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Smithsonian Associates Digital Digest

We're marching into spring with a Digital Digest edition that takes a look at women from a variety of periods and worlds, as well as an out-of-this world celestial body that takes its name from one of Roman mythology's most famous females.

As always, this lively monthly collection is 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.

More Than Just a Month

We've arrived in the middle of Women's History Month, a theme that's been spotlighted in several recent Smithsonian Associates online programs. There are more to come in March—and beyond.

A 1909 photo featuring Alice Longworth Roosevelt, a spirited president's daughter who was an influencer long before the term was coined, offers the master storyteller of our Art+History series Paul Glenshaw a chance to dive into a singular moment that mixes politics, celebrity, electric autos, the Wright Brothers—and an early version of tailgating (Thursday, March 23). Documentary filmmaker Sara Lukinson celebrates the career of Barbra Streisand, because as she first reminded us nearly 60 years ago in Funny Girl, she is the greatest star. (Tuesday, March 28).

Diane Seave Greenwald, assistant curator of the collection at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, offers a multifaceted portrait of a trailblazing patron who used her varied collection to create a museum unprecedented in its curatorial vision. (Tuesday, April 25). And art historian Nancy G. Heller unwraps the collaborations of Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon and Christo Javacheff, which generated extraordinary works of ephemeral public art that live long in memory (Wednesday, May 24).

The Crowning Touch

Pomp and circumstance are words that naturally come to mind in thinking about the upcoming coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla. Pop, rock ‘n' roll, and funk? Maybe not so much. But when Charles and Camilla released their playlist on the official coronation website—who knew coronation celebrations could have a playlist?—it included tunes from such artists as Michael Bublé ("It's a Beautiful Day"), Queen ("We Are the Champions"), the Beatles ("Come Together"), and Boney M. ("Daddy Cool").

The coronation itself will have more traditional music. Everything about the ceremony is traditional, in fact, with some protocols dating back to the 11th century. Learn more about ceremonies that shape the British monarchy on Saturday, April 22 in a program titled From Coronation to Committal in which Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the history and significance of a variety of royal rituals. She talks about the use of Westminster Abbey as the setting for coronations since 1066, analyzes the essential parts of the ceremony and what they mean in a time of constitutional monarchy, and highlights memorable moments from previous coronations.

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Listen to the Playlist on Spotify

Coming Attractions

Does the world of movies still linger in your mind after Sunday's Oscarfest? On Wednesday, May 3, media expert Brian Rose looks at the fascinating history of movie theaters, examines how the experience of moviegoing has changed over the decades, and considers whether theaters will survive in the age of streaming services. Join film historian Max Alvarez for a double feature of programs on Wednesday, May 17 and 24 as he pays tribute to the blues musicians and singers who had a tremendous impact with their appearances in commercial films from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. It's a period in which these artists easily stole any musical comedy, show business biopic, or edgy melodrama in which they had fleeting cameos.

The Grandest Tour

The recent conjunction of Venus and Jupiter had the world's eyes on the skies. View some of the stunning images it produced on NASA's Facebook page Sky, and the EarthSky website.

Wish you could have a guided tour of the solar system? In a Smithsonian Associates series presented in partnership with George Mason Observatory, professional astronomers present the latest research on a fascinating range of solar-system bodies. As part of each program, Peter Plavchan, a GMU professor of physics and astronomy, brings that night's sky right into your living room by remote control of the university's observatory. The interplanetary itinerary currently includes the Sun (Tuesday, April 18), Mercury (Tuesday, May 9), and Venus (Tuesday, May 30).

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One Life: Maya Lin

I feel I exist on the boundaries, somewhere between science and art, art and architecture, public and private, East and West. I am always trying to find a balance between these opposing forces, the place where opposites meet.—Maya Ying Lin

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's One Life: Maya Lin is the first biographical exhibition dedicated to the architect, sculptor, and environmentalist. Born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1959, Lin grew up amid the streams, woods, sandstone cliffs, carpets of moss, and wildlife of rural Ohio. "Looking back, I realize I led a very insulated and isolated childhood," she recalls. Her mother and father were professors, and she credits them with cultivating her creativity and intellectual curiosity. For Lin, "Each project becomes a way for me to learn about a new field, whether it is aerospace engineering, the study of light, or the history of civil rights."

In 1981, after her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was selected from 1,421 entries, Lin was unwittingly thrust into the limelight. Four decades later, she is still one of the most influential artists and architects of our time. Best known for her large-scale, site-specific installations, architectural works, and memorials, Lin also creates intimate studio artworks. The common thread, she notes, is "the love and respect I have for the natural world."

Take advantage of the opportunity to view this wide-ranging exhibition before it closes on April 16.

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