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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Storyteller extraordinaire Ken Follett discusses Edge of Eternity, the final installment of his epic Century Trilogy, which follows the saga of five intertwined who loved, hated, fought, and lived large against the backdrop of churning social, political, and economic turmoil.

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Shonda Rhimes, the creative force behind Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, knows how to put together hit shows that become national obsessions. She shares a few of the secrets of how she does it, and talks about why she’s made it a priority to cast some of the most diverse shows on TV.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

A panel of artists, scholars, and scientists comes together for a fascinating conversation on how arts and popular culture can provide unique insights into the narrative of human history told through our DNA. Afterward, raise a glass to the science and the art of winemaking in a special tasting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

In a daylong celebration of this historic port, transportation expert Scott Hercik takes you aboard vessels including a WWII-era troop ship and the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship as you explore Baltimore’s rich maritime heritage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs—and Vikings—produced a rich tapestry of natural and human history in Iceland. Geologist Jim Zimbelman provides a personal guide to the island nation, as well as some great tips for visitors to this cool country that’s become a hot travel destination.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Author Karen Abbott reveals how charm, disguise, daring, and a steady trigger finger propelled a quartet of remarkable women through dangerous intrigues.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Savor a private lunch planned by chef Michael Abt, who heads the kitchen at this runaway hit bistro, and you’ll swear 14th Street looks a lot like your favorite arrondissement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Russell Gammon, a professional guide and third-generation Zimbabwean, leads you to two of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations—the Okavango river delta in Botswana and the Serengeti plains—to explore the continent’s stunning natural beauty and the wildlife of the wilderness.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 6:45 PM

What if some of the fantastic creatures and places that are the stuff of legends actually might have existed? Science writer Sarah Zielinski looks at evidence from the natural world that could have inspired ten strange and familiar stories.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Forty years ago, Vint Cerf was one of the visionaries who developed the communications protocols that allow computers everywhere to share data. Now, 25 years after the Internet changed our lives, he reflects on the birth of the cyber-communications revolution.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Mimi, Tosca, Turandot, Butterfly, and Manon: Their music touches your soul and their stories break your heart. Opera expert Fred Plotkin explores Puccini’s gallery of unforgettable heroines, and singers from Washington National Opera perform.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Food historian Francine Segan leads a delightful virtual tour the “Green Heart of Italy,” with Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, and Orvieto among the stops on the itinerary. And get a distinctive taste of the region in a tasting of wine and truffle products. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer bring to dramatic life the story of one of the Civil War’s most daring and controversial military actions—the attempted raid on Richmond by the fiery young Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick and Col. Ulric Dahlgren.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

The remote Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, part of Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex, shares its island secrets during a day of boating, hiking, and outdoor learning.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The ironclad USS Monitor changed the course of the Civil War—and naval combat forever. Historians and scientists, part of an ongoing conservation and research project at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, examine the historic warship’s significance from a variety of perspectives.

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society audiences are privy to the unparalleled experience of hearing two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati—in this popular three-concert series offered on Saturdays.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society audiences are privy to the unparalleled experience of hearing two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati—in this popular three-concert series offered on Sundays.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Operetta, that seductive little sister of grand opera, has always been much more than risqué couplets, flowing champagne, and romantic intrigues. Popular Smithsonian Associates music lecturer Saul Lilienstein traces the history of a genre that mixes gorgeous music, enduring melodies, comedy, romantic yearnings, and satire in an irresistible theatrical package.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Hometown boy Henry Rollins recalls his role in the influential hardcore punk scene of 1980s Washington and the trailblazing artists it spawned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Over more than a century, three generations of Wyeths have created a collective portrait of America. Art historian Bonita Billman traces the family tradition reflected in their disparate subjects and styles.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Master birder Victor Emanuel explains why birds have fascinated us since ancient times, as well as how the observation of these winged creatures can deeply affect our lives in unexpected ways.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Art historian Judy Scott Feldman looks at the ways in which the monk-artists who created sumptuous religious texts such as the Book of Kells used the Celtic love of intricate pattern and dazzling color to leave a lasting impact on the art of Europe’s early Middle Ages and beyond.

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Join Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz, a lecturer in the English department at Georgetown University, in a spirited series of lectures and informal dialogues that explore works by A.S. Byatt, John Banville, Julian Barnes, and Hilary Mantel that have been honored by the Man Booker Prize.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Washington's dining scene seems to be growing exponentially by the minute. Many of the new powers behind the new established restaurants are women. Tonight, In a conversation moderated by Jessica Sidman, food writer at Washington City Paper, star chefs Nora Pouillon, Ris Lacoste, and Marjorie Meek-Bradley discuss what it’s like to work in restaurant industry, and what’s next on the region’s culinary horizon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Written in berry juice on newspapers, the contents of the 1871 field diary on which legendary explorer David Livingstone recorded his observations on the African slave trade faded to near-invisibility in just a few years. A team of scholars, scientists, and spectral imaging experts have revealed his words again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 6:45 PM

He’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who has interviewed Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker—and an undocumented immigrant. Jose Antonio Vargas discusses his life as an American with the Newseum’s Frank Bond.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Robert Wyatt celebrates the team whose work redefined the structure, spirit, and sound of the American musical.

Friday, October 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Explore the horse as a living history, symbol, and spectacular athlete in a day that begins in the Virginia foothills of the Blue Ridge and ends in an evening at one of the nation’s leading equestrian events.

Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Chinese history scholar Edward McCord illuminates the precepts of the golden age of Chinese philosophy (6th to 2nd centuries B.C.), which would provide a lasting foundation for East Asian culture and society for the next 2,000 years. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

As the current struggle between Ukraine and Russia demands our attention, there are some who worry we may be witnessing attempts to reconstitute the former Russian Empire. Historian George Munro provides insights into the people and events that led to the empire’s creation and a key to understanding the issues at play today.

Saturday, October 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Prized for their beauty, Oriental rugs have been woven in the Near East for more than 4,000 years—and coveted as objects of splendor for just as long. If you are considering purchasing one for your home, listen to antique rug experts Michael Seidman, Tom Xanakis, and Rick Seyford talk about the history of these objects and provide tips on what to look for (or look out for) when buying a rug.

Monday, October 27, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Nobody—except maybe zombies—thinks of Halloween as a romantic holiday. Daniel Gifford, a holiday scholar, illustrates how a century ago buxom witches and swooning cupids were part of the day’s iconography—and reflected the changing social climate in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Whisky expert Dave Broom leads a toast to the history, lore, and enjoyment of this versatile spirit. And raise your own at a tasting that follows the program.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

It took Israel only six days in June 1967 to immobilize the airpower of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, but the legacy of that lightning war still shapes the seemingly intractable search for Mideast peace. Ralph Nurnberger, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, uncovers the roots of the war and reveals little-known events leading up to it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Whose voice dominates the world of opera: the composer, librettist, director, conductor, singer, designer, or manager? Saul Lilienstein traces the shifts from one center of artistic power to the next as he covers five centuries of evolution in this most sublime of arts.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Civil War historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer lead an overnight tour that follows a trail from Petersburg National Battlefield—site of a 10-month campaign during which 70,000 were killed or wounded—to Appomattox Court House, where Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Francis J. Ambrosio of Georgetown University examines the origins, themes, and influences of the cultural and philosophical movement that grew out of—and helped define—the 20th century.

Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Discover much more than 50 shades of green when travel writer Reid Bramblett shares tips on the country’s best and sets you on the road to discovering the magic—old and new—found only in Ireland.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM

The television host recalls how his former boss, House Speaker Tip O’Neill, the ultimate Washington insider, forged an unlikely working relationship with Ronald Reagan, his polar opposite.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:45 PM

For centuries, Istanbul has been a city where Europe and Asia meet, producing a fabled and fascinating mix of cultures, cuisines, and traditions. Travel writer Nigel Gilchrist opens its wonders.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM

This fascinating seminar explores the tale of two cities during the Renaissance—Florence and Venice, rich, confident, magnificently beautiful, and powerhouses of creativity—and the artists they nurtured, including the contrasting geniuses of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Titian.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Neurologist Barry Gordon, founder of the Memory Clinic at Johns Hopkins, looks at how memory works and how to sharpen it at any age.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society celebrates its 38th season with musical masterpieces from the Elizabethan period to late 19th century. This is a six-concert series offered on Saturdays.

Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society celebrates its 38th season with musical masterpieces from the Elizabethan period to late 19th century. This is a six-concert series offered on Sundays.

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