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Smithsonian celebrates the 2013 Presidential Inauguration with exhibits and programs

January 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Art Events & Exhibitions

WASHINGTON, DC.- In celebration of the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, the Smithsonian is featuring exhibitions and public programs related to the presidency from Friday, Jan. 18, through Monday, Jan. 21.

The Smithsonian has participated in inaugurations since the 1800s—President Abraham Lincoln held his second inaugural ball in what is now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in March 1865, and President James Garfield’s ball was held in 1881 in the U.S. National Museum (now the Arts and Industries Building, which is closed for renovations). In recent times, the Smithsonian has produced cultural programs and concerts for the Carter, Reagan and Clinton inaugurals.

Featured Exhibitions

National Museum of American History
“The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden” explores the personal, public, ceremonial and executive actions of the presidents and their impact on history. The exhibition features more than 400 objects and a number of videos and interactive displays, including the portable desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and the microphone Franklin Roosevelt used to deliver his “fireside chat” radio broadcasts.

“The First Ladies” explores the unofficial but important position of first lady and the ways that different women have shaped the role to make their own contributions to the presidential administrations and the nation. The exhibition features more than two dozen gowns from the Smithsonian’s 100-year-old First Ladies Collection, including those worn by Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. A section titled “Changing Times, Changing First Ladies” highlights the roles played by Dolley Madison, Mary Lincoln, Edith Roosevelt and Lady Bird Johnson and their contributions to their husband’s administrations. “The First Ladies” encourages visitors to consider the changing role played by the first lady and American women over the past 200 years.

Visitors walk past Shepard Faireys portrait of US President Barack Obama 580x388 Smithsonian celebrates the 2013 Presidential Inauguration with exhibits and programs

Visitors walk past Shepard Fairey’s portrait of US President Barack Obama, based on a photograph by Mannie Garcia, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on January 19, 2013, two days before Obama’s second inauguration. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM.

“Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and The March on Washington, 1963” highlights two events that changed the course of the nation—the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. Standing as milestone moments in the grand sweep of American history, these achievements were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals—both famous and unknown—who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” This exhibit was organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

National Portrait Gallery
“America’s Presidents” exhibits multiple images of 43 presidents, including Gilbert Stuart’s famous “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington, a painting of Lincoln by Alexander Healy and likenesses of all modern Presidents.

“Portrait of President Barack Obama” features the original artwork for Obama’s “Hope” poster designed by Shepard Fairey on view Jan. 19-22. This portrait became famous during the President’s 2008 campaign.

“Diptych of President Barack Obama by Chuck Close” The renowned artist Chuck Close created two photographs of Barack Obama and transferred them onto two large-scale (93-by-75-inch) jacquard tapestries. In conjunction with the Inauguration, this diptych has been loaned to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery by Ian and Annette Cumming.

National Museum of the American Indian
“A Century Ago… They Came as Sovereign Leaders” focuses on President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade and the six great chiefs who participated in the parade.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
“The Civil War and American Art” examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath. Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church and Sanford Gifford—four of America’s finest artists of the era—anchor the exhibition.

National Postal Museum
“Honoring Lincoln” displays 11 certified plate proofs for postage stamps that were issued from 1959 to 1994 to honor the 16th president Abraham Lincoln. Certified plate proofs are the last printed proof of the plate before the stamps are printed, and these plates include the approval signatures and date.

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