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Courses

Lecture/Seminar

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Eden Project

Sunday, February 5, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Eden Project.


Course

Jamestown: The First 100 Years

Monday, February 6, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

While the early days of Jamestown were marred with struggle, conflict, and tragedy, the settlement would survive as the first permanent English colony in North America, from which the seeds of the United States grew. Unearth the tumultuous first century of Jamestown with Mark Summers, the public historian for the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project, in this lecture series. This session focuses on events between 1622 to 1646, including an uprising by the Powhatans.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for five online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Alma Thomas’ colorful compositions, including Pansies in Washington.


Lecture/Seminar

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Singapore Botanic Garden and Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Sunday, February 12, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights the Singapore Botanic Garden and Norfolk Botanical Gardens.


Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, February 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this winter lunchtime program, Lay's guest is Rosemary Harden, senior curator and Fashion Museum Bath manager, who surveys the past, present, and future of this museum.


Course

Jamestown: The First 100 Years

Monday, February 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

While the early days of Jamestown were marred with struggle, conflict, and tragedy, the settlement would survive as the first permanent English colony in North America, from which the seeds of the United States grew. Unearth the tumultuous first century of Jamestown with Mark Summers, the public historian for the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project, in this lecture series. This session focuses on events between 1675 to 1699, including Bacon's Rebellion.


Course

Evocative Concert Music from Europe’s Northern Countries

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Geography, geology, wind and weather, legend and language: all play a role in shaping the artistic vocabulary of national identity, and none more so than the countries situated around the wild oceans of the Baltic, North, and Norwegian seas. Popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin draws on unique live piano demonstrations and fascinating film clips to explore both well- and lesser-known masterpieces by composers from this region.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Samarra and the Abbasid Caliphate.


Lecture/Seminar

Botanical Gardens World Tour: Temple Gardens of Kyoto, Japan

Sunday, February 19, 2023 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Indulge in a colorful midwinter escape as horticultural experts lead a series of virtual visits that highlight the beauty of notable botanical gardens. This program spotlights the Temple Gardens of Kyoto, Japan.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Angor Wat.


Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, February 27, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this winter lunchtime program, Lay's guest is textile historian Natalie F. Larson, who uses primary sources to look at the variety of sleeping arrangements from slave dwellings and Indigenous populations to the homes of middle-class and upwardly aspiring Virginians.


Course

Understanding Contemporary Art: From Pop to Pluralism

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The work of American artists today explores an enormous range of materials, techniques, and styles—a  pluralistic experimentation that encompasses forms from conceptual and super-realist art to environmental and performance art. Art historian Nancy G. Heller surveys the roots and later influences of radical American art from the last five decades. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


Course

Exploring Ancient Anatolia: A Turkish Odyssey

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Anatolia’s colorful history has left a windfall of riches—ancient ruins, ornate Byzantine churches, supremely elegant mosques, and splendid Ottoman palaces. In an illustrated series, Serif Yenen, a Turkish-born tour guide and author, highlights the heritage and splendor of ancient Turkey through an examination of some of its cultural gems.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Philippine Rice Terraces of Ifugao.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.


Course

What Does It Mean To Live a Good Life?

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Explore how some of the greatest philosophers have approached one of the central questions of the Western tradition—how to define and lead a good life—and how the question lives on today. Philosophy professor Michael Gorman examines the precepts of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, as well as the viewpoints of more modern thinkers in an insightful 4-session series.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Sacred Sites of Tibet.


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Matisse at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 9, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Henri Matisse artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, March 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay as she hosts an image-rich series on decorative arts and design topics with guests. In this winter lunchtime program, Lay's guest is textile conservationist Julia M. Brennan, who has built cultural bridges to preserve textile heritage.


Course

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The 1,154 UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout the world provide fascinating glimpses into the evolution of complex civilizations, empires, and religions. In a lavishly illustrated series, historian Justin M. Jacobs offers an in-depth overview of Brasilia, the Utopian Capital of Brazil.


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Renoir at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Pierre-August Renoir artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

A Celebration of French Music

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

In many ways, the history of French music is also the history of Western music. But what makes French music French? In a 4-part series, lecturer and concert pianist Rachel Franklin combines presentations and piano demonstrations to explore the social, political, religious, and cultural influences that shaped the output of France’s great composers and presents a selection of the greatest works in the literature.


