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Dance with us at this year’s America Now, when three of your favorite Smithsonian museums unite for a ✨FREE✨ one-day festival celebrating the best of art and history in DC. More information at americannow.si.edu. . While you're here, be sure to visit our store for a "Go-Go Belongs Here" t-shirt designed by artist @nekishadurrett! 🔥

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If you were living in the 19th century, would you have been able to have a portrait of yourself? If you were an enslaved person, Native American, or an immigrant, there's a good chance you could not. Listen to the first episode of Portraits, our new podcast with director Kim Sajet, as historian Jill Lepore addresses this lopsidedness of history and shares her own efforts to research stories of overlooked individuals throughout history. . 🎧 Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and Radio Public. Image Credit: First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, 2018, Oil on linen, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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The career of Ira Aldridge illustrates the costs that racism inflicted on African Americans and on America itself. Aldridge was one of the great actors of his age—but he was black. Unable to work in America, he moved to England in the 1820s and lived abroad until his death. Aldridge's most famous role was Othello, in which he is shown here, a part that he invested with the poignancy of his own experience. A Russian critic wrote in 1858 that "he was Othello himself, as created by Shakespeare." Aldridge played most of Shakespeare's main characters, especially the tragic heroes. Aldridge's career foreshadows the fate of many African American artists, such as dancer Josephine Baker or jazz musician Dexter Gordon, who chose to go to Europe to find wide acclaim. . 📷: Ira Aldridge as Othello by Henry Perronet Briggs, c. 1830

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In mid-nineteenth-century America, the growing presence of women in public life coincided with the rise of portrait photography. The democratization of portraiture began in 1839, with the introduction of the daguerreotype—the first practical photographic method. . Created between 1846 and 1856, the daguerreotype and ambrotypes in "Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits" feature the likenesses of more than a dozen memorable American women. See "Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits" on view now. #BecauseOfHerStory . 📷: Lucy Stone by unidentified artist, c. 1855

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In April 1997, comedian Ellen DeGeneres came out to the world when she told Time magazine, "Yep I'm Gay." DeGeneres was ambivalent about coming out, feeling that there should be a zone of privacy allowable to public figures and celebrities but that it "has been the most freeing experience because people can't hurt me anymore." DeGeneres is one of America's most successful show business figures having won multiple awards for her work and continues to perform as she began—as a stand-up comedian. #SmithsonianPride #PrideMonth . 📷: Ellen DeGeneres by Firooz Zahedi, 1997 © Firooz Zahedi. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine

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On Friday, June 14, the museums' Kogod Courtyard is closed to prepare for an event. The Courtyard Café is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with limited seating. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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“In my dining room, we changed the course of America over a bowl of gumbo and some fried chicken." . Leah Chase is reverentially referred to as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine.” In 1945, she married jazz musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr. and joined the family restaurant business in New Orleans. By the 1960s, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was famous for Leah’s recipes and also as a gathering spot for prominent civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., who would join local leaders for strategy sessions over meals upstairs. Native New Orleans artist Gustave Blache III made a series of small portraits documenting Chase in the kitchen. . In honor of her life and achievements, her portrait will be on view in the museum's In Memoriam space on the first floor. . 📷: “Cutting Squash (Leah Chase)” by Gustave Blache III, 2010, oil on panel, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the artist in honor of Mr. Richard C. Colton, Jr. Copyright Gustave Blache III

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Say hello to our new director of history, research and scholarship/senior historian, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw! Shaw is the first woman to hold this senior position at the National Portrait Gallery 🎉 . Shaw, who received her doctorate in art history from @stanford, has focused more than two decades on race, gender, sexuality and class in the art of the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. She’ll be working with our History, Curatorial and Audience Engagement departments to strengthen the museum’s scholarly programs and be a thought leader on connections between portraiture, biography and identity in America. . Welcome to the National Portrait Gallery, Gwendolyn!

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In 2009, Dustin Lance Black rose to stardom with his critically acclaimed film, "Milk," which garnered the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. As he accepted the Oscar, Black recalled the time when he first learned about #HarveyMilk, the subject of his biopic. Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States, and his legacy gave Black hope that one day he too would be able to live his life fully and authentically. . 📷: Dustin Lance Black by Louis Briel (2012). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Anonymous gift in honor of Equality Virginia and the American Foundation for Equal Rights © 2012 Louis Briel

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#MayaLin redefined the conventional notion of a heroic war monument with her understated and controversial design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Lin has gone on to have a successful career as an architect who specializes in civil memorials and continued to gain international attention for works including large-scale installations such as @stormkingartcenter Wavefield. . 📷: Maya Ying Lin by Michael Katakis (1988) © Michael Katakis #APAHM

