Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

History-artistic, athletic, and medical-is the theme that connects several of this week's items. And there's an opportunity to get expert insights on some judicial history in the making.

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.

The First Monday in October

Each fall, the Supreme Court's justices begin to hear and deliberate the country's most important-and often most controversial-legal cases. Another sign of the season is Smithsonian Associates' annual overview of the upcoming term. Get in on the conversation on Thursday, September 10, as a panel of legal experts on the Supreme Court preview and debate critical issues raised in some of the cases the court will take up. Participants include Jeffrey Wall, principal deputy solicitor general of the United States; Joan Biskupic, CNN legal analyst; Elaine J. Goldenberg, partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson; and Roman Martinez, partner and member of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate Practice at Latham & Watkins. Kannon Shanmugam, chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group and managing partner at Paul Weiss, serves as moderator.

Register for the Program

Reflections of Raphael

A monumental spring exhibition at Rome's Scuderie del Quirinale was planned to be a major jewel in the worldwide commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael. But just three days after its early-March opening, the much-anticipated show (for which 70,000 tickets had already been sold) was forced to close. But in a development almost as miraculous as one captured in a Raphael painting, the Scuderie del Quirinale reopened in June, to the delight of art lovers. Though the just-closed exhibition is now art world history, you can take in the treasures in a 12-minute video walk through its galleries. It may whet your appetite for a November Smithsonian Associates Streaming seminar on a quartet of Italian Renaissance masters, in which Raphael plays a prominent role.

View the Raffaello 1520-1483 Walk-Through

Register for Italian Renaissance Masters Seminar

The Athletes Who Defied the "Master Race"

The Nazis embraced the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a chance to demonstrate their theory of the dominance of a "master race." Both Jewish and Black athletes were motivated to shatter that myth. When the games came to an end, African American athletes claimed a quarter of America's medals. Though they had brought glory to their country, they returned home to a segregated nation, and many soon felt their sacrifice was forgotten. View a recent program in which Damion Thomas, sports curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Museum and historian Edna Friedberg of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum examine the games that influenced both sports and political history.

Watch Their Discussion on Facebook

The Meaning of a Mask

The coronavirus pandemic remains an evolving front-page issue, but one aspect of it already has a long history: face masks. They've played a role in the 1918 pandemic, as well as in earlier health crises. Alexandra Lord, chair of the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History (one of three Smithsonian museums that has been collecting artifacts related to the pandemic since it began), was featured on a recent "PBS NewsHour" report that provided a cultural examination of face masks during disease outbreaks. Take a look, and perhaps you'll gain a new insight into everyone's must-have accessory of the moment.

View PBS NewsHour's Report

Encore! Encore!

The joy of attending live performances is among the most-missed experiences these days. Cultural organizations all over the world are finding ways to offer some of the spirit of those events online. The National Symphony Orchestra has introduced a bi-weekly series of NSO/Noseda Fridays, a digital series of free full-orchestra broadcast performances hosted by NSO music director Gianandrea Noseda. Upcoming concert themes include "American Portraits" and "Journey to Space," with previous performances available for viewing for 30 days after their original streaming. Live concerts, though, are inching toward a return. This summer in Morristown, New Jersey, every concertgoer for the Lot of Strings Festival had a private box-literally. Socially distanced squares marked audience-seating areas in the parking lot of the Morris Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate that hosted the outdoor concert series. Two New York Times critics who attended shared notes about "how an everyday experience had become something precious."

Enjoy the NSO From Home

Read the Times Critic's Notes