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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

American History Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Frank Lloyd Wright’s residence for Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin is one of the most substantial and highly developed of his Prairie-style houses and among the architect’s most significant early commissions. Mary Roberts, executive director of the Martin House, leads a live virtual tour through sections of the main house, the open-air pergola, and conservatory as she shares the fascinating history of the site.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

From the earliest administrations to today, presidents have recognized the important function wine plays in entertaining at the White House. In an illustrated conversation, Fred Ryan, Jr., author of Wine and the White House: A History, is joined by Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Richard Kurin for an informative and entertaining evening perfect for devotees of presidential history, lovers of wine, or both.

Tour
Friday, October 1, 2021 - 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET

From the Woman Suffrage Procession along Pennsylvania Avenue in 1913 to the massive Million Man March in 1995, Washington, D.C. was the setting for many of the most historic social and political American protests of the 20th century. Enjoy a fall walk with lecturer Dave Price and discover the stories behind the most significant of these protests.

Tour
Sunday, October 3, 2021 - 7:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. ET

Regional historian Hayden Mathews explores the rich heritage of this lovely Eastern Shore town, focusing on both land and sea. The day includes a cruise on a replica of an 18th-century vessel, as well as a historic-district walking tour guided by Chestertown’s mayor.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, October 4, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET

In-person Program Option: In response to growing criticism that the Supreme Court has become too political, Stephen Breyer, a Supreme Court justice, asserts that the judiciary’s hard-won authority could be marred by reforms premised on the assumption of ideological bias. He argues for a way to promote better understandings of how the judiciary actually works.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, October 4, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET

Streaming Program Option: In response to growing criticism that the Supreme Court has become too political, Stephen Breyer, a Supreme Court justice, asserts that the judiciary’s hard-won authority could be marred by reforms premised on the assumption of ideological bias. He argues for a way to promote better understandings of how the judiciary actually works.

Tour
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

From the Woman Suffrage Procession along Pennsylvania Avenue in 1913 to the massive Million Man March in 1995, Washington, D.C. was the setting for many of the most historic social and political American protests of the 20th century. Enjoy a fall walk with lecturer Dave Price and discover the stories behind the most significant of these protests.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

From the last years of the 19th century throughout much of the following one, Los Angeles evolved from a destination for health seekers and winter vacations to a dynamic center of industry and the leading port of the Western United States. Bill Keene draws on booster literature, magazine articles, and scholarly and informal histories to examine how LA’s vision of itself became a reality.

Course
Friday, October 8, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Environmental historian Hayden Mathews brings the heritage of one of the most storied rivers in North American to life in a three-part series that focuses on how the Potomac has shaped the lives of the those who settled along its banks from their arrival after the last Ice Age to the present day and how those lives have had an impact on the river.

Tour
Sunday, October 17, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET

From the Woman Suffrage Procession along Pennsylvania Avenue in 1913 to the massive Million Man March in 1995, Washington, D.C. was the setting for many of the most historic social and political American protests of the 20th century. Enjoy a fall walk with lecturer Dave Price and discover the stories behind the most significant of these protests.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Historian Christopher Hamner examines Grant’s often-overlooked 1864 Overland Campaign to illustrate how his effectiveness as a military commander proved crucial in driving the Union toward its overall victory the following year.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Follow the writer’s footsteps through the capital’s downtown as historian Garrett Peck examines the urban backdrop against which Whitman carved out a role as a nurse to Civil War soldiers; met the love of his life; worked as a federal clerk; and built a community through his literary circle.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 22, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Americans have been brewing, enjoying, and thinking about beer for generations. But there’s still new light to shed on the nation’s favorite libation. Join a lively conversation with a panel of professionals from the fields of filmmaking, historical research, journalism, and brewing as they discuss their innovative ways to share the stories and histories of the venerable beverage.

