March 2021 Events at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

By Editorial Team on March 9, 2021
Courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice
Thursday, March 11, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Heighten your civic awareness through conversations about art, history and material culture. Each month, educators from the National Portrait Gallery will partner with colleagues from the Smithsonian and other institutions to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues. What are the qualities of great leadership? Together with educators from the National Air and Space Museum and the National Women’s History Museum, we will celebrate Women’s History Month and explore this key question in relationship to portraits of activists Sojourner Truth and Sylvia Rivera, and pilot Bessie Coleman. Free—Registration required.

Wind Down Wednesday: First Ladies and Fashion
Wednesday, March 24, 5 p.m.
Instagram Live @smithsoniannpg

Wind down with a virtual program to bring out your creativity and mindfulness. In partnership with independent mixologists, crafters, artists, and experts in a variety of fields, Wind Down Wednesday offers an optimistic approach to the middle of the week.

First ladies are often expected to be role models, hostesses and celebrities. Many of them have also become fashion icons, using style as a tool for self-expression and cultural diplomacy. This month, we’ll raise our glasses to these stylish women with mixologist Allison Lane, who will show us how to create a cocktail (or mocktail) inspired by first ladies. Then, Sam Reed, senior editor for, will join us to discuss the exhibition “Every Eye is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States” and the history of unforgettable first lady fashion.

Where There Is a Woman There Is Magic: Women’s History Month Virtual Festival
Saturday, March 27, 11 a.m.
Online via Zoom

Join the Portrait Gallery in a virtual celebration of women making history! We will explore the online exhibition “Where There Is a Woman There Is Magic,” which highlights leaders in sports, arts, science and activism. It is part of a day-long lineup featuring events and activities for participants of all ages, including workshops, speakers, art activities and more! More information available soon.


Ongoing Programs


Writing Hour
Tuesdays, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join us weekly for a virtual creative writing hour. We’ve set up an online space where writers can create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Free—Registration required.

Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

  • March 3: Margaret Wise Brown
  • March 10: Marian Anderson
  • March 17: Abigail Adams
  • March 24: Lady Bird Johnson
  • March 31: Maya Lin

Introducing… a new kind of story time! Each week, a Portrait Gallery educator will shine a light on some of this country’s lesser-known historymakers and their portraits. Children will learn more about art, hear the stories behind the portraits and even learn some new vocabulary. Select story times will be in Spanish. For children ages 3 and up and their families.

Young Portrait Explorers
Wednesdays, 11-11:30 a.m. & 3-3:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

  • March 10: Margaret Wise Brown

Explore portraits of astronauts and activists, scientists and star athletes – and discover the stories behind them. Join the Portrait Gallery each week for a close look at a featured portrait. Then we’ll dig deeper with some discussion questions and get moving with fun activities on the day’s topic. Download PDF activity guides from the “Visit at Home” page of the Portrait Gallery’s website. For children ages 3 and up and their families. Free—Registration required.

Drawn to Figures LIVE
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.
Online via Zoom

  • March 4: Drawing with Chalk Pastels
  • March 18: Making Monochromatic Art with Conté Crayons

Discover your inner artist in this live virtual drawing workshop. Facilitated by artist Jill Galloway, the workshop will include guided instruction on the techniques and challenges of figure drawing. Participants will be offered the chance to share their work at the end of the session. Each program will highlight a Portrait Gallery exhibition or portrait from the collection. Open to all skill levels, ages 18 and up. Required materials will be listed on the Eventbrite program page. Free—Registration required.

Drawn to Figures
Thursdays, 11 a.m.

  • March 11 & 25

YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Discover your inner artist in this online workshop on sketching the human body. Artist Jill Galloway will highlight the techniques and challenges of figure drawing while providing guided instruction and helpful tips. Open to all skill levels, ages 13 and up.

Open Studio Workshops
Fridays, 11 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg

Enjoy weekly art workshops from the comfort of your own home. Each Friday, we will post a video with a new activity or technique. Grab a family member or your roommates, or make a virtual date with a friend, and get creative with artist Jill Galloway. Artists of all ages and skill levels will enjoy creating art inspired by the Portrait Gallery’s collection.


Online Docent Tours

Group Tours
By reservation
Online via Zoom

Since we can’t get together in person, let’s meet up remotely! In January 2021, the National Portrait Gallery will begin offering docent-led group tours for adults online. The following tours will be available by registration: America’s Presidents, Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery, Docent’s Choice, and Special Exhibitions. Reservations are required, and a three-week advance notice is appreciated. E-mail to receive a tour request form. All tours are subject to availability; last-minute cancellations may occur.