Lectures
The Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes Trials: History and Legacy

In 1945, the victors of World War II took the unprecedented step to hold the vanquished leaders of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan responsible for criminal acts of war, including torture and systematic murder.  In this riveting program, explore the history and legacy of these trials.

Date
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Wallis in Love: Andrew Morton on the Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor

Wallis Simpson—the infamous “woman I love” for whom Edward VIII abdicated his throne—continues to fascinate us. Historical biographer Andrew Morton draws on his new book to offer insights into the personality and motivations of a complex and controversial American who changed the course of the monarchy.

Date
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Indiana Jones, The Eternal Explorer: The Politics of Archaeology, Empires, and Exploration

Using swashbuckling Indiana Jones as both a movie hero and an archetype, Justin M. Jacobs of American University leads a fascinating expedition into real-life and Hollywood-style history that examines the controversies and contexts of archaeology and exploration. This session focuses on "Who Confronted Indiana Jones?" Part of a 5-session lecture series.

Date
Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
A Red-Carpet Night with Oscar

As awards night nears, join film writer Noah Gittell for an evening that focuses on all things Oscar. The movie-inspired fun includes history and trivia, a predictions contest, and a chance to join some screen legends (appearing courtesy Madame Tussauds) for photos on the red carpet.

Date
Monday, February 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Dove and Crowe—Their Work Is For the Birds

Smithsonian’s experts really do have some of the most curious specialties, which will be highlighted in an occasional “behind-the-scenes” series Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs. To kick things off, meet two scientists who study birds in unexpected ways.

Date
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Take an Elemental Journey: A Guided Tour of the Periodic Table of Elements

The Periodic Table of Elements organizes the essential building blocks of matter in our universe. Join award-winning science educators Callan Bentley and Piraba Swaminathan as they introduce the chemical elements that populate the Periodic Table's columns and rows, and hear their fascinating stories.

Date
Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Dinner at Supra: Welcome to DC’s First Georgian Restaurant

One of the recent additions to the District’s food scene is Supra, the first restaurant to feature the food of the Republic of Georgia. Experience this centuries-old cuisine at a family-style private dinner, meet the chef, and get cultural and historical insights into Georgia’s food traditions from a representative of the Central-Asia Caucasus Institute.

Date
Monday, March 5, 2018 - 6:30 p.m.
Facing Fear

Why do our bodies and minds react the way they do when we’re in danger? Joseph LeDoux, a professor of science at New York University, discusses the impact of recent research into the neurological and emotional roots of fear, and why it might change our pharmacological and behavioral approaches to helping people reframe this emotion.

Date
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Ear Wax and Glitter Poop

Go behind the scenes to hear from scientists who use samples from Smithsonian collections to trace the last 110 years of ocean contaminants and the life histories of baleen whales, and one who monitors the fluctuating hormone levels in some of your favorite zoo residents through a unique method. 

Date
Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Sapporo-Style Ramen: A Regional Rage

Japanese foodies take their ramen—which boasts more than 30 regional variations—very seriously. The team behind D.C.’s popular Bantam King, Daikaya, and Haikan restaurants explore the essentials of Sapporo-style ramen, how they prepare it, and how best to enjoy it. Then, get a taste of your own when you sit down for lunch at Haikan.

Date
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 10:00 a.m.
Art Treasures of Berlin: Lost, Destroyed, Recovered

Art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine focuses on some of world’s most noted Old Master paintings and sculptures and their fates during and after World War II in a city that has once again become one of the top art destinations of Europe. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Monday, March 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Conservative Legacy of William F. Buckley Jr.

The political philosophy—and personality—of William F. Buckley Jr. were significant forces in shaping a uniquely American conservatism that reached its apex of influence in the election of Ronald Reagan. Presidential historian Alvin Felzenberg considers what Buckley’s movement achieved and what may befall it in the age of Trump.

Date
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Most Famous Address in Washington: Perspectives on White House History

In this 4-session lecture series, noted specialists explore architecture, music, gardens, and art at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—a place where every decision, no matter how innocuous, has political ramifications. Participants receive a copy of each speaker’s corresponding large-format book published by the White House Historical Association. This session focuses on White House art.

