and will feature a blog from Kelly Navies, the museum’s oral historian, about the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Amid rising COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and around the D.C. region, the Smithsonian decided to close all reopened facilities last month, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Zoo.

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