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American History Programs

Delayed Justice: The Hunt for Hitler's Hidden Soldiers in America

Hitler's dreaded SS trained a roving army to help annihilate the Jewish population of occupied Poland. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper unfolds the harrowing wartime journeys of two Jewish orphans who settled in the United States—only to learn that some of their one-time captors had as well.

Date of event
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Researching Your Genealogy: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Every family has stories about their roots, but are they true? Professional genealogist John Colletta offers a day filled with practical information and time-saving advice to start the adventure of discovering your personal history.

Date of event
Saturday, December 7, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Classical Music and American Foreign Relations: A Complicated Duet

Jonathan Rosenberg of Hunter College delves into the singular and complex relationship of classical music and political ideology in 20th-century America. He examines how in the decades that spanned two world wars and the Cold War, classical musicians, singers, composers, and conductors could find themselves celebrated as cultural ambassadors or ostracized for their nationality or political beliefs.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 12:00 p.m.

The Gilded Steinway: Music in Theodore Roosevelt's White House

The musical life of the White House during Theodore Roosevelt's administration was rich and diverse, and some of the era's most noted pianists performed on a one-of-a-kind instrument in the East Room: an elaborately decorated and gilded Steinway piano. In a program at Decatur House, musicologist Elise Kirk offers an overview of Roosevelt-era music, highlighted by a performance on a replica of the original piano.

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.

Barack and Joe: The Making of a Presidential Friendship

Though Joe Biden and Barack Obama were a study in sharply contrasting styles, they formed a dynamic professional partnership and close personal connection. Author Steve Levingston explores the evolution of the relationship that set the tone for eight years in the White House.

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Old Town Alexandria: A Holiday Staycation

Treat yourself to a holiday-season overnight getaway that offers the perfect way to experience the heart of Old Town Alexandria’s heritage and charm: colonial architecture, museums, fine dining, the waterfront, and of course, a little shopping.

Date of event
Starts: Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 11:00 a.m.
Ends: Monday, December 16, 2019 - 4:00 p.m.

Holiday Magic at the White House: The Brightest Season at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Spend an afternoon with professional decorator and author Coleen Christian Burke as she covers the traditions of White House holiday decorating, brings you behind the scenes as the seasonal transformation takes place, and shares how modern first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump have lent their distinctive styles and creativity to guiding the seasonal themes.

Date of event
Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

The Day Prohibition Began: Thirteen Awful Years of the Noble Experiment

Prohibition in America began on January 16, 1920, after a century of agitation by the temperance movement to create a dry, sober nation. On the centennial of the start of the national booze ban, join author and historian Garrett Peck on a cocktail-driven journey through the nation’s not-so-dry past.

Date of event
Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

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. to 4:15 p.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.