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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Lectures

Lecture/Seminar

Africa’s Struggle for Its Art: Reclaiming a Stolen Heritage

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For decades, African nations have fought for the return of countless works of art stolen during the colonial era and placed in Western museums. Shortly after 1960, when 18 former colonies in Africa gained independence, a movement occurred to pursue repatriation. Art historian Bénédicte Savoy reveals this largely unknown but deeply important history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Cemeteries of World War II: How We Chose To Honor Our Dead

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Four hundred thousand Americans lost their lives during the Second World War, many of whom are buried in national cemeteries in the continental United States, as well as others across the globe. Historian Christopher Hamner surveys the design and character of several of those cemeteries and examines how decisions made in the late 1940s and ’50s helped shape the way Americans remember that conflict.

Lecture/Seminar

The Ritchie Boys, Nisei, and WWII: The Language of War

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

During World War II, two groups of unconventional recruits from the Military Intelligence Training Service brought invaluable linguistic skills to their work as translators, interpreters, and interrogators: young European Jewish refugees and second-generation Japanese Americans. Historian David Frey tells the story of their wartime contributions and their enduring effects on the culture and politics of the Cold War-era.

Lecture/Seminar

How to Travel Again 2.0: More Up-to-the-Minute Expert Tips

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The pandemic continues to upend the travel industry—and nearly everyone’s getaway plans. To assist aspiring travelers, Washington Post travel writer Andrea Sachs; Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks; and Karin King, deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizen services, offer a field guide to this new and sometimes-confounding landscape and share the best resources for staying safe, healthy, and well-informed so you can relax on your long-overdue trip.

Lecture/Seminar

Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington

Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For decades, the specter of homosexuality haunted Washington: The mere suggestion someone might be gay destroyed reputations, ended careers, and ruined lives. James Kirchick discusses individuals who courageously decided that the source of their private shame could instead be galvanized for public pride.

Lecture/Seminar

Destination Cities: Santa Fe

Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Santa Fe offers something for everyone, especially travelers interested in art, wellness, history, and outdoor adventures. PBS television host Darley Newman shares great tips for getting the most out of your visit and uncovers some of the locally loved hidden gems that you might overlook.

Lecture/Seminar

Palladio: Designing the Renaissance

Friday, June 3, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Italian Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores the life and career of Andrea Palladio (1508–1580), arguably the most influential architect in the Western world. His works range from magnificent villas in the Veneto to churches in Venice. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Lost Civilizations: The Phoenicians

Monday, June 6, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Phoenicians might not have survived the turmoil of antiquity, but their legacy endures. Yet, despite their many achievements, they remain an enigma. Author and lecturer Vadim S. Jigoulov, addresses the questions surrounding Phoenician identity, describes the scope of their maritime exploits, and discusses their portrayals in works by Greek and Jewish authors.

Lecture/Seminar

Dangerous Music

Monday, June 6, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Too political, too sensuous, too crude, too abstract: Works by even the most celebrated of composers—including Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky—became targets for outrage and censorship. Lecturer and concert pianist Rachel Franklin looks at several once-controversial musical works and the uproars, scandals, and even brawls they inspired during their times.

Lecture/Seminar

From the Hays Code to X-Rated Movies: A History of Hollywood Censorship

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From its beginnings, motion pictures have delighted the public—and upset civic and religious authorities who felt that movies needed to be regulated to protect “innocent” minds and discourage immorality. Media expert Brian Rose surveys years of movie censorship and the many ways Hollywood has tried to deal with this ever-evolving issue.

Lecture/Seminar

Dead Sea Scrolls: Determining Their Legitimacy

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

After supposed fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls purchased by wealthy evangelical collectors were discovered to be fake, questions about the methods and ethics involved in validating ancient textual fragments have divided scholars and institutions. Colette Loll, a leading art-fraud expert, explains new scientific protocols designed to restore confidence in the arcane world of authenticating textual artifacts and delves into how ideological biases affect the way collectors and experts view important religious materials.

Lecture/Seminar

The Presence of Mister Rogers: Preserving Humanity in the Digital Age

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Fred Rogers’ extraordinary capacity to connect with his audience made him an endearing figure to the millions of children (and grown-ups) who watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood over its 33-year run. Steven M. Emmanuel of Virginia Wesleyan University examines how Rogers was able to create a personal presence that radiated care, compassion, and humanity in the impersonal medium of television—and finds lessons for today.

