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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

American History Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

In a conversation moderated by Jamila Robinson, food editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, chef and author Marcus Samuelsson discusses how Black cooking has always been more than soul food, with flavors that can be traced to the African continent, the Caribbean, across the United States, and beyond.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless. Paul Glenshaw examines the iconic work The Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint Gaudens, exploring its historical context, delving into the era of its artist, the present he inhabited, and what shaped his vision and creations. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, November 8, 2020 - 3:00 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 life as they did. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at the remarkable life of Julia Child.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Naval historian David Rosenberg and three retired U.S. Navy officers examine the tensions and strategies that grew out of the face-off between America and the Soviet Union over Russia’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. They reveal how the USS Sam Houston, a Polaris submarine deployed in the Mediterranean, played a significant but little-known role in assuring European security against potential Soviet aggression.

Members Only
Monday, November 16, 2020 - 8:00 p.m. ET

Witness the decades-long fight for suffrage in a special digital screening of the new Smithsonian Channel documentary She the People: Votes for Women. The film draws on rarely seen footage, expert opinions, and dozens of historic objects from the Smithsonian’s collections to tell the stories of the heroic women who fought to claim their rights as citizens.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET

Fast cars, shady liaisons, a murder plot, a Manhattan socialite, and a ringleader codenamed Agent Sex: they’re all elements of the story of the Nazi spy ring that infiltrated America in the 1930s. Historian Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones recounts how an intrepid FBI agent, whose talent was matched only by his penchant for publicity, played an essential role in bringing it all down.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Historian Allen Pietrobon explores American food culture since 1850 and how, throughout American history, food has been a battleground where culture, ethnicity, race, and identity clash.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 20, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Historian H.W. Brands offers a dual portrait of Brown and Lincoln as men with profoundly different views on how moral people must respond to the injustice of slavery: by incremental change within the system or by radical upheaval? He also examines how that reckoning finds relevance in today’s political climate.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 7, 2020 - 6:30 p.m. ET

No one led a life, led a band, or made music like Duke Ellington. American music specialist John Edward Hasse surveys the life and career of a one-of-kind man who overcame racial, social, and musical obstacles to become one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 7, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

From generals to enlisted men to spies, thousands of men of Irish heritage played crucial roles in waging the American Revolution. Historian Richard Bell examines the fight for American independence from the perspective of the Irish and their descendants, as well as the political and economic impact of the Revolution on Ireland itself.

Tour
Friday, December 11, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

A flash of gold in a river touched off a massive wave of young men from around the world who came to seek their fortunes in California. Garrett Peck examines how their dreams played out, and why the gold rush of 1849 forever altered the state and the nation’s destiny.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 13, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

Learn how first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump have left their mark on White House Christmas celebrations.

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 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Whether intentionally or not, some movies created as entertainment have also had a significant impact on American society. Playwright and screenwriter Mark Lapadula examines a quartet of these—I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, The Graduate, Jaws, and Philadelphia— to reveal what they tell us about the times in which they were created and their continuing significance today.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Too small to turn the tide of the war on its own, the success of the 1943 American and British campaign in Sicily nevertheless produced lessons that would be put to good use ten months later on the beaches at Normandy. Historian Christopher Hamner examines the battle for the island in the context of World War II Europe.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The fledgling aviators who followed in the steps of the Wright brothers were daring, dashing, and about to launch themselves into a whole new world of entertainment—the air show. Aviation writer and filmmaker Paul Glenshaw leads a rollicking trip around the country at the dawn of the last century and the age of flight.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

They were the least likely of spies—and their exploits have often remained in the shadows of WWII’s espionage lore. Brent Geary and Randy Burkett, career officers in in the CIA, share the stories of remarkable women who fought both the Nazis and gender stereotypes to help win the war and create the foundation for the modern CIA and U.S. military special forces.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. ET

The story of the American Revolution is more than a catalog of deeds by famous men. Historian Richard Bell explores this tumultuous period from the perspective of ordinary Americans by looking at military recruitment, the wars on the home front and in Native American territory, the struggles of people of color, and the experiences of loyalists.

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
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Iran and America’s current fraught relationship has its roots in one that was long grounded in friendship and opportunity. Historian John Ghazvinian draws on his new book, America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present, to trace how and why the link between these former allies eroded and offers a glimpse of what lies in store for both nations.