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“I want to bring out the best in a community and contribute something of permanent value.” —I.M. Pei We are saddened to hear the passing of beloved architect, I.M. Pei. Pei is recognized as one of the most influential architects in the world for his striking, high-modernist designs. He would go on to create such iconic structures as the critically acclaimed East Wing of the @ngadc and the distinctive glass pyramid that forms the entrance to the @museelouvre. He will be incredibly missed. . 📷: I. M. Pei by Yousuf Karsh (1979), Gelatin silver print, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh © Estate of @yousuf_karsh_official

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The scholar, educator, and political activist #AngelaDavis was the nation’s most iconic revolutionary for a generation. Davis taught philosophy at UCLA as the Black Power movement intensified. Her Afro has always been a symbol of black pride and, as shown here, an example of cultural politics through style. Learn more about this portrait and other selections of photographs from the collection that depict moments of communication: intimate confessions, public speeches, exchanged jokes, political confrontations and more in our newest exhibition, "In Mid-Sentence" open now. . 📷: Angela Davis by Stephen Shames © 1969 Stephen Shames

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🚨DON'T MISS🚨: IDENTIFY: Performance Art as Portraiture w/ Jeffrey Gibson WEDNESDAY, MAY 22 at 5 P.M. in the Kogod Courtyard Exploring the relationship between injustice, marginalization and identity, "To Name An Other" is the latest iteration of "IDENTIFY," the performance-art program created by the museum to recognize individuals who are missing from its historical collections. 50 volunteers who self-identify as LGBTQ+, people of color, Indigenous, and/or Native American will draw on the traditions of drumming to bring awareness to current sociopolitical issues. Created by #WhitneyBiennial artist, @jeffrune, this will be the artist's largest performance to date before traveling to the @newmuseum in the summer of 2019. Don't miss this exciting and powerful performance, free and open to the public! #myNPG

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It's #MuseumWeek and we're celebrating #WomeninCulture! Zitkala-Ša is the founder of the National Council of American Indians which soon became a main force in the effort to make the government's policies toward Native Americans more just. Having spent her early childhood on a reservation in South Dakota, she pursued education opportunities outside where she was increasingly troubled by pressures to disassociate herself from her ethnic heritage. In reaction, she turned to compiling an anthology of Native American lore, published in 1901, as Old Indian Legends. By 1915, she was the leader in the drive to advance Native American interests. Learn more about her and other incredible women who contributed to the women's suffrage movement in the U.S. in our exhibition, "Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence" #BecauseOfHerStory

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Happy birthday to “cool cat” #FredAstaire who revolutionized dance in film. 🕺🏼🎉 Astaire’s artistic synthesis of tap and ballet, his extraordinary sure-footed rhythmic balance and his nonchalance all remain cultural emblems of his style. . 📷: Martin Munkacsi © Estate of Martin Munkacsi, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

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Congratulations to the 46 finalists of our 5th triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition! 🎉 . Their work will be presented in “The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today,” a major exhibition premiering October 26. . More details to come! #Outwin2019 #myNPG

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Artist #RogerShimomura explores the experiences of Asian Americans & the challenges of being “different” in America. . “Shimomura Crossing the Delaware” (2010) is based off of #EmanuelLeutze’s 1851 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” found in the @metmuseum. . Shimomura presents himself in the guise of America’s Founding Father. He replaces #GeorgeWashington’s troops with #samurai warriors & he remakes the body of water they cross to resemble San Francisco Harbor with Angel Island (the processing center for Asian immigrants) in the background. The work echoes the composition of a #Hokusai wood-block print. #APAHM

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⚾️⚾️⚾️ Got #baseball on the brain? Swing by tomorrow for "Thursdays at Noon: Curator’s Choice" where we will be discussing a recently acquired portrait of A-Rod by #FreddyRodríguez. #myNPG

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🐟 Conservation leader & Executive Director of @montereybayaquarium #JuliePackard & artist #HopeGangloff help unveil our newly-commissioned portrait! See this vibrant painting and its aquatic details on view on the museum's 1st floor. #myNPG #BecauseOfHerStory #EarthOptimism

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🌎 Happy #EarthDay! 🔬 #RachelCarson’s writings made a mark on scientific research by increasing awareness of environmental issues. . As a marine biologist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1936, she was one of only two female professionals at the agency. This 1962 portrait made for #LifeMagazine shows Carson behind a microscope at her Silver Spring, Maryland, home. Carson’s book about the harm of man-made pollutants helped pave the way for dramatic changes in the use of pesticides. . 📷: Alfred Eisenstaedt #EarthOptimism #BecauseOfHerStory #myNPG

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Nothing says love like art! Visit the museum this weekend with friends and family and share your visit with #myNPG. . 📷: @wemyselfandi