Lecture/Seminar

The War that Made the Roman Empire

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

After Julius Caesar’s assassination, Romans wondered who would rule Rome? Would it be his former lieutenant, Mark Antony, or chosen heir Octavian? Historian Barry Strauss shines a new light on the campaign that proved pivotal for the leadership of Rome, as well as the three players at the heart of a fascinating narrative of jealousy, violence, love, deception, and desperation.

Lecture/Seminar

Papal Avignon

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The first pope’s arrival in Avignon in 1309 changed both the papacy and this French city on the Rhône forever—and not always for the better. Charlie Steen, professor of history at the University of New Mexico, explores this alternative court and how lavish expenditure on art, architecture, and entertainment by popes created a hedonistic rather than a pious environment.

Lecture/Seminar

Palimpsests: Hidden Texts Revealed by Technology

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Palimpsests—parchment manuscripts that have had their original text scrubbed off and overwritten—are now sharing long-held secrets through technologies adapted from satellite imaging, medicine, and other fields. Michael B. Toth of R. B. Toth Associates leads a fascinating scientific and historical trek as he reviews how he and his teams have brought forgotten early texts to light in projects that span the globe.

Lecture/Seminar

Reptiles and Amphibians: A Closer Look

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join naturalist and salamander enthusiast Matt Felperin for an introduction to the fascinating world of herpetofauna, or “herps.” Otherwise known as reptiles and amphibians, these largely misunderstood animals are more interesting than you have probably imagined them to be.

Lecture/Seminar

When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation

Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In June 1940, German tanks entered Paris, the first militant step in what would stretch into four years of foreign occupation. Historian and author Ronald C. Rosbottom examines the era from the first days through the last as he reveals details of daily life in a wartime city under military and civilian occupation, and the brave people who fought against it.

Lecture/Seminar

Beer: A Taste of American History

Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Theresa McCulla, curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the National Museum of American History, traces the development of American beer through artifacts from Smithsonian collections and offers a guided tasting of four beer styles that flow through brewing history from the 1700s to today.

Lecture/Seminar

Royal Rivals: The Cartiers and Fabergé

Friday, June 10, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

When the French jewelry firm Cartier and Russian Carl Fabergé decided to open showrooms abroad—on the same street in London—the scene was set for an epic international battle. Join curator Kieran McCarthy, a Fabergé specialist, and author Francesca Cartier Brickell, a Cartier descendant, for a sumptuously illustrated talk about the relationship and rivalry between two of the greatest names in luxury in the early 20th century.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The History of Vaccines

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Though humanity has benefited from them for more than two centuries, the pathway to effective vaccines has been neither neat nor direct. Medical historian Howard Markel traces the history of vaccines and immunization from its late-18th-century beginnings and how it may inform long-term solutions to contemporary problems with vaccine research, production, and supplies.

Lecture/Seminar

La Brea Tar Pits: Peril and Promise

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the heart of Los Angeles, geologic processes created the La Brea Tar Pits, the richest Ice Age fossil site on Earth. Learn what happened to this lost world, and what it means for our planet today, in a virtual tour of the site that covers 20 million years, from ancient seabed to LA’s modern car culture.

Lecture/Seminar

Yayoi Kusama at the Hirshhorn: Presenting "Eternity"

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden set records with its 2017 exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, which featured the Japanese artist’s acclaimed polka dots and spellbinding visions. Now, the museum has opened One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection, which debuts new acquisitions by Kusama, including two of her renowned Infinity Mirror Rooms. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Manhattan Project’s Long Shadow

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The creation of the top-secret Manhattan Project in 1941 led to the first atomic bomb in 1945, which fundamentally changed the nature of American life and international relations. Explore the Manhattan Project’s history with historian Allen Pietrobon and how the existence of nuclear weapons forever changed the world.

Lecture/Seminar

A Gourmet's Ireland

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Bloomsday is a good day to join food historian Francine Segan in a celebration of Ireland’s culinary treats. She sprinkles her conversation with fun trivia on topics from shamrocks to leprechauns and limericks—and tips on traveling to Ireland to taste for yourself!

