Where to Celebrate Black History Month Around the DC Area (2019)

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is a powerful and moving experience



February is Black History Month, and there are many great events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum), special events, tours and exhibits, live entertainment, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. Here’s where many are happening over the next few weeks.

Tour the NMAAHC
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

This museum is the best place to learn about black history and culture in America. September through February, which is off-peak season, you can get in on weekdays without tickets, but timed entry passes are still required for weekend admission. They are available online on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 6:30am until they run out. Be sure to read the KFDC Guide to Visiting the National Museum of African American History & Culture with Kids before you go.

Museum & Memorial Tour
Where: African American Civil War Museum | Shaw, DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

Take a tour of another museum dedicated to the contributions of the 209,145 members of the United States Colored Troops. The African American Civil War Museum tells the stories and preserves for posterity the historic roles these brave men of African, European, and Hispanic descent played in ending slavery and keeping America united under one flag. A rich collection of artifacts, documents, primary sources, and technology create a meaningful learning experience for families, students, Civil War enthusiasts and historians about the period from the American Civil War to Civil Rights and beyond. Be sure to stop by the nearby African American Civil War Memorial, too.

Library Programs
Where: Public Libraries throughout DC
When: Throughout February
Admission: Free

The DC Public Library proudly celebrates Black History Month during February with all kinds of programs — author talks, lectures, arts & crafts, and story times. Visit the website to see what activities are going on at a location near you.

Black Diamond
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 1, 12-13, 19-22
Tickets: $3-8

This spirit-rousing musical play chronicles the struggles and triumphs of pioneering African American baseball players. The all-star lineup of heroes includes Moses “Fleet” Walker, who became the game’s first black pro in the 1880s; power hitter Josh “Spitfire” Gibson; athlete-philosopher Satchel Paige; and young Jackie Robinson, who first integrated the major leagues. You’ll stand up and cheer for the players who made sports history—and American history, too!

Black Panther
Where: Select AMC theaters nationwide
When: February 1-7
Admission: Free

Disney just announced that Black Panther, the blockbuster Marvel film, will be returning to theaters for one week in celebration of Black History Month and their Best Picture win at he SAG Awards. And screenings will be free! Go here to snag tickets!

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Most Saturdays & Sundays, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story from friends at the DC Public Library about a notable person featured in the collection and complete a hands-on art project. All through February, the program highlights black Americans in honor of Black History Month — this year, Toni Morrison, Tuskegee Airmen, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama will be in the spotlight. Read more about the program and museum here.

The Slave Memorial & Exhibits
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Throughout February
Admission: $18-20/adult, $11-12/ages 6-11, free/5 & under

Make a point to see these on a visit to George Washington’s estate. The memorial is located approximately 50 yards southwest of George and Martha Washington’s tomb, on a bluff above the Potomac River. A gray, truncated, granite column which represents “life unfinished” is the center of three concentric brick circles. The three steps leading up to the column are inscribed, respectively, “Faith,” “Hope” and “Love” – the virtues that sustained those living in bondage. The exhibit Lives Bound Together explores the personal stories of the people enslaved at Mount Vernon while providing insight into George Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery.

Jim Crow on Streetcars
Where: National Trolley Museum | Colesville, MD
When: Through February, Saturdays & Sundays, 12-5pm
Admission: $10/adult, $8/child

In recognition of Black History Month, the Museum presents this temporary exhibit. Learn about the nature of segregation aboard the cars in 19th century New York, the efforts to black the practice as it developed across the South, and the eventual success in opening employment opportunities.

Frederick Douglass House Tour
Where: Frederick Douglass Historic Site | Anascostia, DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: $1

Learn about the life of Frederick Douglass on a guided tour is his historic house — it’s the only way to see the inside. Rangers guide interpretive tours of the house every day at the scheduled times (listed on the website). Tours cover the first and second floors and last about 30 minutes.

