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American History Programs

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Friday, August 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Monday, August 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Gen. Colin Powell is one of America’s most respected and admired public figures. He shares his thoughts on reaching goals and realizing dreams during a life spent in service to his country.

Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Civil War historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer lead a tour to sites east of Richmond, charting the confrontations with Confederate forces that drove Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan from the gates of the city into his fortified camp on the James River.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Presidents may not always agree with their predecessors on policy, but many found common ground—and a respite from the burdens of power—in their enjoyment of a well-crafted cocktail. Philip Greene of the Museum of the American Cocktail serves up bi-partisan tales about preferred White House drinks, and some of the cocktails themselves for sampling.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Michael Patrick Hearn, the leading authority on all things Oz, takes you behind scenes—and behind the curtain—as he looks at the creation of the most beloved Hollywood movie ever made.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM

How does someone enter a career in foreign service—and what do they find there? Take a rare opportunity to get answers from men and women in diplomatic Washington as you go inside the American Foreign Service Association and the U.S. Department of State.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Historian and journalist Rick Perlstein discusses his new book tracing the tumultuous political and economic times of the 1970s, which gave rise to Ronald Regan’s vision of America—and a new conservative political culture.

Friday, August 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Family Program: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the American History Museum. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums!

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Some of the most dramatic and decisive events of the War of 1812 took place close to home. Local historian and author Anthony S. Pitch looks at Washington when the White House and Capitol were in flames, and Fort McHenry as it withstood the British bombardment that inspired Francis Scott Key’s poetic tribute to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Military historian Gregg Clemmer investigates six river crossings by Union and Confederate forces. Follow the path of one as you cross the Potomac at White’s Ford in the highlight of the day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Spend a morning getting a rare behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court—including the courtroom where cases are argued. Then, a panel of top legal experts previews the issues that will come before the court when the new session begins in October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Smithsonian Associates Members Only: Spend the afternoon with a panel of top legal experts who will preview the issues that will come before the Supreme Court when the new session begins in October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

In a lively, interactive Smithsonian Debate in which the audience plays a key role, specialists in early American history examine which seminal document more strongly shaped America’s history—and wields a more powerful influence on today’s national life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:15 AM

The Atomic Spies, Cambridge Five, and Red Wasp Network seized on periods of international political unrest to unleash their espionage operations. Experts and former intelligence officers share the inside story of these spy rings, including never-before-seen documents, rare images, and little-known details. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Ride the rails with historian Joe Nevin and the steam engine Mountain Thunder on a round-trip excursion on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. After the breathtaking trip between Frostburg and Cumberland, tour the Western Maryland Station, C&O Canal terminus, and the South Cumberland rail yards.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Warren Perry, a writer at the National Portrait Gallery, recounts the story of the bloody encounter in which nearly 50,000 men fought for control of the “breadbasket of the Confederacy.” He also discusses several objects in Smithsonian collections with connections to the battle.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

On Sept. 17, 1862, more than 23,000 soldiers met death in the Maryland farmland of Antietam. Civil War historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer lead a tour to sites connected with this bloodiest battle of the war.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Thomas Jefferson, an inveterate correspondent, left behind roughly 18,000 letters. J. Jefferson Looney, who served as editor (and sometimes, detective) on an edition of the documents of his final years, reveals the insights into Jefferson’s brilliant mind that these materials offer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Historian Ken Hughes, a research specialist on the White House tapes, unravels how the Watergate cover-up connects to wider revelations of secrets and lies in the Nixon administration.

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