News Release, Smithsonian Institutes

The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate National Pride Month in June through a series of vibrant performances, talks, family activities and exhibitions at its various museums. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.


Countdown! Pride Celebration Kick-Off Party
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Friday, May 31; 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The 2019 Capital Pride Celebration kicks-off on the eve of National Pride Month with a countdown kick-off party presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Brightest Young Things and the Capital Pride Alliance. The public can enjoy music, dancing, art activities and learn more about the LGBTQ+ artists in the museum’s collections. This is a 21+ event, and tickets ($50–$70) can bepurchased online.

Pride @ SAAM
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Sunday, June 9; 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates Pride with its first-ever pop-up time-based media exhibition featuring a full day of LGBTQ+ inspired art and performance. The centerpiece of programming will be the East Coast debut of Brendan Fernandes’ “Free Fall 49” (2017),a dance-based installation responding to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, with DJ Lauren Flax in the Kogod Courtyard from 3 to 6 p.m. In addition, visitors can enjoy screenings of work by Sadie Benning, Anna Anthropy, Barbara Hammer and Wu Tsang in a “Feminist Pride Media Art Gallery,” discussions with curators about artworks in the galleries and oral histories from local LGBTQ+ communities with American University’s DC Humanities Truck. Festive food and beverages, including a wine-tap wall, will be available for purchase. Pride @ SAAM is supported by theSmithsonian Year of Musicand the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon: LGBTQ+ Edition
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Saturday, June 15; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participants can honor LGBTQ+ artists by enhancing their recognition and correcting the historical record at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. A special tour of works by LGBTQ+ artists in the museum’s collection kicks off the program. Afterwards, participants will learn how to edit and create new articles about LGBTQ+ artists. All levels of technological proficiency are welcome. Participants are encouraged to register

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Saturday, June 15; 7:30 p.m. to midnight

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will devote an evening to individuality, self-expression and the empowering art of fashion at its first Annual HIRSHHORN BALL. In recognition of the unbridled pride and authenticity of Washington, D.C.’s creative communities, the festivities will be hosted by local icon Jason Barnes, whose drag queen alter ego, Pussy Noir, embodies this mentality. The evening will feature pop-up performances by Washington’s House of Sonique and appearances by sensational drag personalities from around the city, including Betty O’Hellno, Ana Latour and JoAnn Fabrixx. Tickets can be purchasedhere.

Silence + Death: Machineries of Repudiation
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Friday, June 21; 12:30 p.m.

Ed Ingebretsen, associate professor at Georgetown University, takes visitors on a journey through artworks on view in the museum, tracing the history of the pink triangle icon—a symbol once used as a badge of shame in Nazi concentration camps before being embraced as an icon of pride and survival.

NMAAHC Live: Big Freedia!
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Saturday, June 22; 7 p.m.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, Big Freedia, celebrated Queen of Bounce, comes to the National Museum of African American History and Culture to discuss her life and music through the lens of her autobiography,God Save The Queen. The discussion will be followed by a brief performance by Freedia and short dance party.

Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York City)
Thursday, June 27; 6–9 p.m.

Horrochata, cofounder of the annual Brooklyn drag festival Bushwig, teams up with friends to present DJ sets and performances. This special Pride celebration is part of the Cooper Hewitt’s summer performance series Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt, held Thursday evenings from June 13 to Aug. 15, in the museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. Tickets are available for purchase

Exhibitions and Displays

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is celebrating Pride with a rainbow lighting display on the F and G streets N.W. facades of its building (which is shared with the National Portrait Gallery). The lighting, which is supported by Pepco, will be displayed nightly from Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 9.

“Illegal To Be Me: Gay History Beyond Stonewall” opens at the National Museum of American History Friday, June 21. In June 1969, LGBTQ+ community members spontaneously demonstrated in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in lower Manhattan. The museum marks the 50th anniversary of this milestone in the gay civil rights movement with a display featuring objects from its collections that put the history of the riot into a larger and longer experience of being gay.


Smithsonianmagazine’s Pride Hub highlights a collection of articles related to LGBTQ+ history and culture, featuring stories from the Smithsonian’s collections, exhibitions and programming, as well as outside articles

The digital exhibition “A Day in the Queer Life of Asian Pacific America” is available This exhibition from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center explores queer life in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the U.S. using solicited and crowd-sourced media, including short film, photography, boomerangs, video poems and long-form essays. The exhibition will be updated with new material through August.

Smithsonian at Pride

The public is invited to visit the Smithsonian Pride Alliance at the Pride Festivals in Washington, D.C. Sunday, June 9, and in New York City Sunday, June 30, for a chance to meet staff members and volunteers, and to learn more about the Smithsonian’s LGBTQ+ programs, exhibits and initiatives.

About Smithsonian Pride Alliance

The Smithsonian Pride Alliance (formally GLOBE) was formed in 1988 “to ensure adequate and appropriate representation” of LGBTQ+ employees in Smithsonian policies and programs. Today, the mission of Pride Alliance is to provide support to LGBTQ+ staff and ensure recognition of LGBTQ+ people in Smithsonian exhibits, programming and its strategic vision. Pride Alliance is the oldest LGBTQ+ employee resource group in the federal government.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...