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...But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some programs we thought you might enjoy.

Lecture/Seminar

A Panda Story: Celebrating Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute with David M. Rubenstein

Monday, January 30, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: The arrival of the iconic giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the spring of 1972 marked the start of a program that has drawn millions of fans from around the world. It has also provided the Smithsonian an unparalleled opportunity for study. Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, an instrumental longtime supporter of the program, and Brandie Smith, the Zoo’s director, discuss the history of giant panda care at the Smithsonian, what scientists have learned throughout the decades, and what might be next for current residents Xiao Qi Ji, Mei Xiang, and Tian Tian.

Lecture/Seminar

The Regency World of Jane Austen: Art, Architecture, Culture

Saturday, February 11, 2023 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Emma Woodhouse, Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and the Dashwood sisters may be fictional heroines, but their creator Jane Austen set their adventures in romance against the very real social and historical backdrop of Regency England. Art historian Bonita Billman brings the era to life as she surveys Regency manners and fashions, the personalities who dominated the public imagination, and the stylish spa town of Bath, where many of Austen’s characters made appearances. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Three Greatest Paintings in Florence

Friday, February 3, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florence nurtured an unceasing succession of great artists for centuries, but among its hundreds and hundreds of Renaissance masterpieces, which are considered the most significant? Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo offers an in-depth look at three paintings and why she considers them the most important in the city. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Rick Steves on Eating in Italy: A Cultured Conversation with Fred Plotkin

Thursday, February 2, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Italy and its superb cuisine draw hungry visitors from all over the world. European travel expert Rick Steves joins Fred Plotkin, a specialist in Italian cuisine and culture, for a deep dive into many of Italy’s secret culinary pleasures. Their shared insights about hidden gems ensure that your next trip to Italy is delizioso.

Lecture/Seminar

Stonehenge: An Epic Enigma

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Modern scientists are slowly unlocking Stonehenge’s secrets, but the stone circle remains a uniquely iconic enigma. Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine, discusses these new developments and the enduring mystery of Stonehenge.

Performance

Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, and the Centennial Year of Race Records

Saturday, February 18, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Under the artistic direction of maestro Charlie Young, enjoy outstanding live performances of great jazz music by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. This in-person concert delves into the vocal styling of legendary blues singers Mamie (“Queen of the Blues”) Smith and Bessie (“Empress of the Blues”) Smith.

Lecture/Seminar

Discovering Bordeaux

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

World-class wine, medieval villages, museums, and markets: The Bordeaux region of France is truly a feast for all the senses, with a history that unfolds around every scenic turn. Emmy Award–nominated PBS television host Darley Newman showcases the best that this area of Southwestern France has to offer and shares how to get the most out of your visit to France’s renowned wine region.