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Even the smallest portraits can make a difference. Stop by the “Votes for Women” exhibition today at 1:30 p.m. and meet the great-granddaughter of #IdaBWells. . Professor Michelle Duster will speak about her great-grandmother and the portrait on view. #BecauseOfHerStory #myNPG

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Watching #GameOfThrones? #DYK we have this portrait of actor #PeterDinklage by photographer Jesse Frohman in our collection? Learn more about this photo and other #GOT-related works in our collection by watching today’s Instagram Story. #myNPG

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⚾️ “Hammering” #HankAaron made his major league debut #otd in 1954 with the Milwaukee (later, Atlanta) Braves. . 💥 In 1974 he broke #BabeRuth’s record of 714 career home runs. On his path to breaking the record, Aaron was forced to tolerate insults from people who did not want to see a black man at the pinnacle of America’s pastime. This did not stop him. Breaking Babe Ruth’s record was one of the most significant milestones—not only in Aaron’s career—but in the history of baseball. . 1. 📷: Ross R. Rossin, 2010 2. 📷: Osvaldo Salas, 1956

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#PutABirdOnIt for #NationalPetDay: 🐦 Artist #WillBarnet’s self-portrait in his Long Island studio includes a crow—his neighbor's pet & a frequent flyer to Barnet's studio. The crow's pose mimics the artist's silhouette & gaze.

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If you were in business with your brother, what would your business card look like? . 👨👨This print of mustachioed, dapper-looking artist brothers Henry (left) & Charles Meade (right) was issued after they opened a gallery. Intended to promote their business, the double portrait was also reproduced as a wood engraving. . When Henry visited Europe in 1853, he brought some of the "lithographs of ourselves" for distribution. He wrote to his brother that these prints, along with other images of Daguerre & their gallery, were "nice souvenirs to give and do a great deal of good. I have given all away." #NationalSiblingDay #BrosForLife #FamilyBusiness

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🏆 We’re excited to announce the honorees for our 2019 American Portrait Gala, taking place at the museum on Nov. 17. ✨ The 2019 Portrait of a Nation recipients are #FrancesArnold, @JeffBezos, @EarthWindAndFire, #IndraNooyi, #LinManuelMiranda, & #AnnaWintour! 🤩 #myNPG

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📖 #MayaAngelou was one of America’s most important writers & poets. Angelou wrote a series of 7 autobiographical novels that are a record of resistance & achievement by African American women. Angelou was born #otd in 1928. . 📷: #BrigitteLacombe

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🌀Take a dizzying look at #KogodCourtyard. Do you have a different perspective to share? Tag us with #myNPG! . 📷: @hkwangtv16

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How have political party platforms changed since women got the right to vote? Our friends @pudding.cool analyzed political party platforms to find how often women’s issues appear in the text. . 📊 See a data-driven video on view in the “Votes for Women” galleries. . Watch today’s Instagram story to explore all the platforms & watch the video. . #myNPG #BecauseOfHerStory #womensrights

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#PeakBloom isn’t just for cherry blossoms. Explore vivid patterns and colors in these #orchid captures from #KogodCourtyard! . 🌸 1-3: @hottershot 🌸 4: @missjahoney 🌸 5: @tonytompk 🌸 6: @jimgosailing

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We remember the "queen of Tejano music," Selena Quintanilla-Pérez #otd. She brought recognition to this South Texas blend of Mexican & American musical styles—& her voice made her an idol on both sides of the border. . In 1990 she released Ven Conmigo, the first #Tejano album by a female artist to go gold. She won a Grammy in 1993, but her life ended tragically two years later. . 📷: Al Rendón #WHM #SelenaQuintanilla #BecauseOfHerStory

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🤩 Stop by “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” & share your visit with #myNPG! #WHM #BecauseOfHerStory

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Belva Ann Lockwood could not vote, but she could seek public office. The Equal Rights Party nominated her as its candidate for president in 1884 and 1888. . 💪 Lockwood’s platform focused on women’s rights issues, particularly suffrage, temperance, and reform for divorce and marriage laws. . ⚖️ Although she was not elected, Lockwood maintained a successful career in law. She was the first woman to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court and successfully argued for Cherokee land rights. . 📷 This photograph of Lockwood, c. 1880 by Benjamin Joseph Falk is on view in “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence" opening tomorrow, March 29. #BecauseOfHerStory #myNPG

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✨Hope your day is 'Supreme'!✨ . #DianaRoss, lead singer of the Supremes, was born #otd in 1944. . With songs such as "Stop in the Name of Love," the Supremes became the most successful female group in pop music history. During the ’60s, only the Beatles sold more records. . Ross is pictured here in 1965 in Detroit's Motown Records studio with #FlorenceBallard (left) & #MaryWilson (right). . 📷: Bruce Davidson #BecauseOfHerStory #WHM

