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American History Programs

Wild Bill's Secret Agents: The Birth of the OSS

Before the CIA there was the Office of Strategic Services, whose operations spawned some of the World War II’s boldest and most daring covert missions—as well as some of its unlikeliest agents. Career CIA officer Randy Burkett traces the fascinating history of the OSS, its strategies and players, and its postwar transition into the Central Intelligence Agency.

Date of event
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Gilded Age

In the years after the Civil War, captains of industry and robber barons were the Gilded Age’s masters of the universe. Art historian Bonita Billman examines the influence of their wealth on the period’s extravagant art, architecture, and interior design, and also explores the dramatic chasm that opened between the haves and the have-nots. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Amelia Earhart: Legend and Legacy

Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Air and Space Museum, separates fact from fiction as she examines the pioneering aviator’s accomplishments and her shortcomings, and why Earhart still challenges and inspires in the 21st century.

Date of event
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

A View from Inside: The CIA and FBI

The CIA and FBI are often portrayed as strained institutional colleagues, but what is it really like to work in these highly secretive agencies tasked with protecting our country? In a fascinating series, veterans of the CIA and FBI discuss their professional roles and how these closely guarded organizations operate.

Date of event
Wednesday, February 5 to 26, 2020 – 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

1774: The Long Year of Revolution

Colonial historian Mary Beth Norton examines the critical “long year” that encompassed the Boston Tea Party, the first Continental Congress, and two significant early battles in the War of Independence.

Date of event
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Constitution and Declaration of Independence: A Contrary View

Have we gotten the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution all wrong? Constitutional law professor Kermit Roosevelt challenges the conventional view that these hallowed documents established our core values and tell us who we are.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Worlds of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s many accomplishments as a statesman, scientist, writer, and more are well known. Historian Richard Bell addresses the man’s many other faces and capacity for complexity—which rendered him both ordinary and extraordinary.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Sears Houses of Arlington

Sold as prefabricated kits during the first half of the 20th century, affordable dwellings from Sears Roebuck and Company defined the character of countless American communities. Join historian Dakota Springston on a bus tour through historic Virginia neighborhoods to view the distinctive exteriors of Sears homes.

Date of event
Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Women in Wartime: Stories from Gettysburg

Thousands of disparate women were connected by their experiences amid the horrors of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. Author Chuck Raasch retells their often-overlooked stories of bravery and life-changing actions at the sites on which they unfolded at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Date of event
Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 8:30 a.m.

The Road to Nashville

If the new Ken Burns documentary Country Music has sparked your appetite to learn more about the form’s roots and influences, this special 5-day tour led by arts journalist Richard Selden offers the perfect way to do it. Packed with performances and music history—as well as art and architecture and terrific regional cuisine—this Southern journey to Music City USA is sure to be a top-of-the-charts experience.

Date of event
Depart: Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 8:00 a.m.
Return: Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 6:00 p.m.

Creativity in Dark Times: Artists and Writers of the New Deal

Author David Taylor looks at some of the artists and writers for whom the Federal Writers’ Project and the Federal Arts Project gave them a new purpose: recording American life. Their works—some of which remain controversial—provide a vivid portrait a nation struggling for recovery and identity during the Great Depression.

Date of event
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Forgotten No More: Rediscovering Remarkable Women

Women have been making strides in their fields that have often being overlooked, uncredited, or forgotten by time. Celebrate Women’s History Month by spending a fascinating day with four experts who bring to light an array of remarkable women who have lived in the shadows of history far too long.

Date of event
Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Sears Houses of Arlington

Sold as prefabricated kits during the first half of the 20th century, affordable dwellings from Sears Roebuck and Company defined the character of countless American communities. Join historian Dakota Springston on a bus tour through historic Virginia neighborhoods to view the distinctive exteriors of Sears homes.

Date of event
Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Leadership in Crisis: Defining Moments of Modern Presidencies

Leaders from Franklin Roosevelt to Donald Trump dealt with their defining moments in a variety of ways that forever changed our perceptions of them. As he surveys these responses, journalist Ken Walsh identifies what we have learned about presidential attributes and skills that matter most in trying times, and also takes a fresh look at President Trump through the prism of his crisis-filled administration.

Date of event
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.