Into the Great Unknown: African American Adventures & Explorers
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 5-8
Tickets: $3-8

Leadership, courage, and adventure take center stage in this inspiring Discovery Theater original. Meet Matthew Henson, co-discoverer of the North Pole, and Barbara Hillary, the first African American woman to reach it nearly 100 years later. Thrill to the frontier exploits of the hard-riding mail carrier “Stagecoach Mary” Fields and Nate Love, the former slave who became the legendary cowboy nicknamed Deadwood Dick. And learn how astronauts and aerospace pioneers Guion Bluford and Mae Jemison are charting a whole new frontier today. From the Pole to the prairies to outer space, the histories and heroism of these African American women and men attest that true grit and personal power can push us toward greatness. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Huckleberry Finn’s Big River
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: February 8 – March 10
Tickets: $20

Twain’s timeless classic sweeps us down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Touching and timeless, this tale of friendship against all odds is recreated for young audiences as two best friends demonstrate the power of changing the world.

African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: February 9
Admission: Free

Each February, the museum celebrates the significant contributions African Americans have made to flight and space exploration despite the overwhelming obstacles they had to overcome. Enjoy presentations, hands-on activities, and stories. Learn about African American astronauts, pilots, and scientists of the past and present and their accomplishments.

Black History Month Family Day
Where: Woodlawn Manor Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: February 9
Admission: $3-8

Bring the entire family out to celebrate African American Culture. The event will feature presentations and activities to highlight the rich culture of the free and enslaved communities and the connection to contemporary culture. All ages are welcome.

Young Portrait Explorers: Barack Obama
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: February 11, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Join the National Portrait Gallery to learn about Barack Obama in a program that touches on art and history through storytelling. For toddlers up to age 5 and their adult companions. Registration is required. Class size is limited — register in advance! Parents and guardians must remain with their children.

Lunch and Learn: Black History Month
Where: Sully Historic Site | Fairfax, VA
When: February 13, 12-1pm
Admission: $5

When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in 1926, he wanted schools and other organizations to study black history. The week of recognition has since grown to Black History Month. In honor of this month, learn about the enslaved people who made Sully their home during the 18th century. The program includes a visual presentation and hands-on elements. Bring your lunch and your questions, as discussion is welcome. For ages 12+.

Celebration: Black History Month 2019
Where: Parks in PG County, MD
When: Throughout February
Admission: Varies by activity

Celebrate and honor African American heritage during Black History Month with PG County Parks and Recreation. From performances to art exhibitions to history lessons to tours, there are many events and activities planned throughout the area. For a complete listing of Black History Month events, go here.

Expressions of a People Festival
Where: Arts Harmony Hall Regional Center | Fort Washington, MD
When: February 11, 1-6pm
Admission: Free

Join this free Black History celebration featuring musical performances, children’s activities, workshops, the unveiling of the 2019 Black History Month poster, and entertainment for the entire family. Children can also enjoy mask making, face painting, and a caricaturist. Among the performers will be Culture Queen, a teaching artist who uses interactive music, movement and storytelling to teach your royal children their history and to love themselves.

Frederick Douglass Annual Birthday Commemoration
Where: Frederick Douglass Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: February 16
Admission: Free

Join the National Park Service as they end the bicentennial year of Frederick Douglass’s birth and continue a celebration of the man, his legacy and his impact to the world. Enjoy a commemorative ceremony D.C. Prep Academy (1409 V Street, SE) from 1-2:30pm. Take a walking tour of the neighborhood surrounding Douglass Cedar Hill estate titled “Douglass Anacostia” and enjoy ranger led house tours on the quarter of every hour from 1-4pm. Registration required at the visitor center.

Meet Dr. King
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: February 23
Admission: Free

The National Theatre’s free weekly series for kids presents this performance fro Bright Star Theater. The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of both triumph and tragedy. In this dramatic show, audiences come to see that the rights won during the American Civil Rights Movement came with a heavy price. Showtimes are 9:30am and 11a. Reserve free tickets in advance online to guarantee seats.

Black History Month Winter Walking Tour
Where: Woodlawn Manor Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: February 23, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $3-8

Take a guided tour of the grounds and buildings of Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park and discover the role enslaved labor played on this 19th century farm. Explore how the enslaved could have nature for escape and evasion while seeking freedom. This guided tour includes exterior space and a natural trail. Participants are recommended to dress to be in the elements. Best for ages 8+. Register in advance.


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