Course

The History of Western Architecture

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Architectural movements and styles mark distinct moments in history. By examining four periods in Western architecture, Rocky Ruggiero, an architectural historian and expert in Renaissance art, traces the development of styles, traditions, trends, and forms beginning in the ancient world and continuing through to the present day. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Masterworks by Cézanne at the Barnes Foundation

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Drawing on the riches of one of the greatest post-impressionist and early modern art collections in the world and remarkable high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a series of live virtual tours that closely examine the paintings and lives of 3 artists who helped shape a truly revolutionary period in the history of art. This session focuses on the gallery's collection of Paul Cézanne artworks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Avignon and the Vrai Provence.


Course

Shedding Light on Plato's Republic

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

For many people, tackling The Republic feels daunting. That’s why Georgetown professor Joseph Hartman is offering this illuminating four-session book discussion. Highlighted are some of the central themes, questions as relevant today as they were in 4th-century Athens.


Course

Art and Fiction

Friday, April 7, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

A picture is not only worth a thousand words: It can sometimes inspire a whole invented world. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the art and artists behind three works of historical fiction. Gain new perspectives on Renaissance portraiture; Dutch still lifes, genre painting, and a cabinet house; and the Frick Collection in New York City by delving into the novels, followed by Applegate’s examination of the factual background along with the fiction. This is a “novel” way to explore the arts.


Course

Introduction to American Art

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

From the glorious vistas of American landscape painting to the bold splashes and strokes of Abstract Expressionism, American artists have captured the nation’s enormous energy and tumultuous growth. Art historian Bonita Billman introduces major artists and movements in American painting from the late 18th century to the present, revealing the connections between historical changes and artistic choices. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


Program

Smithsonian Chorus: Legends of Song

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Looking for a choral program that celebrates memorable music across the decades? This is the one for you. Join fellow music lovers to sing timeless classics from the 1920s and ’30s all the way to ’70s and ’80s hits under the direction of choral conductor and music educator Ernest Johnson. The experience is designed to entertain, challenge, and educate adult singers of all skill levels—and you can take a bow at the performance that concludes the program.


Course

Artists and Friends in the World of Manet: Cézanne and Pissarro, van Gogh and Lautrec

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Before Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne created their celebrated works in Provence, these outsiders had profound experiences and friendships in Paris that would alter their artistic paths. In a 3-session course, popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw examines two such relationships: Cézanne’s friendship with Camille Pissarro and van Gogh’s with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the vibrant avant-garde art scene pioneered by Édouard Manet. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

The Uffizi Gallery: An Unrivaled Collection

Friday, April 14, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Uffizi Gallery has long been regarded as one of the most important museum collections in the world, boasting some of the greatest masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo leads a lively two-part virtual walk through the Uffizi as she discusses its history, architecture, Medici connections, and an in-depth examination of the best of the remarkable painting collection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Vanessa Bell’s A Conversation.


Course

Celebrating Brahms: The Man, His Music, and His Legacy

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

With his soaring melodies, rich harmonies, and rhythmic vigor, Johannes Brahms is among the immortals, his name linked with Bach’s and Beethoven’s as one of the “Three B’s” of classical music. Opera and classical music expert Saul Lilienstein examines the breadth of Brahms’ extraordinary career, from his teenage years playing piano in the brothels of Hamburg to his sweeping triumphs in Vienna and international recognition as the greatest living symphonist.


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Irving Berlin.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Cecilia Beaux’s Sita and Sarita.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Canaletto’s Entrance to the Grand Canal from the Molo, Venice.


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Johnny Mercer.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights Côte d’Azur.


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Burt Bachrach.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring in the South of France: A Virtual Tour of the Region’s History, Culture, and Sights

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

With its lavender-laced valleys, seashores, medieval hill towns, and lively cities, the south of France is downright seductive. Travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy offers a 4-part virtual tour of Provence and the Côte d’Azur and a guide to the regions’ most intriguing sights, historical aspects, food and wine, and art. This session highlights some of the South of France’s lesser-known charms.


Course

Understanding Modern Art

Friday, June 9, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The radical innovations made by European and American painters and sculptors between 1900 and 1960 forever altered the way we think about visual art. In a richly illustrated course, art historian Nancy G. Heller discusses major works by the period’s seminal painters and sculptors, emphasizing their broader socio-political and aesthetic contexts. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)