March Events at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

By Editorial Team on February 28, 2022
Credit: “Anne Catharine Hoof Green” by Charles Willson Peale, oil on canvas, 1769. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift with funding from the Smithsonian Collections Acquisitions Program and the Governor’s Mansion Foundation of Maryland; frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

Virtual Programs

For more information on the Portrait Gallery’s ongoing and past remote programs, explore the “Visit at Home” page of the museum’s website at

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

March 1 & 15
April 5 & 26
May 10 & 24

Join us for a virtual creative writing hour at the National Portrait Gallery. We’ve set up an online space where writers can create, connect and draw inspiration from the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Grab a happy hour beverage and write with us. Try out one of our writing prompts or bring your own in-progress writing project. We will write for about 30 minutes and end each session with a brief discussion or reading. Free—Registration required.

Select Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
YouTube @smithsoniannpg.

March 2 – Introducing… the National Portrait Gallery
March 16 – Charlayne Hunter-Gault
March 30 – Martha Graham
April 13 – Hung Liu
May 11 – The Outwin 2022
May 25 – The Outwin 2022

Explore the Portrait Gallery from a distance as a museum educator guides you through our museum. During this program for ages 3 and up, we’ll look at portraits of people who changed history and hear their inspiring stories.

Drawn to Figures
Select Thursdays, 11 a.m.
Online via Zoom

March 3 & 17
April 7 & 21
May 12 & 26

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. Free—Registration required.

Virtual Strike a Prose: Migration Poems
Tuesday, March 8, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom

In this creative writing workshop, we will write poems exploring the themes of homeland and migration. We will engage in guided writing exercises inspired by works of art in the exhibition “Hung Liu: Portraits of Promised Lands to deliver vivid narrative poems. Open to writers of all levels who are 18+. Free—Registration required.

Young Portrait Explorers
Wednesdays, 11–11:30 a.m. & 3–3:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom

March 9: Hung Liu
March 23: Antonia Patoja
April 6: Duke Ellington
April 20: Esperanza Spalding
May 4: Lili‘uokalani
May 18: Yo-Yo Ma

Join our virtual workshop for children ages 3­–6 and their adult companions as we learn about art, history and more! Explore the Portrait Gallery’s collection with educators in a 30-minute activity that incorporates close looking at portraiture, movement and artmaking. Free—Registration required.

In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice
Thursday, March 10, 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 across the Smithsonian to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues.

What makes work more just? Together with our co-hosts from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, we will explore labor justice and the ways that workers leverage their power in relationship wth Domingo Ulloa’s 1960 painting “Braceros” and a 1975 photograph by Cathy E. Murphy depicting Fred Ross and Dolores Huerta. Free—Registration required.

Wind Down Wednesdays: #5womenartists
Wednesdays, March 16, 5 p.m.
Instagram Live @smithsonianNPG

It has been six years since the hashtag started – how many women artists can you name today? Whether you are adding a few more artists to the list or celebrating women you already know, join us on Instagram Live for art history highlights. Grab a seat, make a drink with us and sip away as we discuss women artists bucking trends and making waves.

New Approaches to Representing Women in Science: In Conversation with Leila McNeill, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya and Anna Reser
Tuesday, March 22, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom
Closed captioning provided.

Join us for a dialogue between historians of science Leila McNeill and Anna Reser, co-founders of the independent magazine “Lady Science” and co-authors of “Forces of Nature: The Women Who Changed Science,” and Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, a multidisciplinary artist known for portraiture projects like “Beyond Curie.” Lacey Baradel, science historian at the National Portrait Gallery, will moderate the conversation.

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the recent passing of Daniel B. Greenberg, whose generosity and that of his wife, Susan, makes the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture possible. The program is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center.  Free—Registration required.

For Teachers

Ruth Asawa: Artist and Activist
Wednesday, March 2, 4:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

In this workshop, educators will explore Ruth Asawa’s life and work, from her time as a prisoner in an internment camp for Japanese Americans and later as an avant-garde art student, to her life as a mother, working artist and arts activist. Learn how to incorporate her philosophies on arts education in the classroom. As Asawa explained, “through the arts you can learn many, many skills that you cannot learn through books.” Free—Registration required.

Traces of a Life in Bondage: Flora’s Silhouette
Wednesdays, March 23, 5 p.m.
Online via Zoom

This workshop will focus on a life-size, hand-cut silhouette representing Flora (1777-1815), a woman who was enslaved in Connecticut, and the bill of sale that transferred her ownership on December 13, 1796, when she was nineteen years old. Her life story invites us to consider the period from the American Revolution to the close of the War of 1812 (1812-15) from a rarely considered perspective—that of an enslaved woman. Flora is emblematic of vast numbers of enslaved women whose likenesses and histories have gone unrecorded. Her silhouette was traced at life-sized directly from her cast shadow, lending a tangible sense of human presence to her portarit. But who made it? And for what purpose? We will explore these questions through consideration of the few facts known about Flora’s life; the regional differences that distinguished the experiences of enslaved women in the North and in the South; the social conventions of silhouette-making; and the history of representing African American women in the late eighteenth and nineteenth-century American portraiture. Free—Registration required.

An Introduction to the Portrait Gallery’s New Curriculum Guide: Expanding Roles of Women
Tuesday, March 29, 8 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Join us as we unveil our new curriculum guide, Expanding Roles of Women. This expansive guide provides an entry point for teaching about the history of women in the United States from the colonial period to the dawn of the twentieth century, with a focus on drawing connections to the present. Participants will be introduced to the guide’s themes—Suffragists, Professionals and Radicals—as well as the featured portrait subjects, including Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary Cassatt, Anne Catherine Hoof Green, Zitkála-Šá and many more! We’ll also discuss the variety of historical women’s voices presented in this guide and consider our own perspectives on teaching women’s history. Free—Registration required.

Virtual Docent Tours

Group Tours
By reservation
Online via Zoom

The National Portrait Gallery offers docent-led group tours online for adults interested in exploring the museum remotely. The following tours will be available by registration: America’s Presidents, Highlights of the National Portrait Gallery, Docent’s Choice and Special Exhibitions. Reservations must be made three weeks in advance of the desired tour date. To receive a tour request form, e-mail or click here. All tours are subject to availability; last-minute cancellations may occur.