The Smithsonian Institution announced its plans to mark “Solstice Saturday,” the first Saturday of summer, on June 22, by keeping many of its museums open until midnight and holding a number of free parties and activities.
The event is organized in partnership with By The People, a D.C.-based international arts festival, and Hofstra University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.
The festivities that run from June 15–23 will primarily take place at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, with various performances, programs and art installations.
As part of the Solstice Saturday, the 10th annual Astronomy Festival on the National Mall organized by Hofstra University will be held at 6:00–11:00 p.m. in front of the Smithsonian Castle. The festival is promising “solar, optical, and radio telescope observations; hands-on activities, speakers from scientific and educational organization, and a chance to mingle with astronomers.”
Among other Solstice Saturday programs is the “Solstice Star Party” at the National Air and Space Museum scheduled for 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
“Keep the celestial festival going by joining us at our Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory, weather permitting. Use our historic 16” reflector telescope, and discover the secrets of Jupiter, king of the planets,” the event brief says.
And earlier in the day, you may consider exploring “the science of the solstice with activities for all ages” such as learning how the solstice works by joining a free planetarium show at 10:30 a.m., observing the Sun via solar telescopes from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. or celebrating 50 years of Apollo with a special exhibit of forgotten artifacts from Apollo 11.
The National Museum of American History is offering another way of marking the Solstice Saturday to its guests: “America Now: Celebration of Music” that honors “the best of art and history in Washington, D.C.”
“Start your day at the National Museum of American History exploring hip-hop’s influence on American society, innovation, culture, and arts,” the organizers say.
Focusing on “hip-hop’s influence on American society,” the event offers a dance party featuring DJ Adrian Loving, DJ Ayes Cold, Les The DJ, as well as hip-hop, house, and break dancing performances. Workshops for hands-on beat making and DJ music production are also available. And you can bring your old audio cassette mixtapes and digitize the audio and artwork with the D.C. Public Library.
Check out this link for the full schedule of Solstice Saturday events.