Date
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
America: The Great Cookbook, What DC Chefs Cook for the People They Love

Join the Washington Post’s Joe Yonan as he gathers four local food-world contributors to his new cookbook for a tasty discussion of what cooking in America means today. And of course, the evening features samples of the panelists’ favorite recipies.

Date
Monday, March 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Women in Islam: Ideals and Realities

Islamic scholar Zeyneb Sayilgan sheds light on the status of women in the Islamic tradition and analyzes why and how the lived realities of Muslim women at times contradict the religious ideals. 

Date
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Savonarola: The Moral Dictator of Florence

How could a lowly Florentine preacher almost singlehandedly overthrow the mighty Medici family at the height of the Renaissance? Historian Janna Bianchini traces how the fiery Girolamo Savonarola upended the civic and cultural norms of a great city and installed himself as the head of a ruthless, ruling theocracy.

Date
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Caravaggio: Theater and Light

Art historian Nigel McGilchrist follows Caravaggio’s life and development as a painter, and traces his indelible influence on artists including Goya, Bernini, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Indiana Jones, The Eternal Explorer: The Politics of Archaeology, Empires, and Exploration

Using swashbuckling Indiana Jones as both a movie hero and an archetype, Justin M. Jacobs of American University leads a fascinating expedition into real-life and Hollywood-style history that examines the controversies and contexts of archaeology and exploration. This session focuses on "Did Hollywood Get It Right?" Part of a 5-session lecture series.

Date
Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Juedischer Kulturbund: Keeping the Arts Alive in Nazi Germany

Though under severe Nazi government restrictions, in the 1930s, many Jewish artists expelled from German institutions found an outlet to reach Jewish audiences through the Kulturbund, the Culture League of German Jews. Historian Michael Brennner examines the Kulturbund’s achievements and the opportunities and dilemmas it brought for a persecuted minority under an authoritarian regime.

Date
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Lidia Bastianich’s American Dream

When she was 12, cookbook author, television personality, and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich fled Europe with her family to escape persecution. Drawing on her new book, My American Dream, Bastianich shares the vivid story of the fulfillment of that dream, beginning with her new life in New York and the dedication and passion for food that helped to build a successful career.

Date
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Henry Stuart: The Best King England Never Had

Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales—once the great hope of early 17th-century Britain, educated to rule—died at the age of 18 and became all but forgotten. His biographer Sarah Fraser traces the political and religious turmoil that followed his death, and what was behind the suppression of his memory.

Date
Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
African Art and the Struggle for Independence

The story of African liberation in the mid-20th century is as much about painters and sculptors as it is about politicians and soldiers. Art historian Kevin Tervala examines the critical role that artists played in mobilizing populations, organizing international support, and developing national pride and identity. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Monday, April 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The History of Judaism

How has Judaism preserved its distinctive identity over the course of more than three millennia? Learn how this great religion came to be, how it has evolved from one age to the next, and how various strains, sects, and traditions have related to each other, in this fascinating overview of one of the world’s oldest religions.

Date
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Biological Mind: The Brain as a Responsive Organ

Alan Jasanoff, director of the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, explores the bodily influences on our brain and psychology, and ways that the environment connects to our behavior.

Date
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

Historian Elisabeth Griffith, a biographer of suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leads a fast-paced 4-session lecture series that examines the history of women in America from the colonial period through second-wave feminism. This session focuses on women from 1600–1770.

Date
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson at 275: A Celebratory Dinner

Mark the eve of President Thomas Jefferson’s 275th birthday at an intimate 4-course celebratory dinner at Plume, the elegant Michelin-starred restaurant in the downtown Jefferson hotel. Between courses, an historian discusses Jefferson’s contributions to American cuisine, and a representative of Barboursville Vineyards (whose products are paired with the meal), shares insights into Jefferson’s passion for fine wine.

Date
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Bridal Traditions and Wedding Feasts of India: A Regional Exploration

India’s rich beauty and diversity is especially evident in its wedding celebrations. Writer and cookbook author Monica Bhide showcases the distinctive traditions of 10 Indian states in a fascinating program that ends with a buffet featuring a variety of Indian dishes.

