What's New?
2017 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Opening Night Party Tickets

A chic and unique shopping experience for you and your friends. Get the first look at a curated collection of art to buy and wear. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and Art on the Runway—a professional fashion show. Meet the show's artists, consult with professional stylists, and find your fabulous.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
2017 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission Tickets

Save $2 per ticket by ordering your Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission one day passes in advance! Passes can be used for either day.

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 7, 2017 - 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition Semifinals

FREE EVENT: Come and hear some of the world's most talented young jazz pianists performing for an illustrious judging panel as they take part in this world-famous musical competition. Note: Ticket distribution will occur at the door on Monday, October 9, 2017 starting at 12 noon.

Monday, October 9, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the American History Museum Halloween Special

Halloween Special for Families: (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! For this sleepover only, celebrate Halloween by wearing a costume.

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
The Grisly World of Victorian Surgery

If you were unlucky enough to need surgery in the early 19th-century, you had more to fear than your malady: The procedure itself could kill you. Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris leads a fascinating Halloween-night excursion into the germ-ridden, dirty, and often-deadly Victorian operating room, where your surgeon made up for his lack of skill by some fairly gruesome means.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: Where the Noble Experiment Flopped

Prohibition came to the nation’s capital in 1917—three years earlier than the rest of the country. Despite the head start, Washington turned out to be a town that nurtured more than 3,000 speakeasies and where Congress had its own-in house bootlegger. Garrett Peck raises a toast to the centennial of the booze ban that wasn’t.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Secrets of the Sommeliers

Not long ago, sommeliers were little more than bit players in the theater of fine dining. These days, however, many “somms” are among the marquee players in the world of food and wine. Hear four established stars share stories about working with wine and then enjoy a guided wine tasting.

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Scott Kelly: A Year in Space

The veteran of four space flights, astronaut Scott Kelly discusses the dangers, achievements, and physical and emotional challenges he encountered during his record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station.

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 7:00 p.m.
The Burr Conspiracy: An Early American Crisis of the Truth

What led Aaron Burr to be tried for treason in 1807? Historian James E. Lewis Jr. examines how partisan politics, biased newspapers, Thomas Jefferson—and Burr’s rumored plan to establish a new empire ruled by his daughter—all played a role in the former vice president’s public depiction as “the chief villain of the Founding Fathers.”

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Future of Spices

The global culinary movement has made even the most exotic spices an essential part of many kitchens today. Lior Lev Sercarz, a chef, spice blender, and owner of New York City spice shop, discusses how the demand for spices and ethnic food are challenging producers today, and looks at new applications for spices—such as distilling and brewing—that move beyond cooking.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Autumn Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island
Daytime Tour

Enjoy the magic of an autumn morning as author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around Roosevelt Island, a 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Digging Deeper: An Insider’s Look at Field Archaeology

They go out with their shovels and come back with priceless artifacts. If you think that sums up field archaeology, you’ve got another thing coming. From excavating lost cities to an army of Chinese Terracotta warriors, learn a few secrets from a seasoned pro.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Fate of Rome: Nature’s Triumph Over Human Ambition

The centuries-long dissolution of the Roman Empire was shaped not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. Classicist Kyle Harper traces how a seemingly invincible empire fell victim to forces far stronger than its armies: those of the environment.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Lee Child on Jack Reacher’s Latest Adventure

As his newest thriller debuts, join internationally bestselling author Lee Child as he discusses the inspiration behind his Jack Reacher novels, his writing process, and the latest story in the series, The Midnight Line.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Tea with a Bookseller: Previews of the Newest Nonfiction Titles

Washington is home to excellent local bookstores serving every kind of literary taste. In the second installment of a new monthly series in which local booksellers preview upcoming titles, Jon Purves from Politics and Prose looks at the big nonfiction books set to debut this fall. (Tea, sherry, and cookies round out each session.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 4:00 p.m.
The Lafayette Escadrille: Legends with a Cause

The brash young Americans who volunteered to fly with French fighter pilots during the early days of World War I became the nucleus of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille. Paul Glenshaw, an aviation expert and filmmaker, tells the story of the “founding fathers of American combat aviation” and offers preview clips from his documentary film about the Escadrille pilots.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code Girls: The Women Who Decrypted World War II

In 1942, more than 10,000 young women were recruited for a top-secret project in which they served as codebreakers for the U.S. Army and Navy. Their wartime achievements saved countless lives and aided the Allied victory—but were nearly erased from history. Author Liza Mundy rescues the code girls’ amazing story.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
La Cucina vs. La Cuisine: A Gastronomic Faceoff

Italian and French food fans seem destined to be at perpetual odds in the “which-is-the best?” argument. Join Fred Plotkin, author of six books on Italian culinary traditions, as he examines how la cucina and la cuisine are not so much rivals as great influences and inspirations on one another. Afterward, savor a buffet that shows off the delights of both cuisines.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Thomas Paine: Revolutions of a Founding Father

He was admired for helping to ignite the fight for independence in the Colonies, but when Thomas Paine died in June 1809 only a dozen people came to his funeral. Historian Richard Bell examines the reasons behind Paine’s meteoric rise to celebrity status during the American Revolution and his equally dramatic fall from grace in the decades afterward.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Spell of Vermeer

A master of light and color, Vermeer created a timeless world in which the smallest actions took on a beauty beyond their commonplace settings. Explore his artistry and legacy with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Protestant Reformation

October 31, 2017—Reformation Day—marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that began with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. John M. Freymann, permanent military professor in history at the U.S. Naval Academy, reviews the emergence and development of the 16th-century reformations from the late Middle Ages into the early modern period.

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Secret Selves: Charlotte and Emily Brontë

Charlotte and Emily Brontë lived a small, isolated family home in an English village, far from literary circles. Author John Pfordresher examines the forces of creative imagination and personality that nonetheless allowed them to cast a critical eye on the issues of their time through passionate female characters—who often resembled their creators.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
What It’s Like To Be a Dog

What if we could actually know what was going on in our pets’ brains? It’s possible, according to neuroscientist Greg Berns. He shares stories about his research with dogs and other animals that reveal that complex intelligence is all around us.

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Scandinavian Art and Architecture: Modern Aesthetic and Traditional Heart

Scandinavians are renowned internationally for their modern aesthetic and innovations in architecture and design. Explore the creative contributions of the region’s beautiful cities with art historian Karin Alexis. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Write the Stories of Your Ancestors

You’ve gathered information about your ancestors. It’s time to share their stories. Leading genealogy expert John Colletta explores the many ways to assemble and write the saga of a family.

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Bethlehem: America’s Christmas City
Overnight Tour

There’s no better place to get into the spirit of the season than charming Bethlehem, nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Stroll through the European-inspired Christkindlmarkt for some gift shopping, enjoy the holiday lights of Main Street at night, and visit sites that reflect the city’s strong Moravian traditions and industrial history.

Depart: Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, December 4, 2017 - 8:00 p.m.
Dickens Without the Humbug

Follow the life and career of Charles Dickens through the best of times and the worst of times with author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Sedar, reading from selected works. Then, have a piece of cake and raise a toast to the premier storyteller of the Victorian age. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
The Olmec Culture: Monuments, Masterpieces, and Mysteries

More than 30,000 years ago, important centers of Olmec culture flourished along the Gulf of Mexico. George L. Scheper of Johns Hopkins University provides a cultural overview of these achievements, and examines the Olmecs’ relationship and influence on neighboring civilizations. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Early-Renaissance Florence and Siena: Dueling Artistic Traditions

Lisa Baumann, professor of art history at George Mason University, explores the stylistic differences among artists working in the city-states of Florence and Siena at the cusp of the Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.