Lecture/Seminar

Judy Garland: A 100th Birthday Tribute

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

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 television specials.

Lecture/Seminar

On the Female of the Species

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: Join zoologist and author Lucy Cooke as she introduces the remarkable animals that are revolutionizing our understanding of what it means to be female and challenging longstanding ideas about evolutionary biology.

Program

Women in Jazz: On and Off the Concert Stage

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In a lecture-concert presentation, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's artistic director Charlie Young highlights the contributions of some of the leading women in jazz as the SJMO performs music they’ve made famous.

Lecture/Seminar

Florence: Where the Renaissance Began

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florence is replete with frescoes, paintings, sculpture, and architecture created in an era in which art was the cornerstone of cultural activity. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces the history of this jewel of a city from the dawn of the Renaissance to the era of the Medici dukes. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

American Presidents in Popular Culture: From Reverence to Respect to Ridicule

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

It has become harder for presidents to generate a positive image in popular culture. The respect the position once enjoyed has been increasingly replaced by skepticism and often ridicule. Veteran White House correspondent Ken Walsh looks at how presidents—both real and fictional—have been portrayed in popular culture and how they’ve handled the barbs directed at them.

Lecture/Seminar

Women Astronomers Reach for the Stars

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

For much of the 20th century, the doors of opportunity stayed closed to women in astronomy, but after decades of difficult struggles they are closer to equality than ever before. Virginia Trimble, co-editor of the new anthology The Sky Is for Everyone, is joined by two of the book’s contributors to discuss the stories of the tough and determined women who shaped a transformative era in astronomy.

Lecture/Seminar

Longwood Gardens: A Close-up Look

Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

In a virtual tour of Longwood Gardens grounds and newly reopened Orchid House with orchid expert Barb Schmidt, learn how it’s more than beautiful flower displays…it’s an important center for horticultural science.

Lecture/Seminar

What Is the Universe Made Of?

Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Though we know a great deal about the universe, its history, and its composition, there’s still more to learn. Physicist Michael Dine explores the great mysteries that drive much current research in theoretical and experimental physics and astrophysics.

Lecture/Seminar

Ancient Assyria: Art and Empire

Friday, June 24, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Between the ninth and seventh centuries B.C., the rulers of Assyria, a small kingdom in what is today northern Iraq, expanded through conquest to dominate the area from Egypt to Iran and created a series of magnificent royal cities adorned with palaces and temples. Paul Collins, a leading authority on the art of ancient Mesopotamia, leads a journey through these palaces to reveal how they were designed to ensure that Assyrian kingship would exist for all eternity. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Unexpected Australia: Game-Changing Wines and Vines Down Under

Friday, June 24, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Expand your knowledge of the world of wine as you sip along with sommelier Erik Segelbaum in an exploration of the unexplored side of Australian wine. Part of a 3-session spring series, this immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar

Geraldine Brooks on the Heart of a Horse: A Novelist's Portrait

Monday, June 27, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: Pulitzer Prize–winning author Geraldine Brooks discusses her newest novel, Horse, which explores art and science, the bond between people and animals, and the continuing story of race and injustice.

Lecture/Seminar

The Holy Sepulchre: Circles of Faith and Art

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join Barbara Drake Boehm, the Paul and Jill Ruddock curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, to explore the remarkable Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the rhythms of history and intersecting circles of faith have given shape to an extraordinary artistic monument and a unique and vital place of worship worthy of close attention. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Los Angeles: An Emerging Megalopolis

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture, examines developments from the 1930s onward that shaped Los Angeles as a magnet for population migration and a major center of industry.

Lecture/Seminar

The Cradle of American Gardening: 300 Years of Philadelphia Horticultural History

Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The Philadelphia region enjoys a tradition of horticulture that goes back to the city's inception in the late 17th century. Explore the cultural, political, economic, and even religious factors that influenced the surprising evolution of gardening and the establishment of world-class horticultural institutions in the region.

Lecture/Seminar

The Hawk's Way: Encounters with Fierce Beauty

Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

After spending time with Jazz, a feisty, four-year-old female Harris’s hawk, naturalist Sy Montgomery shares what these magnificent birds of prey can teach us about nature, life, and love.