Date
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Join the Emmy Award–winning filmmaker, educator, literary scholar, journalist, and cultural critic as he adds another distinction to the list: recipient of Smithsonian Associates’ 17th annual Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award.

Date
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
La Dolce Vita: Italy’s Desserts

Forget about milk and cookies: Join Francine Segan, author of Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, as she introduces you to la dolce vita—the sublime way the dessert course is enjoyed in Italy.

Date
Monday, April 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Cezanne Portraits

A new exhibition opening in March at the National Gallery of Art, Cezanne Portraits, brings together some 60 examples drawn from collections around the world. Join one of the exhibition’s curators as she discusses the exhibition, its creation, and the new perspectives it offers on the artist. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Basic Instincts: The Wild Side of Wildlife

It’s easy to project human emotions onto animals. But have you ever considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants get lazy? They do. Lucy Cooke, an Oxford zoologist and award-winning documentary filmmaker, uncovers the unexpected stories of strange animal habits from her travels around the world.

Date
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Most Famous Address in Washington: Perspectives on White House History

In this 4-session lecture series, noted specialists explore architecture, music, gardens, and art at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—a place where every decision, no matter how innocuous, has political ramifications. Participants receive a copy of each speaker’s corresponding large-format book published by the White House Historical Association. This session focuses on White House gardens.

Date
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Digging Deeper: An Insider’s Look at Field Archaeology

They go out with their shovels and come back with priceless artifacts. If you think that sums up field archaeology, you’ve got another thing coming. From excavating lost cities to an army of Chinese Terracotta warriors, learn a few secrets from a seasoned pro.

Date
Monday, April 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Wrong Side of History: Loyalists in the American Revolution

Historian Richard Bell examines the American Revolution from the point of view of those colonists who remained staunchly loyal to Britain and the Crown. He traces why men and women—of a surprisingly wide range of types—opposed the fight for a new democratic nation, and how their lives changed once the patriots were victorious.

Date
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Grant Wood: Beyond American Gothic

A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art reveals Grant Wood as a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art. Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant at the museum offers an overview of the exhibition and insights into lesser-known aspects of Wood’s life and career. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before. Geneticist David Reich examines how these developments have transformed our understanding of our lineage as modern humans.

Date
Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Heart of a Comet

Jim Zimbelman, a planetary geologist at the Air and Space Museum, examines how a new explosion of insights expanded and deepened our earlier knowledge of comets, now seen as frozen remnants from the formation of the solar system.

Date
Monday, April 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Borromini’s Rome: The Baroque at Its Best

Independent scholar and Rome expert George Sullivan examines the work of one architect, Francesco Borromini, who employed the classical vocabulary of the High Renaissance to create a new Baroque architectural language that was uniquely inventive and incomparably beautiful. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Perspectives on a Presidency

From 1953 to 1961 no one dominated the world stage as did President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Learn about Eisenhower’s enormous influence on modern America, the Cold War, and his extraordinary accomplishments, including ending the Korean War, avoiding a war in Vietnam, and soothing relations with the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death.

Date
Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

Historian Elisabeth Griffith, a biographer of suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leads a fast-paced 4-session lecture series that examines the history of women in America from the colonial period through second-wave feminism. This session focuses on women from 1776–1850.

Date
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Most Famous Address in Washington: Perspectives on White House History

In this 4-session lecture series, noted specialists explore architecture, music, gardens, and art at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—a place where every decision, no matter how innocuous, has political ramifications. Participants receive a copy of each speaker’s corresponding large-format book published by the White House Historical Association. This session focuses on White House music.

Date
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

Historian Elisabeth Griffith, a biographer of suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leads a fast-paced 4-session lecture series that examines the history of women in America from the colonial period through second-wave feminism. This session focuses on women from 1850–1920.

Date
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

Historian Elisabeth Griffith, a biographer of suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leads a fast-paced 4-session lecture series that examines the history of women in America from the colonial period through second-wave feminism. This session focuses on women from 1920–1970.

Date
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.