Skip to main content
Lectures
Germany’s Path From Despotism to Democracy

Historian Charles Ingrao traces the influences and leaders that shaped Germany’s governmental evolution from the 18th century, in which authoritarianism co-existed with Enlightenment-era values, through the dictatorships and totalitarianism that gave way to today’s model democracy.

Date
Monday, June 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Discovering Modern Architecture: From Art Nouveau to Post-Modernism

Art historian Karin Alexis presents an overview of styles from the late 19th century to the present, focusing on pivotal structures, seminal architects, and the cultural context and influences that inspired the creative spirit of architecture rooted in the Machine Age. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Judy Garland: Climbing Over the Rainbow

Her decades of stardom and struggle were marked by bouts of alcohol and drug abuse, multiple divorces, and career swings, but Judy Garland remains one of the greatest interpreters of American popular song. American music specialist Robert Wyatt explores highlights from her extraordinary life with clips from her movies and televion specials.

Date
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
What Diplomats Know: An Insider’s Look at a Unique Profession

In this 2-part lectures series, Nicholas Kralev, executive director of the Washington International Diplomatic Academy, examines the wide range of specialized knowledge and skills that diplomats—both seasoned and new—must call on in their daily lives. This session focuses on U.S. diplomacy overseas.

Date
Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Gilbert and Sullivan in the 21st Century

Director Jack Marshall and friends explore how Gilbert and Sullivan’s genius still adapts easily to contemporary issues and art forms, resonates with modern audiences, and is reflected in the roots of America’s own distinctive theatrical form, the musical.

Date
Saturday, June 30, 2018 - 9:30 a.m.
Apfelwein: New Fizz for a German Favorite

For centuries, Germans have known that a refreshing glass of alcoholic apple cider is the perfect summer drink. Get an introduction to the tradition of apfelwein, and learn how it’s been given a contemporary twist to appeal to American tastes.

Date
Friday, July 6, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
The Cambridge Five: Soviet Intelligence Spies

Why would a group of young men from one of England’s elite universities betray their country for Russia? Using recently declassified British, American, and Soviet intelligence records, historian and author Calder Walton examines the lives, motivations, damage, and legacy of the notorious Cold War operatives that came to be known as the Cambridge Five.

Date
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Battle of the Marne

Early in WWI, Germany had its eye on a significant prize: the capture of Paris. Historian and author Mitch Yockelson examines how British and French troops prevented encroaching forces from reaching the city—and foiled Germany from achieving what had been envisioned as quick end to the war.

Date
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The All-Star Game Comes to Washington

As Nationals Park prepares to host the All-Star game on July 17, veteran sportscaster Phil Hochberg assembles his own team of experts to discuss the event and its history, including Greg McCarthy of Washington Nationals, sports author Frederic Frommer, and Washington Nationals’ analyst Phil Wood. Play ball!

Date
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Queen's Spymasters: Cecil, Walsingham, and the Secret Service

With a court infested with spies and religious conflicts leading to calls for her overthrow, Queen Elizabeth I needed her own reliable clandestine eyes and ears in order to remain firmly on the throne. Renaissance and Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd Stanger examines how two loyal Protestant courtiers masterminded an intelligence network that fiercely protected their queen’s sovereignty, and in the process, sparked the birth of modern espionage.

Date
Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Modern First Ladies: Creating (and Re-Creating) an Identity

Andrew Och, author and producer of the C-SPAN series “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” looks at how a number of 20th- and 21st-century residents of the White House created identities that reflected their personal outlooks and the issues of their times, and complemented the goals and profile of their husbands’ presidencies.

Date
Tuesday, July 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 1920–1970.

Date
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
What Diplomats Know: An Insider’s Look at a Unique Profession

In this 2-part lectures series, Nicholas Kralev, executive director of the Washington International Diplomatic Academy, examines the wide range of specialized knowledge and skills that diplomats—both seasoned and new—must call on in their daily lives. This session focuses on foreign diplomacy in the U.S.

Date
Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Last Blitzkrieg: The Battle of the Bulge and Allied Victory in Europe

In the bitter winter of 1944–45, more than a million participants faced off in the dense Ardennes forests over six weeks in a battle that severely depleted Nazi Germany’s forces—and opened the way for Allied victory in Europe. Author and retired military archivist Timothy Mulligan surveys the defining features and the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

Date
Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
David Bowie Is: Celebrating an Artist of Startling Transformations

The life and work of David Bowie, one of rock’s most pioneering and influential performers, are the subject of an exhibition, David Bowie Is, which ends its world tour at the Brooklyn Museum in July. Matthew Yokobosky, senior curator of fashion and material culture at the Brooklyn Museum, discusses how the exhibition creates an immersive, visitor experience featuring Bowie’s art.

Date
Friday, July 20, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Tesla: The Man, the Mystery, the Inventor of the Modern

Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His brilliant but decidedly strange persona, however, prevented his most advanced ideas from being recognized for decades. Biographer Richard Munson shines a light on a magnificently bizarre genius.

Date
Monday, July 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
America’s Authentic Revolutionaries: Jefferson, Paine, and Monroe

Historian John Ferling explores the careers and revolutionary passions of a trio of Founding Fathers who envisioned a new era of independence in which both America and France were swept free of ruling monarchies.

Date
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Secrets and Survival in the Mideast: A Former CIA Agent Shares Her Story

For undercover CIA officer Michele Rigby Assad, the dangers and difficulties she faced during a decade working in the Middle East were intensified by an important fact: She was a female leader secreted within the patriarchal Arab culture. Assad reveals how she transformed the factors stacked against her into strategic advantages.

Date
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech: A Conversation with Melissa Chiu and Franklin Foer

Franklin Foer, national correspondent at The Atlantic, sits down with Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, for a discussion about the vexing issues posed by the growing power of “Big Technology.” Together they explore the tension between technology and privacy with which everyone who has a digital life has to deal.

Date
Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
A Toast to the Rat Pack

Author and cocktail expert Philip Green celebrates the spirit—and the favorite spirits—of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and other members of the swingin’, high-living clan who came to symbolize ’60s-style cool onstage and off.

Date
Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
New Frontiers and Old Traditions: Trends in South American and Australian Wines

Argentine Malbec and Aussie Shiraz may still rule the export markets, but today’s producers in South America and Australia create a richly varied range of high-quality wines that deserve to be better known. Joined by a pair of wine experts, Taylor Parsons, a Los Angeles-based sommelier, guides a two-part exploration of the history, development, and diversity of these two pivotal axes of the wine world. This session focuses on South American wines.

Date
Friday, August 3, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
New Frontiers and Old Traditions: Trends in South American and Australian Wines

Argentine Malbec and Aussie Shiraz may still rule the export markets, but today’s producers in South America and Australia create a richly varied range of high-quality wines that deserve to be better known. Joined by a pair of wine experts, Taylor Parsons, a Los Angeles-based sommelier, guides a two-part exploration of the history, development, and diversity of these two pivotal axes of the wine world. This session focuses on Australian wines.

Date
Saturday, August 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Real Gems - Rubies and Ruby Slippers

Meet two professionals entrusted with some of the most glittering of the Smithsonian’s treasures. Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gems and Minerals Collection, and Dawn Wallace, the conservator who is preserving the sparkle in Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, offer a fascinating glimpse into the work they do.

Date
Monday, August 6, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor

Fred Rogers, whose beloved television program invited children into his neighborhood for nearly four decades, is enjoying a resurgence in the cultural spotlight these days. Join Karen Struble Myers of the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College to examine how a small-town childhood shaped his thoughtful children's programming.

Date
Monday, August 6, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Art of Burning Man: From the Desert to DC

For the exhibition No Spectators, the Renwick Gallery fills the complete museum—and some of the neighborhood streets—with the explosively fantastic experimental art spawned in the Nevada desert at Burning Man. Join Stephanie Stebich, director of the American Art Museum, for an overview of the exhibition, as well as insights from her own experience at Burning Man 2017. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 – 6:45 p.m.
The Trojan War: The Epic in Art

With its timeless mythic themes of beauty, heroic courage, and sacrifice, the story of the Trojan War has long been retold and interpreted by writers and artists. Art historian Renee Gondek examines the legend’s power through works it inspired, weaving together ancient literary sources and a variety of visual depictions that span the centuries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Art of Burning Man: From the Desert to DC

Includes Tour: For the exhibition No Spectators, the Renwick Gallery fills the complete museum—and some of the neighborhood streets—with the explosively fantastic experimental art spawned in the Nevada desert at Burning Man. Join Stephanie Stebich, director of the American Art Museum, for an overview of the exhibition, as well as insights from her own experience at Burning Man 2017. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Program: Tuesday, August 7, 2018 – 6:45 p.m.
Tour: Thursday, August 9, 2018 – 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Stalingrad: Turning Point of World War II in Europe

Author and retired military archivist Timothy Mulligan examines the history, leaders, political framework, and devastating human cost of the month’s-long battle that dwarfed the 1944–45 Allied campaign in Western Europe both in it numbers and ferocity. 

Date
Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Art of Burning Man: From the Desert to DC

Includes Tour: For the exhibition No Spectators, the Renwick Gallery fills the complete museum—and some of the neighborhood streets—with the explosively fantastic experimental art spawned in the Nevada desert at Burning Man. Join Stephanie Stebich, director of the American Art Museum, for an overview of the exhibition, as well as insights from her own experience at Burning Man 2017. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Program: Tuesday, August 7, 2018 – 6:45 p.m.
Tour: Friday, August 10, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Heavenly Bodies at the Met: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

A new exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art examines fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. Inspired by the exhibition, art historian Anne Higonnet surveys an unexpected range of style leaders, from the archangel Gabriel to Pope Francis I, and their influence on recent fashion.

Date
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Garden in Your Beer

Since the beginnings of beer, brewers have used a variety of cultivated and foraged ingredients for added flavor and preservation. Take a look at the garden through the lens of the botanicals, spices, wild yeasts, fruits, berries, and hops that flavor your favorite beer.

Date
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mixing Cocktails With Panache: Drinks From the Bar at Quill

Katie Dandridge, one of the cocktail experts from Quill, the lounge at Washington’s Jefferson Hotel, leads a hands-on class (and tasting) for amateur mixologists who want to learn how to shake things up at home.

Date
Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 3:00 p.m.
Discover Your Backyard: Great Hikes Within and Around the Beltway

Whether you’re looking for a trail that offers great scenery, history, family fun, or a challenge to your hiking skills, Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Washington, D.C., know all the right spots for your fall excursions.

Date
Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
A DC Theatre Season Preview

With more than 80 professional companies in the area, how can theater fans know what might be the hottest ticket in town, what’s worth the price, and what they might be able to skip? Turn to Lorraine Treanor, editor of DC Theatre Scene, who reveal what’s buzz-worthy in the bountiful 2018–2019 season.

Date
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Blueprints of Empire: Ancient Rome and America

Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes, and historian and classicist John Prevas examine the connection between the final stages of the Roman Empire and the United States as a contemporary world power. Though an analysis of political and moral leadership, they compare these two versions of empire, their similarities and differences, and speculate on what that link holds for America’s future.

Date
Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.