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American History Programs

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM

As the ideological gap between both parties continues to wide, Ken Walsh, U.S. News & World Report’s chief White House correspondent, moderates a spirited panel discussion about the political divide.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Join historians Ed Bearss and Greg Clemmer on a tour that focuses on the 1777 Battle of the Clouds and Paoli Massacre, as well as the arduous winter Washington and his troops spent at Valley Forge.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM

As the 150th anniversary of the Reconstruction era approaches, historian Michael Ross considers how this tumultuous chapter in our history redefined the rights of all Americans.

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Spend an afternoon with professional holiday decorator Coleen Christian Burke as she covers the traditions of White House holiday decorating, brings you behind the scenes as the seasonal transformation takes place, and shares some practical tips on how you can make your own holiday home reflect the sparkle of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

The Roosevelts stand apart from American dynasties of the past and present in terms of their political and personal impact on our nation. Filmmaker Ken Burns and writer Geoffrey C. Ward, collaborators on a new PBS series and companion book, discuss how they crafted their portraits of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt to capture both their larger-than-life public personas and the private lives that shaped them as individuals.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved and widely known pieces of holiday literature. Learn how the classic English tale also mirrors a time when our country was undergoing rapid transformation and needed guidance and reassurance.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Senator John McCain discusses his evocative history of Americans at war, told through the personal accounts of 13 remarkable men and women who fought in conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Saddle up for an entertaining and insightful look at the landscape of the Hollywood Western and trace its progression from early sagebrush melodramas to films that explore complex stories, history, and core American values.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM

In the inaugural program in a 4-part series on the making of the federal city, experts look at the long, complex, and often surprising history of our town in a daylong seminar at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 6:45 PM

There is no more magnificent portal to the capital than Washington’s Union Station, but even with a late-’80s facelift its Beaux-Arts beauty needs constant tending. Join representatives of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation at the station to get an inside look at the current restoration project.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 6:45 PM

Abraham Lincoln’s wife endured being caricatured as a shrew, spendthrift, and national embarrassment. Her biographer Jean H. Baker and playwright James Still, author of the upcoming The Widow Lincoln, offer portraits of this often-polarizing figure that contests the conventional wisdom that has encrusted our understanding of a fascinating woman. In cooperation with Ford’s Theatre.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 6:45 PM

You’ve likely had her work in your hands—and on your cards and letters. Now meet art director Ethel Kessler, who designed more than 300 beautiful stamps for the US Postal Service, including the now-iconic Breast Cancer Awareness stamp.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Do the seductive agents in spy thrillers who deploy their very personal powers of persuasion really exist? In a 4-part series, historians and former intelligence officers share the stories of magnetic and charming spies who used the bedroom as their base of operations.

Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:45 PM

The nation’s founders shaped the philosophical and political vision of a newly independent republic. Pierre L’Enfant translated that vision into physical reality. Author Scott W. Berg examines L’Enfant’s work in the artistic and political context of his times, and how his enduring influence is reflected in today’s Washington.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 6:45 PM

The roots of Mardi Gras, like those of New Orleans itself, are complex, rich, and wonderfully varied. Historian Emily Landau guides you through a lively social history of this pre-Lenten celebration—and offers a king cake tasting, too.

Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM

How did African American people in the Revolutionary era pursue happiness? Historian Richard Bell examines a familiar period from the less-familiar perspective of its enslaved peoples and free persons of color.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:45 PM

Get a taste of the 1920s as you sip some iconic period cocktails (Orange Blossom, anyone?) and hear from two of the co-founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail how determined drinkers thumbed their noses at the killjoys who tried to turn America dry.

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