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Fall’s Finest

Fall is just around the corner and with the back-to-school season comes a plethora of more cerebral pursuits. Read on for our picks of the best exhibitions, plays, panels and events coming to DC as the summer winds down.

Meet the woman behind the Mad Men cast’s costumes on Sept. 9.

A Day Like No Other
On August 28, 50 years after the historic March on Washington, the Library of Congress will commemorate the anniversary with a moving exhibition, A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. A Day Like No Other will feature 42 black and white images from famous photographers, including Bob Adelman, Flip Schulke, David S. Johnson and Roosevelt Carter, and give visitors an up-close look at what it was like to be a part of the largest, non-violent civil rights demonstration in history. Through Feb. 28, 2014. Free. Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE, loc.gov

DC Blues Fest
On Aug. 31, groove to live music at the 25th Annual DC Blues Fest, complete with crooners, workshops and even a musical instrument petting zoo. Look for performances from Fast Eddie & the Slowpokes, Austin “Walkin” Cane and the DC Blues Society Band with Ayaba Bey. Free. Noon-7:30pm. Carter Barron Amphitheater, 16th Street & Colorado Avenue NW, dcblues.org

The Velocity of Autumn
Arena Stage kicks off its fall season on Sept. 6 with an exclusive pre-Broadway presentation of The Velocity of Autumn. Starring Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons as an almost-octogenarian who has her world turned upside down when her long-absent son returns, Velocity examines complicated familial relationships. Through Oct. 20. Tickets $64-$114. Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW, 202.554.9066, arenastage.org

An Evening with Janie Bryant
The woman behind the oh-so-cool Mad Men cast’s costumes arrives in Washington, DC on Sept. 9 to discuss, among other things, the show’s fashion, it’s influence on contemporary style and her upcoming design reality show, with Amy Henderson, a cultural historian at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. 7-9:30pm. Tickets $40-$50. National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, 202.633.1000, smithsonianassociates.org

The Laramie Project
Hailed as a “pioneering and powerful stage event” by Time magazine, The Laramie Project makes its Ford’s Theatre debut on Sept. 27. The play examines the Laramie, Wyoming community’s response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. The Laramie Project is part of Ford’s Theatre’s Lincoln Legacy Project, an ongoing effort to generate dialogue around the issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance. Through Oct. 27. Tickets $27-$42, Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW, 202.347.4833, fordstheatre.org