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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Biography & Autobiography Programs

Course
Monday, April 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Memorable autobiographies are powerful evocations not just of a person, but a time and place, vividly transporting us inside the world of another to experience it as they did. In a 3-session series, documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at a remarkable life recounted by Robert Graves in this session.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

After enduring for so long, what made the Romanov dynasty vulnerable to come tumbling down a little more than a hundred years ago? Historian George Munro examines the policies of the rulers most responsible for the dynasty’s success in its first two centuries, the rise of Russia to an empire among the world’s first-rank powers, and the slow erosion of leadership that ultimately led to the tragic end of the Romanovs.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. E.T.

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month’s Year of the Woman with a look into the creative life of one of the style’s greatest singers, D.C.’s own Shirley Horn. Join Jessica Boykin-Settles, a voice faculty member at Howard University, as she looks at Horn’s route to fame, her jazz-world influences and collaborators, and the talent that defined this one-of-a-kind vocal icon.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

How did the name of a Continental Army general become a synonym for treason? Historian Richard Bell reconstructs the life and times of Benedict Arnold, the reasons he turned on his country, and the larger problems of betrayal and desertion that dogged George Washington’s army.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. ET

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the emerging profession of architecture in America was very much a man’s world—but talented and tenacious women created doorways into it. Lecturer Bill Keene examines the notable careers of three of those pioneers and their importance in the development of the field.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec reveled in the circuses, dance halls, nightclubs, and brothels of fin de siècle Montmartre, his beloved bohemian world that inspired works marked by energy and sensuality, as well as candor and compassion. Art historian Joseph Cassar illuminates the artist's creative life in the colorful social and cultural milieu of Paris in the Belle Epoque. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit).

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Learn how 19th-century Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s conversations about the arts, science, politics, and exploration with figures such as President Thomas Jefferson and artist Charles Willson Peale had a lasting influence on American art, culture, and understanding of the natural world.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Space historian and television host Amy Shira Teitel tells the fascinating story of two women pilots who spent years as adversaries in search of the same goal: creating a place for women in the male-dominated arena of aviation and space flight.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

His role as Union Army quartermaster general is well known, but Montgomery Meigs was also an engineer, architect, inventor, and patron of the arts who left an indelible impression on the face of the capital city. Historian Bill Keene offers a virtual tour of sites in the Washington area associated with Meigs in his role of engineer and architect.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

At the height of the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy saw outer space exploration as a race for survival—and America was losing to the Soviet Union. Author Jeff Shesol examines why John Glenn’s February 1962 mission into space had greater goals than circling the planet: It was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief.