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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Daytime Programs

Lecture/Seminar

Bridges of Light and Time: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing inspired by art guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Join her and step into the colors, light, and forms of Claude Monet’s exquisite The Japanese Footbridge to explore the bridge as a metaphor for the thresholds and journeys of our lives.

Lecture/Seminar

How To Be a Conscious Eater

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Bewildered by navigating a food world full of fads, conflicting news, and marketing hype? You can still make smart, thoughtful choices amid the chaos. Sophie Egan, an expert on food’s impact on human and environmental health, offers a practical guide to everyday eating that’s good for you, good for others, and good for the planet.

Lecture/Seminar

The Medici Villas: Tuscan Inspiration

Friday, September 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Used variously for pleasure and sports, scholarly pursuits, commercial enterprise, botanical experimentation, and amorous liaisons, the villas of the Medici family both expressed and influenced contemporary ideas on politics, philosophy, art, and design. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores several of the Medici’s public interests and private passions—and the architects they employed to create the luxurious backdrops for them. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Art and Kingship in Southeast Asia

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art historian Robert DeCaroli examines the cultural and artistic traditions of ancient Southeast Asia from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism, with a particular focus on the royal arts of the great civilizations that arose within the borders of modern Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Course

Art and Fiction: When Words and Art Commune

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In this summer series, discover a “novel” way to explore the arts. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the artists—Leonardo da Vinci, Judith Leyster, and Camille Pissarro—and paintings that inspired three works of art-focused historical fiction. This session discusses Alice Hoffman's The Marriage of Opposites. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Nikola Tesla: An Inventor Re-invents Military Technology

Friday, September 9, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In the 21st century, the life and accomplishments of inventor, engineer, and futurist Nikola Tesla have risen from almost total obscurity to topics of fresh interest. Author Marc J. Seifer, one of the world’s leading Tesla experts, surveys his most significant discoveries that continue to influence today's military technology and diplomatic strategies.

Lecture/Seminar

Rockin' TV: From Elvis to the Monkees

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Though rock music found a surprising home on mainstream TV in the mid-1950s, the 1964 appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” would change the face of pop culture, leading to an explosion of televised rock. Media expert Brian Rose offers a lively survey of the fascinating history of how rock and television grew up together.

Lecture/Seminar

Understanding Art: A Guide to the Basics

Friday, September 16, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

The visual arts enrich our lives in many ways, bringing us innovative ideas, the pleasure of beauty, and a range of emotions—while also puzzling us at times. Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton highlights the fundamentals shared by all the visual arts and provides a guide to honing essential visual literacy skills that enable us to understand concepts conveyed without words. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, September 19, 2022 - 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 fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is Diana Pardue, chief curator at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, who surveys the design evolution of Native American jewelry.

Lecture/Seminar

The Dome of the Rock

Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Dominating the skyline of Jerusalem for more than 1,300 years, the Dome of the Rock is both a sacred Islamic shrine and an iconic symbol of the Holy City. What messages did the artists who built it enshrine here, and what does this World Heritage Site have to say to us today? Barbara Boehm, curator emerita of the Met Cloisters explores this remarkable place, including its history, mosaics, and inscriptions, and its enduring meaning. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 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 a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Glen John’s A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris.

Lecture/Seminar

Art, Architecture, and Ambition in Aragonese Naples

Friday, September 30, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The fall of Naples in 1442 not only brought Spanish rule, it transformed the city into a vital center of artistic production. Join Sophia D’Addio, a lecturer in art history at Columbia University, in an exploration of paintings, sculptures, medals, and architecture commissioned by the Aragonese rulers of Naples, most notably the commissions and collections of King Alfonso of Aragon. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 3, 2022 - 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 fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is decorative arts curator Amy McHugh, who traces how treasures from France’s Crown Jewels found their way into the wardrobes of America’s Gilded-Age heiresses.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 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 a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by January Steen’s The Dancing Couple.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "Night and Day" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."

Lecture/Seminar

Russia: Revolution and Civil War

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Between 1917 and 1921 a devastating struggle took place in Russia following the collapse of the Tsarist empire. Author Antony Beevor brings the conflict to life through the eyes of firsthand accounts, vivid and powerful personal stories that offer an epic view of the events that reshaped Eastern Europe and set the stage for the rest of the 20th century.

Tour

Arlington National Cemetery

Thursday, October 6, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Join Jim Carr, U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) and current president of the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. on a walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery's Section 1, the resting place of a diverse cross section of U.S. service members who served in wars and conflicts going back to the American Revolution.

Lecture/Seminar

The Judgement of Paris: The Origins of Impressionism

Friday, October 7, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Impressionism was born in the 1860s through a heated rivalry between painters Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier. The contest transcended artistic expression, encompassing competing viewpoints on the changes wrought by technology, politics, and personal freedom. Ross King, author of The Judgement of Paris, vividly explores the relationship between these artists as he evokes Parisian life during a decade of social and political ferment. (World Art History Certificate Program elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 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 a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Paul Cadmus’s Bar Italia.

Lecture/Seminar

Cezanne: The Father of Modern Art

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For Picasso, Paul Cezanne was simply “the father of us all.” Art historian Joseph Cassar examines key works that reflect how this pioneer of modernism pointed to future developments in art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Course

Supernatural Classics: Musical Magic, Ghouls, and Ghosts

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

From “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” to Don Giovanni to the “Mephisto Waltz,” classical composers have long delighted in taking audiences on deliciously spooky excursions into the musical realms of the supernatural. In the perfect overture to Halloween, lecturer and concert pianist Rachel Franklin leads a hair-raising tour of some of the best-loved classical music haunts, spotlighting works that offer encounters with spectral creatures, ghost ships, demonic valets, trolls, devils, and necromancers.

Tour

Monuments and Memory

Friday, October 14, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Join staff members of the new Capital Jewish Museum on a walking tour that explores the connection between Washington’s monuments and collective memory. Beginning at the museum, move through the heart of the historic downtown Jewish community to visit monuments and memorials connected to local and international Jewish history.

Course

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Monday, October 17, 2022 - 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 fall lunchtime program, Lay's guest is period jewelry specialist Sheila Smithie, who offers insights into the creation of stunning, classically inspired pieces from Europe’s fabled 19th-century Revival jewelers.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 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 a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Scherezade García’s Day Dreaming/Soñando despierta.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "As Time Goes By" and "These Foolish Things."

Lecture/Seminar

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In a career spanning 5 decades, film director Alfred Hitchcock made 54 films, including such classics as The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Notorious, Rear Window, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Psycho. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at Hitchcock’s achievements as the Master of Suspense and through dozens of film clips, examines his extraordinary creativity as one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers.

Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 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 a series of five online workshops that explore essential elements of writing and styles through close looking, word-sketching, and imaginative response to prompts. This writing session is inspired by Emma Amos’s Winning.

Course

Medieval History Through Artists’ Eyes

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Dazzling early Christian mosaics, sumptuous Carolingian illuminated manuscripts, sculpted Romanesque church facades, and soaring Gothic cathedrals give artistic expression to an astonishing variety of beliefs and practices linked by a vision of leading the human spirit toward eternal life. Art historian Judy Scott Feldman examines the art of the thousand-year period between classical antiquity and the Renaissance and its relationship to a diverse society infused with faith and spirituality. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Home Is Where the Art Is: Connecting Creativity and Place

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. ET

Did the houses, gardens, and locations where Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, Philip Johnson, and other leading creators lived directly influence their work? Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton surveys the private residences—and private lives—of painters, sculptors, and architects to explore this artistic connection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Dining on the Rails: A Moveable Feast

Friday, October 28, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Hungry railroad passengers prior to the Civil War had meager choices for meals. But once George Pullman’s dining cars came on the scene in the late 19th century, a bountiful new era of service began that often rivaled fine restaurants and hotel dining rooms. Railroad historian Joe Nevin traces the colorful evolution of dining on the rails between the beginning of commercial service in 1830 and the advent of Amtrak using examples from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, an Eastern pioneer of onboard services.

Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades we’ve danced, romanced, and dreamed to songs like “As Time Goes By,” “Night and Day,” and other enduring gems. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces how some of our favorite songs came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something brand new, yet still the same. This session spotlights the following songs: "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Mack the Knife."

Lecture/Seminar

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, his seminal assessment of both the American experiment and the future of democracy after a visit to this country in 1831. Georgetown professor and political theorist Joseph Hartman considers the way in which Tocqueville thought through democracy and its problems and what Tocqueville means for us today.

Lecture/Seminar

From Streaming TV to the Oscars: How Netflix Disrupted the Entertainment Industry

Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From its start as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix has systematically changed the rules of the media business. Media expert Brian Rose explores how Netflix is primed to become the dominant source of leisure time entertainment throughout the world.

Lecture/Seminar

The Search for Life Beyond Earth

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The race to remotely detect the first sign of alien life is gaining speed as technology starts to catch up to humanity’s imagination. Yet what evidence of “life”’ are we looking for? Louisa Preston of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at University College London explores the question through the study of terrestrial biology and geology and considers predictions as to what extraterrestrial life might be like and how it might be found.

Lecture/Seminar

Gloriana: Elizabeth I and the Art of Queenship

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Art and fashion were strategic propaganda devices that reinforced the magnificence—and power—of Elizabeth I as a virgin goddess. Lecturer Siobhan Clarke surveys the cult of Gloriana and the glittering jewels, opulent gowns, and royal portraits that shaped the image of England’s queen in her own time and throughout history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)