Lecture/Seminar

Smithsonian Secretaries: 175 Years of Challenges and Achievements

Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Throughout its history, the Smithsonian Institution has been shaped by just 14 secretaries, each interpreting and adapting founder James Smithson’s educational mandate in the context of their times. Smithsonian historian Pamela Henson focuses on five leaders who have left the largest imprints, from Joseph Henry, the institution’s first head, to Lonnie G. Bunch III, the current—and first African American—secretary.

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Alexandria

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Alexandria as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

Paris: A Virtual Adventure of the Right Bank

Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The storyline of Paris can be followed along its iconic River Seine. Journey with travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy as you discover the city’s most intriguing sites, historical aspects, and art on the Right Bank in this virtual series that uses maps, photos, videos, and other visuals.

Lecture/Seminar

Western and Asian Religious Views of Humanity

Monday, July 11, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Charles Jones, a professor of religion at Catholic University of America, explores the differences in how Western and Asian religions embrace dissimilar concepts of humanity—and how that plays into specific problems of moral reasoning and ideas about human destiny with unexpected outcomes.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The 3rd of May by Francisco Goya. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Everyone makes mistakes. But were the signature theories of great scientists like Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein free of blunders? Absolutely not. Distinguished astrophysicist Mario Livio demonstrates that mistakes are an essential part of scientific progress.

Lecture/Seminar

Historic Congressional Cemetery: Stories to Tell

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Congressional Cemetery’s grounds, stones, and people buried there all have stories to tell—the stories of American history. Learn the cemetery’s fascinating stories and unique history with the cemetery's president, Jackie Spainhour.

Lecture/Seminar

60 Years of Bond, James Bond

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

You’ll be shaken, if not stirred, by this multimedia presentation—unredacted and for your eyes only!—where the mission is to crack the code behind the high-tech glamour, globetrotting excitement, and enduring popularity of the 007 film cycle.

Lecture/Seminar

Paris: A Virtual Adventure of the Left Bank

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The storyline of Paris can be followed along its iconic River Seine. Journey with travel writer Barbara Noe Kennedy as you discover the city’s most intriguing sites, historical aspects, and art on the Left Bank in this virtual series that uses maps, photos, videos, and other visuals.

Lecture/Seminar

Caravaggio and Bernini: Loves and Rivalries in the Age of the Baroque

Friday, July 15, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET

The Baroque period is characterized by the spirit of competition among great painters, sculptors, and architects. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine explores the spirit of admiration and rivalry that shaped the work of Caravaggio and Bernini, both in relation to Michelangelo and their own contemporaries. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Sunday, July 17, 2022 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

Historian Laura A. Macaluso traces the development of George Washington’s Mount Vernon from a traditional Virginia farmhouse to a splendid Georgian mansion. She addresses the workings of Mount Vernon both as a house and as part of an 8,000-acre plantation on which more than 300 enslaved men, women, and children lived and worked.

Lecture/Seminar

A Geologic Tour of Switzerland

Monday, July 18, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join a geologist for an overview of the fascinating geology of Switzerland, birthplace of the science of glaciology, as he surveys the evolution of the Alps and the Ice Age glaciation that sculpted the country’s landscape.

Lecture/Seminar

All Shook Up: Hollywood Learns To Rock

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Rock music exploded on the big screen in 1955 when Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” played behind the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at rock movies’ first decade and how Hollywood benefited from the power of this music—and its target audience—around the world.

Lecture/Seminar

King Arthur: Fact and Fiction

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Historian Jennifer Paxton examines the evidence for and against the existence of a 5th-century warrior leader named Arthur and traces the growth of his legend.

Lecture/Seminar

The Spice Routes: Culture and Cuisine

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

We take spices for granted today, but our spice cabinets are home to commodities that were once so exotic and desired that the excitement and competition they elicited spurred a complex sea trade that changed the course of history, the foods we eat, and who we are. Food writer Eleanor Ford traces the rich story of the ancient spice routes and explores how centuries of international trade laid the foundations for the modern world.

