Celebrate this steamy summer solstice inside at after-hour Smithsonian Museum events

Summer is here and is showering us with abundant sunlight and Smithsonian events. 

The museum powerhouse has held the festival since 2018 to celebrate the first official Saturday of the summer. The theme this year: Smithsonian’s Cosmic Journey, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of a space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, that has continued to capture photos of the cosmos since 1999.

Here’s everything you need to know about the free events on Saturday night:

Museums at Midnight

The Smithsonian museums will remain open beyond their typical hours on Saturday to commemorate the summer season.

  • African American History and Culture Museum: open until 10 p.m.
  • American History Museum: open until 10 p.m.
  • Arts and Industries Building: open until 11 p.m.
  • Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: open until 11 p.m.
  • National Museum of the American Indian: open until 8 p.m.
  • Natural History Museum: open until 10 p.m.
  • National Air and Space Museum: open until 11 p.m.
  • National Museum of Asian Art: open until midnight
  • National Museum of African Art: open until midnight

An Astronomy Festival on the National Mall

Hofstra University is hosting its annual astronomy festival, allowing those in attendance to take a tour of the night sky. Dozens of telescopes will be set up throughout the Mall, allowing visitors to view Venus, star clusters, and the moon. Booths will be located around the premises with demonstrations, activities, handouts, and surprise guests from various astronomical societies.

Live Music at the African Art Museum

Food trucks, beverages, and live music will mark the official start of the summer at the African Art Museum. Bands such as Eme & Heteru and Nkosenathi Koela who specialize in funk, Afrobeats, and traditional African music, will play at the event.

Poetry, Fruit, and Storytelling at the Asian Art Museum

Enjoy some fresh fruit alongside artist Adele Kenworthy, whose produce stand explores the way sharing fruit is an act of love. The fruit stand will be around from 4 to 8 p.m. while poetry and stories are shared by an array of artists.