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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This week's edition takes a look at topics both timely (crafting a presidential ticket and confronting a pandemic) and timeless (tending a seasonal garden and getting lost in a beloved fantasy story). We hope you take time to enjoy them.

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 Making of a Running Mate

Over the years, presidential nominees' choices of a running mate have reflected everything from an afterthought to a carefully calculated balancing act. While the duties of the vice president are spelled out in the Constitution, how that person is selected and deployed in the campaign and in office seems to change with every election. Join historian Ralph Nurnberger for an October 28 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program that looks at the official aspects of the position and explores the importance of the vice-presidential nominee to the overall election. He discusses how the shifting criteria used to make the decision for the number-two slot has changed the course of history, was well as the strategic considerations in selecting the person who is only a breath away from stepping into the Oval Office.

Register for the Program

Gardening Tools

Fall gardens have a unique beauty-and some specific needs to keep them thriving and prepared for cold weather. Join horticulturists from Smithsonian Gardens for the latest weekly series of free Let's Talk Gardens lunchtime webinars. Upcoming Thursday topics include winter care tips from a tropical plant specialist; advice on sharpening your tree and shrub pruning skills; choosing plants for a garden with year-round interest; and winning the war on weeds. If you're more of an indoor gardener, don't miss a Smithsonian Associates Streaming studio arts workshop on December 6 in which an orchid expert teaches you to make an elegant holiday centerpiece that will have those overused poinsettias green with envy.

Orchids for the Holidays

Let's Talk Gardens

Fauci and Alda: On Replay

If you weren't among the more than 2,000 people who viewed a September 23 Smithsonian Associates Streaming conversation between Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and actor Alan Alda, host of the Clear+Vivid podcast and co-founder of the Center for Communicating Science, you missed a thoughtful and lively meeting of the minds. But don't worry: Clear+Vivid has made an audio recording of the event-which garnered national coverage from outlets including CNN and Forbes-available for listening. Both had plenty to say about how the coronavirus has affected our lives, how we are-and aren't-meeting it, and what the future might hold.

Listen to the Podcast

Collector's Items

How did Chuck Berry's red 1970 Cadillac Eldorado find a permanent parking spot at the National Museum of African American History and Culture? Like each of the more than 156 million objects in the Smithsonian's collections, there's a story behind that. Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III recounts it in an article for the newest issue of Smithsonian magazine (non-spoiler: it wasn't the item of Berry memorabilia he originally wanted). In it, he also reflects on how museums approach acquisitions and what he sees as the essentials of good collecting: "flexibility, community partnership, and a healthy dose of serendipity."

Read the Smithsonian Magazine Article

Wonderland Reimagined

Falling into a digital rabbit hole is usually something to avoid, but London's Victoria and Albert Museum offers a chance to tumble into one that you won't want to miss. Curious Alice invites audiences to embark on a mind-bending trip into Wonderland through the playful dimension of virtual reality. The new VR experience is the result of an innovative partnership between the V&A and HTC Vive Arts and features original artworks by Icelandic illustrator Kristjana S. Williams. It presents a fully immersive, interactive re-imagining of Wonderland, celebrating one of the most iconic and inspiring stories of all time. It's the subject of the V&A's major 2021 exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, which charts the evolution of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from manuscript to a beloved global phenomenon. A free live 45-minute preview takes place on Thursday, October 22 at 9 a.m. Eastern time, and can be enjoyed with or without a VR headset. You can step into an equally magical world in a video visit to Williams' studio for a look at how she transformed Victorian engravings into an eye-popping modern landscape that Lewis Carroll would have loved.

Register for the Preview

View the Artwork