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Art & Architecture

The Philadelphia Flower Show: A Preview of Spring

There’s no better way to sweep away winter than with an overnight escape to the horticultural paradise that’s the Philadelphia Flower Show. There’s no need to fight the crowds (or time): Spend 2 hours taking in the blooms before the show opens to the public, then enjoy a full day to explore the delights of the world’s largest annual floral exhibition.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, March 2, 2020 - 8:00 p.m.

Celebrating Bob Ross's Joy of Painting

No television show was more aptly named than Bob Ross’s long-running “Joy of Painting.” Join curator Eric Jentsch of the American History Museum and Sarah Strohl of Bob Ross, Inc., as they examine the artist’s continuing legacy. This program includes a morning painting class to bring home a distinctive Ross-style landscape of your own as well as a lunch break.

Date of event
Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Celebrating Bob Ross's Joy of Painting

No television show was more aptly named than Bob Ross’s long-running “Joy of Painting.” Join curator Eric Jentsch of the American History Museum and Sarah Strohl of Bob Ross, Inc., as they examine the artist’s continuing legacy. This program includes a mid-afternoon painting class to bring home a distinctive Ross-style landscape of your own.

Date of event
Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.

Sicily: Eternal Crossroads of the Mediterranean

From stark Greek temples through dazzling Roman and Arab-Norman mosaics and on to Baroque opulence and charming romantic-era revivals, art historian Janetta Rebold Benton highlights the aesthetic eclecticism and cultural signposts of the island of Sicily. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Out and About With an Artist: National Gallery of Art

Get a “behind-the-easel” perspective on masterworks at the National Gallery from Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts painting instructor Adrienne Wyman. Viewings address historical and social context, the artists’ lives, and demystifying the techniques and materials used to create the works. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, March 9 to 30, 2020 - 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Out and About With an Artist: National Gallery of Art

Get a “behind-the-easel” perspective on masterworks at the National Gallery from Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts painting instructor Adrienne Wyman. Viewings address historical and social context, the artists’ lives, and demystifying the techniques and materials used to create the works. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, March 9 to 30, 2020 - 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Voice of America Daytime Tour

In this tour, get a behind-the-scenes look inside the Voice of America Studio, an U.S. international broadcast operation that provides news and information programming in more than 40 languages on multiple platforms, including television, radio, and the Internet. The tour also includes an opportunity to view several unique American art treasures from the New Deal era.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal Daytime Tour

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal is the first exhibition of Sargent’s portrait drawing in over fifty years. These charcoal portraits have the same delicate balance of detail and simplification that is so compelling about his oil paintings.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.

Sears Houses of Arlington

Sold as prefabricated kits during the first half of the 20th century, affordable dwellings from Sears Roebuck and Company defined the character of countless American communities. Join historian Dakota Springston on a bus tour through historic Virginia neighborhoods to view the distinctive exteriors of Sears homes.

Date of event
Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

The Road to Nashville

If the new Ken Burns documentary Country Music has sparked your appetite to learn more about the form’s roots and influences, this special 5-day tour led by arts journalist Richard Selden offers the perfect way to do it. Packed with performances and music history—as well as art and architecture and terrific regional cuisine—this Southern journey to Music City USA is sure to be a top-of-the-charts experience.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 8:00 a.m.
Return: Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 6:00 p.m.

Africa in the African American Artistic Imagination

The impact of African art on African Americans artists has been long debated. Art historian Kevin Tervala examines the ways in which African American artists have—or have not—engaged with the art of the African continent as reflected in works from early 20th-century pioneers and more contemporary artists. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Creativity in Dark Times: Artists and Writers of the New Deal

Author David Taylor looks at some of the artists and writers for whom the Federal Writers’ Project and the Federal Arts Project gave them a new purpose: recording American life. Their works—some of which remain controversial—provide a vivid portrait of a nation struggling for recovery and identity during the Great Depression.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A Creative Writing Workshop at the Freer

Slow down and savor the experience of looking at art. Join Mary Hall Surface, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, as you engage in detailed observations of works in the Freer’s collection and frame your reactions through descriptive writing and poetry.

Date of event
Friday, March 27, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Forgotten No More: Rediscovering Remarkable Women

Women have been making strides in their fields that have often being overlooked, uncredited, or forgotten by time. Celebrate Women’s History Month by spending a fascinating day with four experts who bring to light an array of remarkable women who have lived in the shadows of history far too long.

Date of event
Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Sears Houses of Arlington

Sold as prefabricated kits during the first half of the 20th century, affordable dwellings from Sears Roebuck and Company defined the character of countless American communities. Join historian Dakota Springston on a bus tour through historic Virginia neighborhoods to view the distinctive exteriors of Sears homes.

Date of event
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Alexander von Humboldt: His World of Nature

He has more species named after him than any other human being. Learn why from Eleanor Jones Harvey, senior curator at the American Art Museum, who examines the fascinating life of Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, one of the most influential intellectuals of the 19th century. 

Date of event
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

In this 4-session course, come on a virtual tour of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites with Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University. This session focuses on the Mogao Grottos.

Date of event
Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

Explore the legacy of painter Johannes Vermeer, a master of light and color whose paintings captured the beauty and meaning of everyday life, with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

George Washington in Alexandria

No other location is as associated with George Washington as Alexandria, a place he considered it his hometown. Join author and historian Garrett Peck as follows Washington’s footsteps through Old Town’s alleyways, rustic taverns, churches, 18th-century houses, and historic waterfront.

Date of event
Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

George Washington in Alexandria

No other location is as associated with George Washington as Alexandria, a place he considered it his hometown. Join author and historian Garrett Peck as follows Washington’s footsteps through Old Town’s alleyways, rustic taverns, churches, 18th-century houses, and historic waterfront.

Date of event
Sunday, April 5, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Masters and Masterpieces of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Against a backdrop of a rapidly changing world, the 18th and 19th centuries brought forth a profusion of styles in art and architecture in Europe and America. Art historian Karin Alexis offers a cultural context for its creators as she traces the path from Rococo exuberance to a bold new realism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, April 7 to May 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. (no class April 14)

The Art of India: From the Indus Valley to Independence

From its origins in the ancient civilization to the present, the complex culture of South Asia has given rise to some of the world’s most remarkable art. Art historian Robert DeCaroli highlights the artistic traditions and historical changes within the Indian subcontinent from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, April 8 to May 6, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (no class April 29)

The Barnes Foundation Philadelphia

Led by art historian Bonita Billman, spend a day at the Barnes museum in Philadelphia to view its dazzling collections of French modern and post-impressionist paintings. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, April 11, 2020 - 8:00 a.m.

George Washington in Alexandria

No other location is as associated with George Washington as Alexandria, a place he considered it his hometown. Join author and historian Garrett Peck as follows Washington’s footsteps through Old Town’s alleyways, rustic taverns, churches, 18th-century houses, and historic waterfront.

Date of event
Friday, April 17, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

The Seneca Quarry and the Castle

Garrett Peck, author of The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry, leads a countryside excursion that centers on the role that the once-thriving Maryland quarry played in the building of 19th-century Washington.

Date of event
Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 9:00 a.m.

Painters in Provence: From Van Gogh to Matisse

The South of France, with its glorious light and varied vistas, has long been a magnet for plein-air painters. Art historian Bonita Billman looks into the inspiration that places such as Avignon, Arles, St. Tropez, Nice, and others provided for the brilliantly colored works produced by 19th- and early-20th century painters. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Best of Brooklyn

Brooklyn offers plenty of delights for lovers of art, music, nature, and of course, food. On this two-day visit, arts journalist and former Brooklynite Richard Selden introduces you to several of the borough’s top attractions.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Monday, April 20, 2020 - 9:30 p.m.

George Washington in Alexandria

No other location is as associated with George Washington as Alexandria, a place he considered it his hometown. Join author and historian Garrett Peck as follows Washington’s footsteps through Old Town’s alleyways, rustic taverns, churches, 18th-century houses, and historic waterfront.

Date of event
Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

Edward Hopper: American Modernist

Explore the life and career of Edward Hopper, one of the great American realists of modern art, with art historian Bonita Billman. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, April 20, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show Preview Night Benefit with Visionary Artist Award Reception

Attend the Smithsonian Craft Show's most exclusive and intimate event for the opportunity to mingle with our 2020 Visionary Artist Award recipient, Patti Warashina, and our show VIPs. This ticket includes access to the Visionary Artist Award Reception and Preview Night Benefit activities, including buffet, wine and cocktails, shopping, and more.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 5:00 p.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show Preview Night Benefit

Attend the Smithsonian Craft Show's Preview Night Benefit for an exclusive evening of shopping without the crowds at the beautiful National Building Museum, featuring a sumptuous buffet with wine and cocktails.

Date of event
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 6:30 p.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show THURSDAY Admission

Save money and avoid the lines by ordering your Smithsonian Craft Show ticket in advance. This one-day pass only applies to Thursday, April 23 admission and doesn't include any add-on evening options.

Date of event
Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show THURSDAY Admission with CRAFT+COCKTAILS

Save money and avoid the lines by ordering your Smithsonian Craft Show ticket in advance. This one-day pass only applies to Thursday, April 23 admission and includes add-on CRAFT+COCKTAILS evening option for after-hours entertainment.

Date of event
Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show: Wit and Wisdom in the Work of Patti Warashina

In lively conversation with Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2020 Visionary Art Award recipient Patti Warashina reveals how her life experience and sense of humor inform her art. This Smithsonian Craft Show one-day pass includes Thursday, April 23 daytime admission; "Wit and Wisdom in the Work of Patti Warashina" talk; and CRAFT+COCKTAILS for after-hours entertainment.

Date of event
EVENING TALK: Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Note: Ticket also includes other activities that occur from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

In this 4-session course, come on a virtual tour of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites with Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University. This session focuses on the Potala Palace.

Date of event
Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show FRIDAY Admission

Save money and avoid the lines by ordering your Smithsonian Craft Show ticket in advance. This one-day pass only applies to Friday, April 24 admission and doesn't include any add-on evening options.

Date of event
Friday, April 24, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show SATURDAY Admission

Save money and avoid the lines by ordering your Smithsonian Craft Show ticket in advance. This one-day pass only applies to Saturday, April 25 admission and doesn't include any add-on evening options.

Date of event
Saturday, April 25, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

2020 Smithsonian Craft Show SUNDAY Admission

Save money and avoid the lines by ordering your Smithsonian Craft Show ticket in advance. This one-day pass only applies to Sunday, April 26 admission and doesn't include any add-on evening options.

Date of event
Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Islamic Art and Architecture: Empires, Spirituality, and Luxury Trade

Art historian Lawrence Butler highlights examples of historic Islamic art and architecture from the 7th century through the early-modern period that embody its defining spirituality, luxury, and princely themes. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Friday, May 1, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 2, 2020 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

A Century of Co-ops in the District

Since 1920, cooperatives—both purpose-built and conversions—have been distinctive features of some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, from Kalorama to Cathedral Heights, Foggy Bottom to Southwest Waterfront. They also represent a wide range of architectural styles and periods. Get an inside look at several of these fabled co-oops during a day guided by Barry Moss, former president of the D.C. Cooperative Housing Coalition.

Date of event
Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 9:00 a.m.

The Ninth Street Women: Abstract Expressionists Who Made Their Own Mark

In the 1950s, the spotlight on New York City’s abstract expressionist movement nearly always fell on male painters. Art critic Judy Pomeranz takes an in-depth look at five gutsy but overlooked women whose work in the groundbreaking Ninth Street Art Exhibition of 1951 boldly claimed their places in the postwar avant garde. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, May 11, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Art of India: From the Indus Valley to Independence

From its origins in the ancient civilization to the present, the complex culture of South Asia has given rise to some of the world’s most remarkable art. Art historian Robert DeCaroli highlights the artistic traditions and historical changes within the Indian subcontinent from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, May 12 to June 6, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

The Met's Costume Institute: Collecting, Curating, and Creating Across Time

Textile curator Elizabeth Lay leads a fashion-focused day among the riches of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collections. A pair of major exhibitions at the fabled Costume Institute—The Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection and About Time: Fashion and Duration—offer intriguing perspectives on collecting, curating, and exhibiting fashion.

Date of event
Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 7:00 a.m.

Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

In this 4-session course, come on a virtual tour of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites with Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University. This session focuses on Samarkand.

Date of event
Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Sparkling Mosaics of Ravenna

No medium better embodies the glory and mystery of both Byzantine culture and Early Christian iconography than mosaics. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, surveys the fascinating history of Ravenna that shaped the city’s most recognizable artistic marvels. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Friday, May 15, 2020 - 6:30 p.m.

Michelangelo, Pope Julius, and the Sistine Chapel

When Michelangelo signed the contract with Pope Julius II in 1508 to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, little did he know the turmoil that awaited him. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, examines the artistic importance of the ceiling and the human drama behind its creation, as well as the chapel’s history and its exquisite art produced before Michelangelo. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

The Bronx in Bloom: Gardens, Art, and Local Culture

Arts journalist Richard Selden leads a two-day tour to New York City’s northernmost borough. Discover the glorious New York Botanical Garden, vibrant neighborhoods like Riverdale, Little Italy, and City Island (it’s really an island), and great local eateries.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, May 18, 2020 - 11:00 p.m.

Raphael and His Circle

To mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, the National Gallery of Art has assembled 25 prints and drawings in an intimate installation, Raphael and His Circle. Join curator Jonathan Bober as he discusses how he brought together the works and the combination of artistic traditions, wide range, and immediate influence of Raphael’s art that shaped the standard of aesthetic excellence for later artists, connoisseurs, and scholars. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Maya: Ancient Splendors, Modern Legacies

The famous breaking of the Mayan code in the late 20th century revolutionized the study of these peoples and of ancient America. In a day-long program, humanities scholar George Scheper examines how interdisciplinary study of the Maya extends beyond the traditional archaeological focus to comprise political and social history, art, comparative religion, and ecology.

Date of event
Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Exploring Frank Lloyd Wright

Visit three of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative homes—Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, and the houses at Polymath Park—on an overnight tour led by Bill Keene to the scenic Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 7:15 a.m.
Return: Monday, June 1, 2020 - 6:30 p.m.

Exploring World Heritage Sites in Asia

In this 4-session course, come on a virtual tour of four of the most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites in Asia, including both well-known and lesser-known sites with Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University. This session focuses on the Taj Mahal.

Date of event
Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Visual Literacy: The Art of Seeing

Like any language, art has its own vocabulary—one in which you discover more meaning and gratification as your fluency increases. Spend a day with art historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman expanding your understanding of how art communicates, how to analyze and interpret it, and how to see it in a cultural context. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, June 6, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Arts and World War I

The awesome power of war to unleash death and destruction has often ironically led to remarkable creative breakthroughs from artists, poets, and composers. David Gariff, a senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, explores the responses of artists and writers to the trauma of the Great War, which transcended national boundaries.

Date of event
Monday, June 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Contemporary Art as a Commodity

Ellen Gorman of Georgetown University offers a survey of the American art market from the 1950s to the present, introducing the cast of players and corporate entities behind the transformation of artworks into commodities for sale to the highest bidder. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Spring in the Brandywine River Valley

The beautiful Brandywine region is an ideal destination for lovers of art, grand houses and gardens, and American history. Join Hayden Mathews, an environmental and cultural history interpreter, in locations in Delaware and Pennsylvania that vividly capture the area’s heritage.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, June 14, 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, June 15, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.

A Berkshires Summer Sampler

The scenic and historic Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts are alive with music, art, and theatre. Journalist Richard Selden leads a 5-day tour that offers a splendid sampling of cultural attractions in the region, from historic writers’ homes to outstanding museums to music and theatre performances.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, July 26, 2020 - 6:30 a.m.
Return: Thursday, July 30, 2020 - 9:30 p.m.