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Long Lead Inspiration
Learn about what’s to come in DC this fall and beyond, from arts and cultural highlights to renovations and new museums.
National Air and Space Museum Renovations
Washington, DC’s most visited museum will begin its almost $1 billion renovation that will take place over seven years to improve the visitor experience. The Smithsonian Institution museum will remain open throughout the improvements.
Capital Improvements to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Mount Vernon Triangle/2018-2019
Washington, DC’s Convention Center will begin a renovation this fall. Capital improvements include new seating, enhanced digital signage, a streetscape plan and mamava pod for nursing mothers.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden/Oct. 26-April 28, 2019
The Smithsonian’s museum of modern and contemporary art presents its largest interactive exhibition to date: three monumental works by the Mexican Canadian artist will fill the building’s second level. The Pulse series uses heart rate sensors to create unique expressions in light and movement based on the biometric feedback of participating visitors.
Potomac, MD/Oct. 4
Mitchell and Emily Rales’ preeminent collection houses post-WWII and contemporary art with an emphasis on monumental outdoor sculpture. The 200-acre site, a former foxhunting estate, is located just outside DC in Potomac, MD. The addition adds 240,000-square feet to the visitor experience including a new gallery, a bookstore, expanded grounds and two cafes. Admission is free.
All Things Go Fall Classic
Union Market/Oct. 6-7
Carly Rae Jepsen joins emerging artists like Betty Who, Maggie Rogers, Billie Eilis, Børns and more to headline this outdoor music festival.
National Law Enforcement Museum Opening
Judiciary Square/Oct. 13
Review more than 21,000 artifacts related to law enforcement history.
The Phillips Collection/Oct. 13-Jan. 13, 2018
America’s first museum of modern art showcases Nordic artists working between 1821-2017.
National Theatre/Oct. 14 – Nov. 18
Tim Burton’s dark comedy is brought to musical life for an adult-only pre-Broadway premiere.
Ruby Slippers Return
National Museum of American History/Oct. 19
After months of research and conservation, one of the museum’s most asked-about objects returns to public display.
Brightest Young Things present a four-day cavalcade of American comedy at venues from the historic Lincoln Theater to the Kennedy Center. The 2018 edition features an all-female and non-binary line-up including festival co-founder Tig Notaro, Phoebe Robinson, Amanda Seales and Jonathan Van Ness.
Nov. 2, 2018 – Feb. 10, 2019
The National Museum of Women in the Arts present the first retrospective of fashions by the Southern California sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy.
Gordon Parks: The New Tide, 1940-1950
National Gallery of Art/Nov. 4-Feb. 17, 2019
Told in 120 photographs, magazine, books, letters and ephemera, this will be the first exhibit to focus on the influence of the Farm Securities Administration and Standard Oil grants as well as mentors like Roy Striker on the self-taught African American photographer.
Relocation of the International Spy Museum
L’Enfant Plaza/spring 2019, date TBD
The museum dedicated to espionage moves from 800 F Street, NW to L’Enfant Plaza, between the National Mall and the Southwest Waterfront. The new space is 140,000 square feet, more than double the existing building, and will include space for educational programing, a lecture hall/theater and multifunction event space with sweeping views of the city.
Twelve Angry Men
Ford’s Theatre/Jan. 18-Feb. 17
Reginal Rose’s ever-resonant courtroom drama examines personal bias as jurors from 12 backgrounds consider the fate of a teenager accused of murder. Director Sheldon Epps spurs the familiar drama into a conversation about race in America.
Tintoretto: The Artist of Venice at 500
National Gallery of Art/ March 3-July 7, 2019
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Jacopo Tintoretto, a major exhibition from Palazzo Ducale in Venice will travel to DC – its only other venue. As the first retrospective of the artist in North America, the exhibition will feature nearly 50 paintings and more than a dozen works on paper spanning the artist’s entire career. His subjects range from regal portraits of Venetian aristocracy to religious and mythological narrative scenes.
National Children’s Museum Opens Downtown
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center/March 2019
After years of planning, an intentionally built, 33,000-square-foot playspace emphasizing hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) learning opens blocks from the National Mall and White House. Admission will be $10.95; babies ages 12 months and younger are free.
Shakespeare Theatre/Spring TBD
Veteran director Michael Kahn closes the season and his career with Ellen McLoughlin’s new adaption of Aeschylus’ trilogy about the doomed house of Atreus. Kahn’s final season boasts two world premieres including Vanity Fair by Kate Hamill, The Wall Street Journal’s Playwright of the Year 2017.
Washington Monument Reopens
National Mall/spring 2019
After a significant modernization, the popular monument reopens with a new visitor center, ticket booth and elevator.
National Fossil Hall
National Museum of Natural History/TBD
After a four-year closure, the Smithsonian reopens its spectacular collection of dinosaurs with an emphasis on presentation and current scientific research.
Kennedy Center Expansion Project
The first new space in the 47-year performing arts campus brings a $175-million Steve Holl-designed project adding 60,000-square-feet of classrooms, rehearsal and performance space in three pavilions. The addition to the southern side of the Center also adds a reflection pool, a projection screen and bridge over Rock Creek Parkway to the Potomac Riverfront.
Planet Word Museum
A private museum dedicated to fostering a life-long love of literacy and storytelling is expected to open its doors in 2019.
Focusing on President Eisenhower’s dedication to public service, leadership, work ethic and devotion to preserving democracy, a memorial designed by Frank Gehry will be dedicated in 2020.
The National Native American Veterans Memorial
National Museum of American Indian/TBD
The memorial is expected to open on the grounds of the Smithsonian Institution’s DC museum in 2020. At present, the 413 registrations received from five continents have been reduced to five semi-finalists.
Hall of American Culture
National Museum of American History/Late 2020
The third and final reimaging of the museum’s West Wing presents America as a unique country where culture makers and their giant audiences engage one another, be it in a megachurch, Barnum’s circus tent or a cineplex.
2021 and Beyond
America by Air Reimagined
National Air and Space Museum/2021
“America by Air” will emerge from the museum’s multi-year transformation campaign refreshed with a new layout, improved graphics, interactive elements and new artifacts suspended from the ceiling. The ground floor exhibition will continue to trace the history of air transportation and explore how the federal government shaped the industry and how improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel.
Despite a groundbreaking ceremony in 2017, an additional $30 million is required to construct the new national memorial to the men and women who fought in the war to end all wars.
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