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

Daytime Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 4, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Victorian era was a time of calling cards and letters of introduction; croquet and garden parties; and afternoon teas and fancy-dress balls. But the dinner party established the era’s reputation for elaborate excess. Food historian Francine Segan provides a glimpse into the very specific etiquette behind those affairs.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Inspired by depictions of winter in works of art and poetry, explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Explore the heart of Italy during the first millennium B.C. through a journey into the enigmatic world of the Etruscans. Art historian Renee Gondek assembles a portrait of daily life in this lesser-known civilization—whose writings have never been translated—by examining the distinctive visual style reflected in recovered art, artifacts, and structures. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 11, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The inexplicable force of nature that was Wolfgang Mozart seemed to live onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying, and gathering material for the fabric of his art. Biographer Jan Swafford examines how those dual lives converged in the creation of works that shaped classical music for all time.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 14, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Two dark-haired women—separated by more than 400 years—were behind America’s first blockbuster art show in 1963. One was Lisa Gherardin, better known as the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the other was the driving force behind the portrait’s journey to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jacqueline Kennedy. Biographer Margaret Leslie Davis recounts an art-world saga filled with international intrigue that triggered “Lisa Fever” and a national love affair with the arts.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon. Inspired by depictions of winter in works of art and poetry, explore the lessons that the season offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Generations of painters have been inspired to capture the moment—and intense spirituality—of Christ’s birth. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how the artistic evolution of the Nativity reflects developments in European art, from the earliest known image in a 2nd-century catacomb through 17th-century presentations of the Holy Family in dramatic Baroque style. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 18, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Caravaggio was a genius, a scoundrel, an outlaw, and a murderer. But above all, he was the greatest artist of his age, and remains one of the most influential and absorbing of all Italian painters. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo highlights his legacy. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 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, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on first person.

Course
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Some moments in movies never leave us: a snappy line of dialogue, a dance in the rain or by the Seine, a timeless love song, a great last line. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson revisits some of our favorite movies, setting them against the backdrop of their times, the people who dreamed them up, and the America they reflected—or asked us to imagine. This session focuses on Casablanca.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines Théodore Géricault’s epic painting that caused controversy when first exhibited in 1819 in Paris but has since become a milestone of the Romantic movement, laying bare human endurance and suffering in the extreme. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Join art historian Elaine Ruffolo, direct from her home in Tuscany, for a close look at the history, art, and culture of one of Italy’s most treasured cities, one on which artists including Donatello, Mantegna, Titian, and Giotto left their dazzling marks. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 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, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on memoir.

Course
Tuesday, January 12 to February 16, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Popular Smithsonian music lecturer Saul Lilienstein traces Bach’s artistic journeys as he explores the composer’s magnificent musical achievements. Lectures are highlighted by superb music recordings.

Tour
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In a richly illustrated program, lecturer Bill Keene delves into the backstory and lesser-known aspects of the life and career of one of the most famous of American architects. He traces his formative years in rural Wisconsin, the ups and downs of both his personal and professional life, and the influences that shaped a creative philosophy from which some of the 20th century’s most remarkable and innovative structures arose.

Course
Friday, January 15, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores how European immigrants helped shape midcentury modern American design and architecture.

Course
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 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, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on poetry.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 22, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Draped on three hills, Siena is the most beautiful city in Tuscany, a flamboyant medieval ensemble of palaces and towers cast in warm brown brick. From her home in Italy, art historian Elaine Ruffolo examines how art went hand in hand with fierce civic pride to make Siena a world of its own. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 - 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, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on perspective.

Tour
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

You’d likely be surprised that the nation’s capital is home to several significant sites connected to the beginnings of the airplane. Join Wright scholar Paul Glenshaw for an interactive virtual tour that visits locations across the Washington area to discover a story of large and small moments that helped launch flight as we know it today.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

According to religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the misunderstanding of scripture is perhaps the root cause of many of today’s controversies. She shines fresh light on the world’s major religions to examine how a creative and spiritual engagement with holy texts can build bridges between faiths.

Course
Friday, January 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores the genius of 20th century industrial designers.

Course
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 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, founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a series of workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This session focuses on impact.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From the early 15th century, the story of the Jewish population of Florence has encompassed vast wealth and prestige—and almost continual trial and tribulation. Art historian and Florentine tour guide Laura Greenblatt explores the history of their presence in the city over the course of six centuries.

Course
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Some moments in movies never leave us: a snappy line of dialogue, a dance in the rain or by the Seine, a timeless love song, a great last line. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson revisits some of our favorite movies, setting them against the backdrop of their times, the people who dreamed them up, and the America they reflected—or asked us to imagine. This session focuses on Some Like It Hot and Tootsie.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, February 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florence is replete with frescoes, paintings, sculpture, and architecture created in an era in which art was the cornerstone of cultural activity. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces the history of this jewel of a city from the dawn of the Renaissance to the era of the Medici dukes. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Monday, February 8, February 22, March 1, and March 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Spanning more than 1400 years, three continents, and a geography that encompasses a great diversity of peoples, languages, and ethnicities, Islamic art and civilization forms one of the great contributions to humanity. Art historian Ann Birkelbach surveys its wide-ranging heritage, from calligraphy to architecture, painting to magnificent crafts. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Food plays a key featured role in Francis Ford Coppola’s first entry in The Godfather trilogy. Italian-born Ermelinda M. Campani, examines the 1972 film’s intertwined perspectives on food and family, which encompass ethnic identity, personal honor, violence, and power.

Course
Friday, February 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Join curator Elizabeth Lay for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on fascinating decorative arts and design topics. In this session, she explores how the indomitable women of the first generation of fashion influencers helped define the idea of style for the nation.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, February 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Live from her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo follows the extraordinary career of Piero della Francesca, acknowledged as one of the foundational artists of the Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art historian Bonita Billman analyzes artist Edgar Degas’s contributions to French impressionist art and posterity, and looks at his role as an art collector of merit. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course
Monday, March 1 to Friday, March 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The British monarchy has outlasted most of its European counterparts, adapting to changing times and managing to maintain enough popularity to survive for more than a thousand years. Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger traces a path through the lives and times of the kings and queens who have ruled England, then Great Britain, and finally the United Kingdom to examine how the monarchy has endured from the days of King Arthur to today.

Course
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Some moments in movies never leave us: a snappy line of dialogue, a dance in the rain or by the Seine, a timeless love song, a great last line. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson revisits some of our favorite movies, setting them against the backdrop of their times, the people who dreamed them up, and the America they reflected—or asked us to imagine. This session focuses on musicals in film history during the 1940s and ’50s.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Over more than five decades, the pioneering French modernist Henri Matisse created work in a dazzlingly wide range of materials and styles. Art historian Nancy G. Heller explores how all of Matisse’s diverse output reflects a unified aesthetic philosophy and investigates why his work continues to fascinate today’s creative minds. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)