If you grew up a skateboarder in the ’80s and ’90s, the names Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen are imbued with a certain magic – the kind that comes from watching, rewinding and rewatching Bones Brigade videos to try and figure out Mullen’s legendary kick flip and Airwalk, or just to stare at Tony Hawk’s 720 aerial tricks.
Now the National Museum of American History is taking notice. Hawk is donating his first skateboard to the Smithsonian on Saturday, and the museum is hosting a day-long “Innoskate” festival that will look at the history of skateboarding – complete with pro skaters performing tricks on a mini ramp outside the museum’s Mall entrance.
Panel discussions take place throughout the day, focused on the evolution of skateboard design and equipment (11:30 a.m.) and skateboard clothing and sneakers (2:45 p.m.), with such notables as Paul Schmitt, who created the modern skateboard deck, and skater/designer Cindy Whitehead.
The one to put on your calendar is this: At 1 p.m., Hawk and Mullen will be part of a panel exploring “the inventive process behind tricks,” which we have to hope involves Hawk demoing a McHawk or a 900, or Mullen showing why he only lost one street skating competition in the ’80s.
Of course, it’s not all nostalgia: The last panel of the day, at 4:15 p.m., features skateboarding legends and current pros discussing where the sport is heading. (Keep your ears open when Trans World Skateboarding journalist Bryan Ridgeway is talking.)
All events are free and no reservations are necessary. You’re welcome to skate down to the museum – Madison Drive on the Mall will be closed – but the only people who get to use the Smithsonian’s skate ramp on Saturday are the pros. Hey, they’ve earned it.