Things to Do

5 After-Hours Museum Events to Check Out This Summer

DC museums are staying open late for fun concerts, panels, and more activities.

Kids can spend the night in the National Museum of Natural History. Photograph by YoTuT/Flickr.

Didn’t get a ticket to National Gallery Nights this spring? The National Gallery of Art’s popular post-work event wraps up this week, but there are still opportunities to visit more DC museums beyond the typical times. Here are five institutions opening their doors for after-hours events this summer.

Phillips After 5 gallery talk. Photograph courtesy of AK Blythe.

Phillips After 5

1600 21st St. NW

Once a month, head to the Phillips Collection after 5 PM to partake in artsy activities and drink some beverages. An event on June 1 celebrates Pride Month with music from composer Be Steadwell, and subsequent fêtes this summer include a celebration of photography on July 6 and jazz in the galleries on August 3. Details: First Thursday of the month from 5 PM to 8:30 PM; $20.


Smithsonian Nighttime Adventures & Sleepovers

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW

For a real life version of Night at the Museum, bring children to after-hours events at the National Museum of Natural History. There are two options for kids ages eight to 14: Hang out with the fossils from 7 PM to 11 PM or spend the night sleeping among the collections. Both experiences include games and crafts themed around the exhibits. Details: Multiple Fridays in June, July, and August; $85 for Nighttime Adventures and $135 for sleepovers.


Jazz in the Garden

Constitution Ave. NW & 7th S.t NW

The National Gallery of Art’s Friday concert series is back, bringing live music (and sangria) to the Sculpture Garden. Performances span genres, from Latin fusion to zydeco. Enter a ticket lottery each Monday before the show at 10 AM to request up to four passes. Gates open an hour before the 6 PM concert. Details: Friday, May 19 to Friday, August 4 from 6 PM to 8:30 PM; Free.



1400 Constitution Ave. NW

To celebrate the new Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures exhibit, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting an evening with musician and multimedia artist Dawn Richard. The singer-songwriter will talk about her discography with women’s history curator Angela Tate, followed by a pop performance in the museum’s Heritage Hall. Details: Friday, June 9 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM; Free.


Live! at the Library

101 Independence Ave. SE

Every Thursday, the Library of Congress keeps its doors open from 5 PM to 8 PM, often holding special happenings during the extended hours. Upcoming events include a panel with local chefs discussing the library’s culinary collection on May 18 and an unveiling on June 1 of US Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s poem for NASA’s Europa mission. Details: Every Thursday from 5 PM to 8 PM; Free.

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow