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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

If warmer weather has you ready to roam (or at least thinking about it), this week's edition can offer some directions. Get practical tips from professionals on how to navigate today's new world of travel. Join in-person hiking tours of two of the D.C. region's most beautiful natural landscapes. Chart new destinations on the country's most scenic highways. And find some literary inspiration in a collection of classic American road novels.

They're among the offerings designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you,ve come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.

Tamika D. Mallory: State of Emergency

Clockwise: Tamika D. Mallory, April Ryan, Tiffany Haddish, and Emily Ratajkowski (Photos: Geeno Mizelli, NA, Keith Major, Emily Ratajkowski)

In what was called "the speech of a generation" by ABC News, activist and social justice leader Tamika D. Mallory declared that "Black people are dying in a state of emergency" at a Minneapolis press conference following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of police. In a Tuesday, May 18 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program, she draws on themes from her new book, State of Emergency: How We Win in the Country We Built (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing), in a timely roundtable conversation about racial inequality, activism, and change.

Mallory is joined by actor and comedian Tiffany Haddish; model and activist Emily Ratajkowski; and April Ryan, White House correspondent, CNN political analyst, and D.C. bureau chief for theGrio, who serves as moderator. The program's ticket price includes the book, with the first 150 registrants receiving a signed copy.

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On the Road Again

Journeys of adventure and discovery have long called to writers and readers of American literature. From Moby-Dick to On the Road, Huckleberry Finn to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, memorable books have chronicled and reflected the restlessness of American life. In a Tuesday, June 29 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program, historian and author Clay Jenkinson surveys the themes and structures of the literature of the road and examines passages from several road classics. He's familiar with wanderlust: Jenkinsnon has traveled the Lewis and Clark Trail by plane, canoe, and automobile, and twice hiked the length of the Little Missouri River between Devils Tower and central North Dakota.

If your own restlessness is ready for an outlet, get some pro tips on how to start traveling again in a Wednesday, July 28 program. Andrea Sachs, the Washington Post's travel writer; Pauline Frommer, co-president of Frommer Media and editorial director of Frommer's Guidebooks; and Karin King of the U.S. Department of State offer a field guide for today's new and sometimes-confounding landscape. They cover an array of topics including pandemic-era travel trends, travel insurance, and vaccination passports. The experts also help you avoid COVID-related scams and share the best resources for staying safe, healthy, and well-informed so you can relax on your long-overdue trip.

And if you dream of hitting the highways, don't bypass Travel + Leisure's report on Scenic America's 49 new additions to its America's Byways collection: 34 National Scenic Byways and 15 All-American Roads. The designations range from California's Historic Route 66 Needles to Barstow Scenic Byway to Louisiana's Boom or Bust Byway to Maryland's Chesapeake Country Byway. Who knows what terrific road stories you'll be able to tell once you return home?

Road Books: Unforgettable Journeys

How To Start Traveling Again

Stories in Fabric and Words

By Lauren Kingsland

Sometimes art can be as eloquent as words. Inspired by the 6-Word Memoir project, learn to capture quick images of personal stories in quilted wall-hangings during a Saturday, May 1 Smithsonian Associates Streaming studio arts workshop led by fabric artist Lauren Kingsland. Before the session, students select an anecdote from their life to portray in their work and prepare their ideas by writing several short word stories about it. Under Kingsland's guidance, they use variety of techniques and materials to complete the decorative hanging during the afternoon workshop.

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art's popular Writing Salon, in a three-part Smithsonian Associates Streaming series that explores essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts.

Each session spotlights a diverse range of visual art chosen to spark writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. The weekly series begins on Tuesday, May 11.

Flash Quilt Stories

Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Epic Odysseys

Congressman Peter F. Mack, Jr. with the Friendship Flame (Photo: Mack family)

NASA's Ingenuity, a small robotic helicopter, took its initial flight over Mars on April 19, making history as the first powered aircraft from Earth to fly on another planet. The success of the complicated technical achievement signals the potential to open an entirely new world of above-the-surface planetary exploration.

The dazzle of Ingenuity's mission has its roots in a wider history of flight, one in which a small airplane and its pilot could make a different kind of extraordinary journey. In 1951, Peter F. Mack Jr., a 34-year-old U.S. congressman from rural Illinois, borrowed a single-engine airplane from the Smithsonian, rechristened it the Friendship Flame, and flew it around the world on a self-funded, self-directed goodwill mission and became the first person to fly across the Pacific Ocean alone. In a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Tuesday, June 15, aviation historian Paul Glenshaw offers a fascinating snapshot of a troubled globe in the aftermath of World War II and the start of the Cold War as he uses original images, film, news reports, and audio recordings made during Mack's epic odyssey to tell his remarkable story.

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Parks in Person

Great Falls, Virginia at sunrise

If you prefer your adventures on a more local scale, Smithsonian Associates is ready to welcome you to in-person explorations of some of the Washington area's most stunning landscapes. Located just 15 miles outside the capital, the Great Falls of the Potomac is the most magnificent natural landmark in the metropolitan area. Rise early on a crisp spring morning, avoid the crowds, and enjoy a socially distanced and masked small-group experience in the great outdoors with naturalist Keith Tomlinson. The sunrise hikes are offered on May 5 and 20.

On July 9, 14, and 16, follow the verdant wooded trails of Rock Creek Park with naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, DC. She surveys the botanically diverse native trees of Rock Creek Park's floodplain forest and upland woods and covers the history of the city's woodland gem, the oldest urban national park in the country. Choukas-Bradley also presents a virtual exploration of Rock Creek in a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Wednesday, July 7.

Sunrise Hike at Great Falls

Rock Creek Park: Nature and History Walk

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