Lecture/Seminar

The Hudson River School

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Beginning in the early 19th century, the Hudson River School—a loose fraternity of American landscape artists—was neither a school nor confined to the Hudson River Valley. Art historian Bonita Billman examines the work and influence of Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole, Frederic E. Church, Asher B. Durand, and others. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Cordoba, Venice, Cairo

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Cordoba, Venice, and Cairo as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

Voices of Freedom: Poets of the Abolitionist Movement

Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

By 1830, Washington, D.C. was one of the nation’s most important sites for the interstate slave trade. In response, the region’s abolitionist movement became particularly important. Join poet and author Kim Roberts as she traces the abolitionist history of the region and highlights writers whose poems were seen as unique forms of moral persuasion on the subjects of slavery and abolition.

Lecture/Seminar

Understanding the Krebs Cycle: The Deep Chemistry of Life and Death

Friday, July 22, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Krebs cycle generates the building blocks of life and fuels the furnace of respiration. Biochemist Nick Lane offers an overview of this complex pathway within our cells that could answer questions from the origins of life to the devastation of cancer.

Lecture/Seminar

Old-World vs. New-World Wines

Friday, July 22, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The long and sometimes not-so-friendly competition between Old World and New World wine regions has produced some notable challengers and amazing tales. Award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum leads a blind tasting of pairs of wines from each of the winemaking worlds. Part of a 3-session summer series, this immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar

Naming a Secret: The Underground Railroad

Monday, July 25, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

How and why did the 19th-century network of clandestine routes to freedom come to be known as the Underground Railroad when in reality it was neither? Historian Richard Bell examines the term’s mysterious origins and its effectiveness in building public support for the antislavery movement and in pushing the cause of Black freedom to the center of national debate by the eve of the Civil War.

Lecture/Seminar

Why Sharks Matter

Monday, July 25, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Sharks are some of the most fascinating, ecologically important, threatened, and misunderstood animals on Earth. Touching on everything from Shark Week to shark fin soup, overfishing to marine sanctuaries, conservation biologist David Shiffman reveals why these iconic predators are in trouble, why we should care, and how scientists, conservationists, and individuals can save them.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Shooting Stars and Space Rocks

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Meteors, or shooting stars, are among the night sky’s most captivating phenomena. Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, provides an introductory overview of meteors and meteorites along with tips on where, when, and how to watch for annual meteor showers such as the Perseids and Leonids.

Lecture/Seminar

The Story of the House of Windsor: What’s in a Name?

Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the history of the House of Windsor, including its four monarchs, the royal family's German heritage, and its image in modern times.

Lecture/Seminar

Good for the Land, Good for Us: How Farming Can Improve Human Health

Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The health of the soil on farms has a direct relation to the health of crops and livestock—and ultimately, our own. Drawing on their new book What Your Food Ate, David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé examine why regenerative farming practices, which strengthen the vitality of soil, can also offer untapped potential for improving human health.

Lecture/Seminar

Follow the Music: An All-American Road Trip

Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

You love the songs that are the soundtrack of your life. Join national travel journalist and broadcaster Bill Clevlen on a virtual road trip to the places where they were born and where iconic performers made history. It’s a memorable cross-country journey into the heart of American music that just might inspire your own.

Lecture/Seminar

Art, Architecture, and Ambition in Aragonese Naples

Friday, July 29, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The fall of Naples in 1442 not only brought Spanish rule, it transformed the city into a vital center of artistic production. Join Sophia D’Addio, a lecturer in art history at Columbia University, in an exploration of paintings, sculptures, medals, and architecture commissioned by the Aragonese rulers of Naples, most notably the commissions and collections of King Alfonso of Aragon. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Caravaggio: The Cursed Painter

Monday, August 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET

Caravaggio (1571–1610) not only revolutionized painting at the turn of the 16th century with his hyper-realistic style, he often turned Rome on its head with his criminal behavior. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, traces Caravaggio’s works and how they are intimately tied to his personal demons.  (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

“Into the Jaws of Death”: Fighting the Crimean War

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The brutal Crimean War exemplified the kind of competition among mighty European nations seen through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Historian Christopher Hamner provides an overview of this war, emphasizing the ways it straddled the traditional and the modern ways to wage war—and informed other nations’ preparations for future conflicts.

Lecture/Seminar

How the Ninth Street Women Conquered the Art World

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the 1950s, the spotlight on New York City’s abstract expressionist movement nearly always fell on male painters. But a group of female abstract expressionists called the “Ninth Street Women” were also making important contributions. Art historian Nancy G. Heller examines these women’s art and lives, their relationships with their male counterparts, and the gender-related obstacles they had to overcome to claim their place in a changing art world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Toledo, Palermo, Granada, Istanbul

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Toledo, Palermo, Granada, and Istanbul as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

The Mystical Core in Traditional Religions

Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Using sacred texts, music, art, and other forms of expression, Graham M. Schweig examines the meaning, role, and practice of mysticism. In the process, he discusses what mystical traditions reveal about the relationship between humans and the divine.

Lecture/Seminar

Hopper and Hitchcock: Spectatorship and Voyeurism in Art and Film

Sunday, August 7, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Alfred Hitchcock and American painter Edward Hopper, an unlikely artistic pair, shared a rich and complex vision deeply affected by the traditions of film noir. Using film stills and paintings, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, explores the formal and thematic links between these artists. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Secret History of Home Economics

Monday, August 8, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The term home economics may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But according to author Danielle Dreilinger, the once-revolutionary “science of better living” that exploded job opportunities for women in the 20th century still has something to teach us today: that everyone should learn how to cook a meal, balance their bank account, and fight for a better world.

Lecture/Seminar

The French Revolution and the Birth of Modernity

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The French Revolution, starting in 1789, was one of the most significant upheavals in world history. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze examines this pivotal moment that continues to serve as an inspiration of the finest principles of modern democracy.

Lecture/Seminar

Animal Behavior: How It Evolves and Why It Matters

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In an exploration of animal behavior in all its glorious complexity, biologist Marlene Zuk goes beyond the nature-versus-nurture debate to focus on the interaction between genes and the environment. Driving her investigation is an essential question: How does behavior evolve in animals—and humans?

Lecture/Seminar

Great Gothic Cathedrals of the High Middle Ages: Awe, Wonder, and Imagination

Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore the fascinating connections between local medieval communities and the construction of great Gothic monuments to faith, believed to be the purest expression of shared life with historian Cheryl White. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

African-Jewish Cooking: A Cultural Crossroads with Culinary Historian Michael W. Twitty

Friday, August 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-Person and Online Program: Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty is fascinated by the marriage of two of the most distinctive culinary cultures in the world today: the foods and traditions of the African Atlantic and the global Jewish diaspora. Join the James Beard Award–winning author as he explores the crossroads of these cuisines, as well as issues of memory and identity that grow from them.

Lecture/Seminar

French Fairytales

Monday, August 15, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Once upon a time, fairy tales were not the short, simple children’s stories we all know. Instead, they often carried subtle messages or warnings, or ridiculed powerful figures. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these mostly forgotten tales and their deeper meanings.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Breakout! Allied Operations After D-Day

Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The June 6, 1944, landings in occupied France by British, Canadian, and American soldiers constituted only the first phase of Operation Overlord. The early successes were followed by weeks of Allied frustration and horrific casualties in the face of German forces. Kevin Weddle, a professor of military theory and strategy, examines why the story of the ultimate Allied breakout is one of innovation, imagination, determined leadership, and German mistakes—and was as important and instrumental in the final Allied victory over Nazi Germany as any other D-Day battle.

Lecture/Seminar

Seeking the Lost Colony of Roanoke

Thursday, August 18, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

This first attempt by the English to settle the New World ended in the disappearance of 115 people in 1587 on what is now the North Carolina coast. It still remains an unsolved mystery. Andrew Lawler, a longtime science journalist, examines both old archival material and new archaeological data to provide up-to-date insights on the Roanoke settlers.

Lecture/Seminar

Destination Cities: St. Louis

Thursday, August 18, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

From charming parks to neighborhoods that reflect a rich immigrant heritage to terrific beer and BBQ, St Louis, Missouri, has much to offer visitors. PBS television host Darley Newman leads a lively virtual tour of the city, uncovering the lesser-known backstories of its iconic landmarks and locally loved hidden gems—and plenty of reasons why St. Louis is an ideal destination.