Tour
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. ET

Regional historian Hayden Mathews explores the rich heritage of this lovely Eastern Shore town, focusing on both land and sea. The day includes a cruise on a replica of an 18th-century vessel, as well as a historic-district walking tour guided by Chestertown’s mayor.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Serving as crew members on flights bringing servicemen into and out of combat zones at the height of the Vietnam War was a career adventure that the young women who became stewardesses at Pan Am World Airways in the 1960s and 70s could never have imagined. Drawing on her new book Come Fly the World, Julia Cooke discusses their often-overlooked wartime stories and examines why the role of Jet Age stewardess carried far more professional weight than simply being a flying waitress.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., has given much to the musical world beyond its best-known export, Duke Ellington. In a new series of programs, musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis spotlights the city’s music traditions and how social change, technology, and business innovations shaped the sounds that emerged from D.C.—a political town with a serious music habit. This session focuses on D.C.'s acoustic folk and blues traditions.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Beginning with cartoonist Thomas Nast’s lasting images of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus created during the Civil War, author Jeremy Dauber traces the sweeping story of cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels, and their continuing hold on the American imagination.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Since 1782, Baltimore's Lexington Market—the oldest public market in America—has brought fresh food and delicious flavors to the community long before "farm to table" was a hot culinary trend. Christine Rai explores its history and the stories behind some of its best-known foods that define the authentic taste of Baltimore.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Chef Matthew Wendel, who spent many years working for President George W. Bush, shares a behind-the-scenes look at the protocol involved in working for the first family, and how sharing a meal in an intimate setting can be a bridge-building diplomatic tool.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 8, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In the 1890s, the first great American musical craze, ragtime, swept the nation—and the sounds of the parlor piano would never be the same. Composer and pianist Orin Grossman traces the form from its beginnings to the more complex styles of stride and “novelty” piano in a lively and entertaining program that includes Joplin’s wonderful rags and a few of his own arrangements of favorite Gershwin’s songs.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 15, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., has given much to the musical world beyond its best-known export, Duke Ellington. In a new series of programs, musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis spotlights the city’s music traditions and how social change, technology, and business innovations shaped the sounds that emerged from D.C.—a political town with a serious music habit. This session focuses on D.C.'s soul, funk, and go-go traditions.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

General Black Jack Pershing’s 1916 “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico was intended to capture Pancho Villa in retribution for an attack on a small New Mexico town carried out by his revolutionary forces. Although it failed in its objective, historian Dakota Springston examines how the expedition changed American warfare and why the United States’ first truly mechanized conflict served as a testing ground for the country’s entry into WWI.

Tour
Saturday, November 20, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET

They came to the Pennsylvania countryside anxious to learn the fate of husbands and family members or drawn to provide solace to strangers. Their experiences amid the horrors of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle connected thousands of disparate women of all ages whose bravery and life-changing actions at Gettysburg are often overlooked by history. Author Chuck Raasch retells some of their compelling stories on the sites on which they unfolded at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., has given much to the musical world beyond its best-known export, Duke Ellington. In a new series of programs, musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis spotlights the city’s music traditions and how social change, technology, and business innovations shaped the sounds that emerged from D.C.—a political town with a serious music habit. This session focuses on D.C.'s 21st century music scene.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Learn the strange history of a small group of pro-slavery sympathizers who, in the 1850s, formed the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society whose goal it was to create a vast new empire for slavery that extended into Mexico and South America.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 6, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

More than simply the inspiration for the poem that later became our national anthem, the War of 1812 was a watershed moment in the history of a young republic. Historian Richard Bell examines this misunderstood conflict that established the credibility of the newly formed United States and cemented American citizens’ own sense of themselves as a nation apart, emerging from the crucible of war a proud and patriotic people.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, African Americans were optimistic that he would pursue aggressive federal policies for Black equality. However, author Robert S. Levine addresses the conflicts that led Frederick Douglass and the wider Black community to reject Johnson and reveals the lost promise and dire failure of Reconstruction.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

No home in America celebrates the holidays quite like the White House, and behind each annual celebration is a first lady who lends her distinctive style to the festivities. Historian Coleen Christian Burke, a former White House holiday design partner, surveys the signature holiday decorating style of modern residents from Jackie Kennedy to Jill Biden.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Tapped by his one-time political rival Abraham Lincoln to become secretary of the treasury, Salmon P. Chase proved essential to the Civil War effort and pressed the president to emancipate the country’s slaves and recognize Black rights. Biographer Walter Stahr sheds new light on a complex and fascinating political figure, as well as on the pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath.

Course
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a 3-session evening series, historian Justin M. Jacobs presents in-depth overviews of three particularly intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites. This session focuses on the Redwood National and State Parks.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

At the start of the First World War, a handful of volunteers created an all-American fighter squadron in the French Air Service, the legendary Lafayette Escadrille. Join filmmakers Paul Glenshaw and Darroch Greer, creators of a new documentary on the squadron, as they trace its beginnings, the colorful characters in it, and their motivations—some noble, some opportunistic—to risk their lives for America’s oldest ally.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Historian Allen Pietrobon takes us back to the Eisenhower era, a time before the “celebrity president.” He reveals how Sen. John F. Kennedy’s domination of the medium during the first-ever televised debate was key in his winning the presidency. Pietrobon also uses the 1960 presidential election as a lens to explore American politics and culture in this pivotal era in history.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

PBS television host Darley Newman shares insights into the Alabama Civil Rights Trail, which traces the footsteps of civil rights legends such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, whose stories are told in the museums, churches, and other landmarks lining the trail. Darley suggests area guides and experts who can enhance your experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 13, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Baltimore's Federal Hill holds a prominent place in the city's history and lent its name to a distinctive and appealing South Baltimore neighborhood.  Arts journalist and Baltimore resident Richard Selden leads an illustrated virtual tour of both the hill itself, with its storied monuments and stunning views, and the urban village that surrounds it.