The Check-In: Celebrating Juneteenth in D.C., electric airplanes, and more

From plays to concerts, there are many ways to mark Juneteenth in Washington

The Washington Monument behind the "Stone of Hope" statue
(Image credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.

Emancipation Proclamation on view at National Archives for a limited time

The Emancipation Proclamation, one of the most important documents in U.S. history, will be on display at the National Archives June 17-19.

After signing the proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared, "If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it." The five-page document was preserved with other proclamations in a large volume that was transferred from the Department of State to the National Archives in 1936. The proclamation was originally tied with red and blue ribbons, and most are still in decent condition.

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Page 1 of the Emancipation Proclamation

(Image credit: Alex Wong / AFP via Getty Images)

General Order No. 3 will also be on display alongside the Emancipation Proclamation. Issued on June 19, 1865, by U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, this informed the people of Texas that all slaves were free. Juneteenth is the celebration of this order, with Black communities marking the occasion for decades before it became a federal holiday in 2021.

Through a sponsorship from Boeing, the Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at the National Archives once a year through 2028.

Juneteenth festivities abound in Washington, D.C.

There isn't just one way to mark Juneteenth. In Washington, D.C., where it's been an official holiday since 2004, Juneteenth can be celebrated through song, art, theater and other cultural touchstones that lift up Black voices and talents.


"Passing Strange" is a Tony Award-winning travelogue that tells the tale of a young Black man who goes to Europe to develop his musical talents and live a life devoted to art. The score is bold and eclectic, with gospel, jazz, rock, blues, and punk. Through June 18 at the Signature Theatre.

"Incendiary," in its world premiere, follows Tanya, a Black woman, as she plots to get her son Eric out of death row before his execution date. Playwright Dave Harris is able to blend humor with tragedy all while exploring generational trauma. Through June 25 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre.

Presented by Mosaic, Donja R. Love's "One in Two" is a "whimsical theatrical experiment" that focuses on three Black queer men. The play was inspired by Love's HIV diagnosis and desire to showcase the strength of the LGBTQ+ community. Through June 25 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Art and photography

At the National Gallery of Art, the exhibition "Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South" just closed, but you can still visit and see works on display from Black artists like Robert Seldon Duncanson, a 19th-century still life painter; Jacob Lawrence, who described his painting style as "dynamic cubism;" and Kara Walker, a contemporary painter, silhouettist, and printmaker. The National Gallery of Art's website has a page dedicated to the Black art in its collection, and if you can't visit in person, serves as a virtual guided tour.

The National Portrait Gallery has two exhibits to check out: "I Dream a World: Selections from Brian Lanker's Portraits of Remarkable Black Women (Part II)" and "One Life: Frederick Douglass."

"I Dream a World" is the second part of an installation that features stunning photographs Lanker took of such luminaries as Althea Gibson, Cicely Tyson and Oprah Winfrey. Through Sept. 10.

"One Life: Frederick Douglass" opens June 16, and uses photographs, prints and other material to tell his life story. It's an extraordinary one: after escaping slavery, Douglass published autobiographies, became an acclaimed speaker, edited The North Star newspaper, and advised Lincoln. Through April 21.


The National Symphony Orchestra's "What's Going On Now: A Tribute to Marvin Gaye" honors the legacy of one of Motown's most versatile performers. Singers Michelle Williams, Luke James and Emily King, organist Cory Henry, and Broadway star Joshua Henry will take the stage to perform some of Gaye's greatest hits. This is a two-night event, with concerts on June 16 and June 17 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

SAS preparing for first-ever commercial electric plane flight

Ready to fly the electric skies?

On June 2, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) opened up bookings for seats on the company's ES-30 electric planes. The flights are expected to take off in 2028, and are in line with SAS' goal of having net-zero emissions by 2050.

"We have a long, and indeed proud, tradition of being pioneers within the aviation industry," SAS President and CEO Anko van der Werff told Condé Nast Traveler. "It is our firm intention to maintain that position — particularly when it comes to exploring new ways to overcome the challenges of making aviation more sustainable."

The planes have 30 seats, and $179 tickets for the three inaugural flights sold out immediately (there is a waitlist). SAS is still working out the details, and did not share the dates or where the planes will be heading, only revealing they will be "domestic flights in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, respectively."

What will it be like to fly on an electric plane? Van der Werff said the "most tangible difference for passengers will be the much-reduced noise levels on takeoff and landing."

An SAS plane lands in Denmark

(Image credit: Mads Claus Rasmussen/AFP via Getty Images)

Plan accordingly: Upcoming events to add to your calendar

Bibliophiles won't want to miss the Nantucket Book Festival from June 15 to 18. Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Sebastian Junger, and Luke Russert are among the authors set to appear at the festival, with the events taking place at different venues across this charming New England island. The Author's Dinner on June 16 at the newly-renovated White Elephant Nantucket is a great way to hobnob with the writers and your fellow book lovers, while also exploring the historic 100-year-old hotel.

Two people chat during the Nantucket Book Festival

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Nantucket Book Festival)

Every summer, fans of The Bard are drawn to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, held on the grounds of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. This year, there are eight plays in production: "Romeo and Juliet," "Timon of Athens," "Coriolanus," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "The Play That Goes Wrong," "A Raisin in the Sun," "Jane Austen's Emma The Musical," and "The Greenshow." If you have a chance to see a performance in the open-air Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, take it — the venue recalls Elizabethan theaters but with modern amenities.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the dates of the "Called to Create" exhibition.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.