Lecture/Seminar

Secrets of the Sommelier

Friday, August 19, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The path to becoming a wine expert is long, arduous, and intensive. Award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum offers a chance to accelerate your learning by sharing the tips, tricks, and secrets to tasting and selecting wines like a world-class pro. Part of a 3-session summer series, this immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar

The Age of Confucius

Monday, August 22, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Historian Justin M. Jacobs analyzes the exciting intellectual ferment of the age of Confucius and the thinkers who followed in his footsteps during the Warring States era: Mozi, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and Han Feizi. The lively exchange of ideas among these philosophers helped define Chinese civilization itself and set the stage for the next two thousand years of dynasties and empires.

Lecture/Seminar

Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters: America’s Arts and Crafts Movement

Monday, August 22, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the late 19th century, Elbert Hubbard, a salesman for Buffalo’s Larkin Soap Company, fused the ideals of the British Arts and Crafts movement with his strong business sense to create the artistic and philosophical community called Roycroft in East Aurora, New York. Alan Nowicki, program director at the Roycroft campus, traces its influential flourishing, its demise, and its restoration that captures its former glory.

Lecture/Seminar

Bridges of Light and Time: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing inspired by art guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Join her and step into the colors, light, and forms of Claude Monet’s exquisite The Japanese Footbridge to explore the bridge as a metaphor for the thresholds and journeys of our lives.

Lecture/Seminar

Jazz: Modern Soundscapes in Film

Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Some of the world’s greatest movie scores were composed by some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians. With film clips, commentary, and live piano demonstrations, concert musician and movie fanatic Rachel Franklin delves into the hidden magic of some of the finest jazz-inspired music from films including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sweet Smell of Success, Alfie, and Birdman.

Lecture/Seminar

DC’s Black Broadway: Remembering U Street’s Brightest Lights

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Long before today’s restaurants, boutiques, and luxury high-rises, Washington’s U Street was known as the city’s vibrant Black Broadway. Author Briana A. Thomas brings to life the historic U Street neighborhood’s heritage of arts, entertainment, and commerce from the early triumphs of emancipation to the recent struggles of gentrification.

Lecture/Seminar

Indigenous Civilizations of the Southwest: Transitions and Innovations

Thursday, August 25, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Recent discoveries suggest that Indigenous peoples have lived in the area we know as the American Southwest for more than 22,000 years. Jon Ghahate of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque examines how these early inhabitants utilized science-based constructs as they shifted from nomadic hunter-gatherer family groups to more socially complex agrarian communities of thousands of inhabitants.

Lecture/Seminar

The Volcanic Pulse of Italy

Monday, August 29, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Italy has long been a focal point for the field of volcanology, thanks to many notable sites such as Vesuvius, Etna, Stromboli, and Vulcano. Join volcanologist Kirt Kempter for an exploration of the country’s volcanic past, present, and future.

Lecture/Seminar

Art + History: Evening Encores

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you’ve not experienced Paul Glenshaw’s dynamic series Art + History, in which he examines great works of art in their historical context, now’s your chance. In this summer series, he reprises six of his earlier daytime sessions in livestreamed evening programs. In this session, Glenshaw discusses Gassed by John Singer Sargent. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Brunelleschi and Ghiberti: The Rivalry that Ignited the Renaissance

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The 1401 competition between master artists Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi for the commission to create a set of bronze doors for the Florence Baptistry is generally considered the event that fueled the Renaissance. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Italian Renaissance, explores the creative duel that led to competitions among great artists becoming one of the central leitmotifs of the period. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Medici Villas: Tuscan Inspiration

Friday, September 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Used variously for pleasure and sports, scholarly pursuits, commercial enterprise, botanical experimentation, and amorous liaisons, the villas of the Medici family both expressed and influenced contemporary ideas on politics, philosophy, art, and design. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores several of the Medici’s public interests and private passions—and the architects they employed to create the luxurious backdrops for them. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

The Vice Presidency: Power on Hold

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Once dismissed as “not worth a bucket of warm spit,” over the years the vice presidency has emerged as a more respected position since its office holders became closer high-level policy advisers to presidents. Veteran White House correspondent, historian, and author Ken Walsh explores how those who served in the second-highest post in American government contributed to the evolving state of the vice presidency.

