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Musical Icon: Ella Fitzgerald

Signature Events

Event Details

Commemorate the 100th birthday of the “First Lady of Song”! In conjunction with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation’s yearlong “Ella 100” celebration, MIM will honor Fitzgerald’s legacy through lectures, film screenings, trivia games, and other activities.

Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Museum Store will feature a selection of CDs celebrating the “First Lady of Song,” which include many of her most celebrated works such as 100 Songs for a Centennial, along with vintage, repurposed vinyl-record clocks and journals.

Microphone Craft Activity
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Ella Fitzgerald’s voice created beautiful music, and the microphone made it possible to amplify that voice and record it for the world to enjoy decades later. Create and decorate your very own craft microphone and get ready to practice your scatting!

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Use fun props to look as elegant as the “Queen of Jazz” herself. Snap some photos at MIM’s custom photo booth and instantly get your own copy to take home.

Toe-Tap Pianos
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Practice your jazz improvisation with your toes! Play some tunes on our eight-foot-long piano mats.

Caricatures by She Draws You
11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Remember the day with a caricature! Have a whimsical portrait drawn by local artist Dianne Nowicki of She Draws You Caricatures.

Special Screenings: Ella Fitzgerald Documentary
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Go behind the scenes in the life of the “First Lady of Song”! This weekend, come to MIM for special screenings of documentaries that showcase the musical life of Ella Fitzgerald. MIM will present a different film each day of the program—both full of intriguing facts, interviews, and archival clips of some of her performances. You won’t want to miss this inside look at the life of Ella Fitzgerald on the big screen.

Jazz-Inspired Menu Available for Purchase
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Try Café Allegro’s jazzy spin on popular Southern favorites, with dishes such as “Dream a Little Dream” of Dill Pickle Soup and “A Tisket, A Tasket” Basket Full of Yellow and Brown Lemon Meringue Tarts.

Lecture: “The Incomparable Ella – A 100th Birthday Tribute”
1:15–2:30 p.m.
In this lively talk, Dr. John Edward Hasse, distinguished scholar, author, and curator of the Ella Fitzgerald Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, will provide insights into Fitzgerald’s music, personality, and extraordinary journey from shy orphan to beloved world celebrity. Joining MIM remotely via video chat, Hasse will trace the evolution and triumph of one of America’s greatest and most beloved singers using film and video clips, rare photographs, and original recordings. Having personally selected memorabilia for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Hasse will share anecdotes of meeting Ella at the Smithsonian and securing her archives for the Smithsonian.

Dr. John Edward Hasse is curator emeritus of American music at the National Museum of American History and founder of Jazz Appreciation Month celebrated nationwide. His books include Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and Discover Jazz. He is also coproducer of Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology and has lectured in twenty-five countries on five continents.

MIMQuiz: Ella Fitzgerald
2:45-3:30 p.m.
How much do you know about Ella Fitzgerald and her music? Finish off the day by joining in on some exciting rounds of team trivia to share your expertise or learn something new. Come with a team or make new friends as we test your knowledge! The winning team will receive one $10 MIM gift card per person (no more than four people per team).

Photo courtesy of William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

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Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

Passionate Ballads of “Dream a Little Dream” Dill Pickle Soup

“Cry Me a River” of Salmon Soup with “You Have to Sing It” Chives

“The First Lady of Song” Juicy Jazzy Chicken with “Black Coffee” Barbecue Sauce and Romantic Rhythms of Sizzling Sweet Potato Spuds

An Orchestra of “Lady Ella’s” Three-Octave-Range Tender Beef Tones with Chick’s Drumming-Beat Blues Barley

“A-Tisket, A-Tasket” Basket Full of Yellow and Brown Lemon Meringue Tarts

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