This is the time of year when we find ourselves thinking about connections between the present and the past. The Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli finds fresh ways to revive and share the traditions of her culinary-centric family. And the Smithsonian and USA Today team up to entertainingly explore how today's technology, pop culture, and defining moments have often-surprising links to the decades of the 1950s through 70s.
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.
If you recall your first transistor radio, Telstar, the wood-paneled Ford Country Squire station wagon, and lunchboxes emblazoned with satellites, you might think these symbols of the 1950s and '60s have long been stuffed away in America's collective memory. In fact, all of them-and many other inventions, artifacts, and products of the era-have evolved into some of today's most ubiquitous devices. A collaboration between the Smithsonian Learning Lab and USA Today produced a collection of lively "visual time capsules" titled Yesterday, Today that appeared as a special insert to a late-October issue of the newspaper. Designed for audiences who are nostalgic about the '50s, '60s, and '70s and who continue to remain curious about the consequences of the events and innovations of those decades, the publication presents stories, puzzles, activities, and hours of immersive engagement. The time capsules highlight both iconic and lesser-known objects, unexpected milestones and connections, and profiles of individuals found within the Smithsonian's collections. There's also a speculative look at how our present era might be recalled in the future-though it's unlikely that one time-capsule item, a box of Millennios Cheerios from 1999, will top anyone's list of fond memories.
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Cooking with Family Connections
Growing up with a cookbook-editor mother and a food-obsessed father, Alex Guarnaschelli has always loved to cook. Now with a daughter of her own, food and cooking mean even more to the Food Network star: They're a way for her to share memories, such as shopping in Little Italy with her father and tasting the recipes her mother would make from the cookbooks of the iconic authors she worked with. Join Guarnaschelli in a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Tuesday, December 8, as she talks about the stories behind the food in her new book, Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook. She discusses how the recipes, traditions, and insights captured in the volume reflect generations of collective experience and the power that food has to bring people-especially families-together.
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Gaudy Nights and Criminal Endeavors
If your quarantine reading and viewing list has a British accent, there's probably a stylish mystery set in Oxford among the titles. Dorothy L. Sayers, Michael Dibdin, Lady Antonia Fraser, and Colin Dexter, among other writers, have drawn inspiration from the city's ancient colleges and venerable traditions. And the lush scenery and majestic quads have served as the backdrop for some of British television's most beloved dramas including "Endeavour," "Lewis," and of course, "Inspector Morse." Smithsonian Associates Streaming serves up the perfect diversion for a winter's night on Thursday, February 11 as author Daniel Stashower leads a virtual tour of Oxford and its byways and actor Scott Sedar reads from classic novels. Settle in with a spot of tea (hold the arsenic) for an evening of shuttered rooms, cryptic clues, and dodgy detectives.
There's still a 171-year-old cold case that even the most intrepid real or fictional sleuth hasn't cracked: What caused the death of Edgar Allan Poe, the man who invented the detective genre? Since 1849 the suspicions have swirled: among them flu, brain tumor, alcohol, a beating, and in a scenario that feels eerily of-the-moment, a convoluted scheme of voter fraud that turned deadly (Poe was found delirious in a Baltimore public house on election day). Smithsonian magazine reviews the theories. What might Inspector Morse have to say?
Read the Smithsonian Magazine Article
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Beyond Giving Tuesday
Though yesterday was a significant one on the calendar of nonprofits everywhere, the philanthropic spirit of Giving Tuesday plays an essential role in the year-round work of Smithsonian Associates. And now in 2020, that has taken on a new sense of immediacy and significance. We've met the challenges of these difficult months by developing at-home learning initiatives for young people based on the rich resources of the Smithsonian; nurtured a growing national presence with Smithsonian Associates Streaming programming; and shaped new ways of communicating and connecting with our members and audiences (you're reading one now). The success of these-and additional innovative projects for 2021-are grounded in the generosity of donors at every level of support. Unlike the museums on the National Mall, Smithsonian Associates receives no federal funding, nor do we have an endowment on which to draw. That's why we're asking you to consider a tax-deductible year-end gift in any amount to guarantee that our important educational programs continue and expand. Giving Tuesday may be over-but you can help fulfill its promise on any day of the week.
Race, Community, and Our Shared Future
How can Americans come together to examine some of the most vital issues that connect-and often separate us-as a nation today? The Smithsonian'sâ€¯new initiative Race, Community and Our Shared Future will explore how we currently understand, experience, and confront race; its impact on communities; and how that impact is shaping the nation's future. Supported by Bank of America, the initiative draws on the resources of the Smithsonian's museums to provide expertise and historical context for this national conversation-in which all Americans are invited to participate-that seeks to inspire action toward building a more inclusive, sustainable future.
Two free online panels serve as a prelude to the initiative's official launch in 2021. The first on Wednesday, December 9 focuses on women, wellness, and the arts, and features Joy Harjo, poet laureate of the United States, Marta Moreno Vega, founder and former president and CEO of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York City, and Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
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