Lecture/Seminar

Nikola Tesla: An Inventor Re-invents Military Technology

Friday, September 9, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In the 21st century, the life and accomplishments of inventor, engineer, and futurist Nikola Tesla have risen from almost total obscurity to topics of fresh interest. Author Marc J. Seifer, one of the world’s leading Tesla experts, surveys his most significant discoveries that continue to influence today's military technology and diplomatic strategies.

Lecture/Seminar

Exploring the American Revolution: Yorktown and the French Alliance

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The climactic battle of the American Revolution, the siege of Yorktown, was a decisive win for George Washington’s Continental Army. Historian Richard Bell analyzes why it was also a triumph for the unlikely but essential wartime alliance forged between patriot revolutionaries and France’s king, Louis XVI.

Lecture/Seminar

Rockin' TV: From Elvis to the Monkees

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Though rock music found a surprising home on mainstream TV in the mid-1950s, the 1964 appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” would change the face of pop culture, leading to an explosion of televised rock. Media expert Brian Rose offers a lively survey of the fascinating history of how rock and television grew up together.

Lecture/Seminar

Insurrection in a Bavarian Beer Hall: Hitler’s Failed Putsch and Its Consequences

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Munich was not Adolf Hitler’s hometown, but when he made it the headquarters of the Nazi party it became a critical steppingstone in his political rise. Historian Michael Brenner delves into what happened in that city during the ensuing years, why its transformation is crucial for understanding the Nazi era and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and how a failed coup known as the beer hall putsch turned into a successful grab for power many years later.

Lecture/Seminar

Regency London's "Ton": The Business of Pleasure

Monday, September 19, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

As fans of “Bridgerton” know, the “Ton” were the envied, trendsetting celebrities of the early 19th century. Historian Julie Taddeo looks beyond the glamour to examine the men and women who lived "in the fashionable mode" and for whom exacting rules circumscribed every area of social and personal conduct.

Lecture/Seminar

Miles Davis: Prince of Style

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Miles Davis was a restless innovator, controversial celebrity, and the dominant jazz figure of the second half of the 20th century. In a program highlighted by clips and musical recordings, John Edward Hasse, longtime curator of American music at the National Museum of American History, recounts Davis’s struggles against racism, convention, and his own demons.

Lecture/Seminar

Building the Panama Canal: A Controversial Symbol of American Might

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Building the Panama Canal early in the 20th century was either a bold, decisive diplomatic stroke that claimed America’s rightful place on the world stage or a crude display of arrogance and corruption. Historian Ralph Nurnberger examines the sweep of the canal saga and addresses such problematic issues as why the U.S. claimed the right to build a canal in another country, and why Panama was chosen.

Lecture/Seminar

The Ultimate Guide to the Food-Friendly Wines of Beaujolais

Friday, September 23, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The marvelous region that straddles Burgundy and the Rhône Valley has much more to offer than the Beaujolais Nouveau. In a tasting led by award-winning sommelier Erik Segelbaum, discover why wine professionals and foodies alike consider the white, pink, and red rainbow of Beaujolais the perfect wines for fall and the holidays. Part of a 3-session summer series, this immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar

Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life

Monday, September 26, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

As the leader of a team of federal agents known as the Untouchables, Eliot Ness’ two-fisted enforcement of Prohibition-era laws and relentless pursuit of mob boss Al Capone cemented his image as the embodiment of uncompromising justice. Join author Daniel Stashower and actor Scott Seder as they bring this icon to life, from his early exploits in Chicago to his unprecedented manhunt for America’s version of Jack the Ripper.

Lecture/Seminar

Margaret Beaufort and the Making of the Tudor Dynasty

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Margaret Beaufort cannily navigated the Wars of the Roses with a single goal in mind: assuring the royal future of her son Henry Tudor, later King Henry VII. Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the rise of this matriarch within the fractious courts of the late 15th century and why she emerged as one of the most powerful women in England.

Lecture/Seminar

Whistler: Departing from Tradition in Making Art

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

James Abbott McNeill Whistler is celebrated for his bold and innovative style in a variety of media—all informed by influences that encompass the Aesthetic movement, Asian art, and his own experimentation with abstract color and composition. Art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine takes a close look at how these ideals were expressed in his work, whether seen in subtle tonal landscapes or portrayals of women. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)