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“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”—Ida B. Wells-Barnett . ✨See this photograph by Sallie E. Garrity in “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” opening this Friday, March 29. . #BecauseOfHerStory #myNPG #WHM #IdaBWells #MotivationMonday

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“My interest is in experience that is wordless and silent...” . Take a quiet moment to reflect on the meditative works of artist #AgnesMartin. Although she was often compared to Minimalists, she preferred the label Abstract Expressionist because of the personal spiritual quality of her paintings. Martin was born on March 22, 1912. . 📷: Charles R. Rushton #BecauseOfHerStory #WHM #5WomenArtists

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🌸Happy #FirstDayOfSpring! ☀️ Say goodbye to winter and hello to #spring with a visit to “Orchids: Amazing Adaptations” in #KogodCourtyard. . The display features a stunning array of orchids. #DYK #orchids grow on every continent but Antarctica? Learn more in the exhibition from @smithsoniangardens in our shared courtyard with @americanart.

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🖤 Last Chance: “Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now” closes today at 7 p.m. . Catch artist #KristiMalakoff talking about her work “Maibaum” in the exhibition galleries today at 2 p.m.

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🌥 Spend your days (and early evenings) with us! We’re open every day until 7 p.m. Tell us about your visit with #myNPG. . 📷: @me.myself.and.my.journey

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Can you name #5WomenArtists? 📲 Tune in today—we’re swapping Instagram Stories with @womeninthearts to celebrate women artists and to help advance gender equality in the arts. #WHM . See women artists represented at #NMWA & in our collection — like Michelle Obama portraitist @asherald! . . . 🎨: #AmySherald, “They call me Redbone but I’d rather be Strawberry Shortcake” (2009) @womeninthearts

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👏 #JosephineBaker exhibited a verve and sensuality that stood out even in a chorus line. . 🌟 Having grown up in poverty in St. Louis, she seized the opportunity in 1925 to travel to Paris in the Harlem music and dance ensemble La Revue Nègre. With a reputation for daring outfits and a performance style that was at once erotic and comic, Baker became a star. . During World War II, Baker worked with refugees and performed for the troops. In later years she became a vocal civil rights advocate—insisting on integrated audiences wherever she performed. . 📷: Stanislaus Julian Walery / #WHM #BecauseOfHerStory

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🎉 Happy #InternationalWomensDay! #YunSuknam, now 80, is known as the mother of modern #feminism in Korea. At the age of 40 she created a new career for herself—as an artist. See her work "Mother III" on view in "Portraits of the World: Korea" at the museum. #IWD2019 #WHM #5WomenArtists #myNPG

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Instead of only painting subjects deemed suitable for women, #GeorgiaOKeeffe experimented boldly with abstraction & immersed herself in American modernism. Inspired by the Southwest landscape, she cultivated one of the most successful artistic careers of the 20th century. . #WHM #BecauseOfHerStory #5WomenArtists 📷: © Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive

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🥇🥈🥉 As a highly decorated female athlete, #JackieJoynerKersee won a total of 6 #Olympic medals for the heptathlon & long-jump competitions, including three golds, one silver, and two bronzes. #WHM #BecauseOfHerStory 🎨: Gregory Heisler

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Ida B. Wells exposed racial injustice and violence though groundbreaking reporting. During the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington D.C., she refused to march in the back. #BecauseOfHerStory #WomensHistoryMonth

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Which woman in history most inspires you? Tell us this #WomensHistoryMonth! . Today @_parkercurry came back to visit #AmySherald’s portrait of #MichelleObama one year after she first saw it—this time she brought her little sister, Ava. 😍

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Her story changed history. Our @Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative will tell the complete American story and empower future generations. 💡 This #WomenHistoryMonth, we'll share stories of the women who changed ours: #BecauseOfHerStory 📲 womenshistory.si.edu

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Brighten up your day with #orchids in our #KogodCourtyard, shared with @americanart! Stop by for a lunch break or after work—we’re open every day until 7 p.m. . 📷: @plansornoplans

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Float like a 🦋, sting like a 🐝 . #MuhammadAli became a boxing champ #otd in 1964 at age 22. . 👑 Ali (born #CassiusClay) would become the 1st three-time winner of the heavyweight crown. . 🥊 Henry C. Casselli Jr.’s 1981 portrait of Muhammad Ali, titled “Cat’s Cradle,” references the ropes of the boxing ring. The contrast between the delicate strings & Ali's powerful form prompts a more subtle reference to his boxing style. #BlackHistoryMonth