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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Lectures

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

Volcanic activity occurs in almost every corner of the solar system, even in the most unexpected of locations. Geologist and cosmochemist Natalie Starkey guides a fascinating exploration of the tallest, coldest, hottest, and most unusual volcanoes and their origins.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Plat du Jour, French for dish of the day, is announced on chalkboards displayed in front of France’s restaurants, cafes, brasseries, and bistros. Cooking teacher, author and journalist Susan Herrmann Loomis highlights this iconic part of a set menu.  Virtually enter her Parisian kitchen as she shares what the cook needs to know to make a delicious plat du jour.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The Amur River is the tenth longest river in the world—yet it is almost unknown. The river rises in the Mongolian mountains, then flows through Siberia to the Pacific. Colin Thubron brings alive a pivotal world as he recounts an eye-opening, often-perilous journey from the Amur’s secret headwaters to the river’s desolate end.

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

Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman share the surprising history of Grimms Fairytales, and how these tales—too often dismissed as simple children's stories—have profoundly shaped Western culture.

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

He went from bobby-soxers’ dreamboat to the Chairman of the Board—and he did it his way. Music historian John Edward Hasse toasts the unmistakable voice that defined Sinatra’s stardom.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, culinary historian and award-winning cookbook author Grace Young writes of how for centuries the Chinese carried their woks and stir-frying techniques around the globe. In America, beginning around the late-19th century, Chinese immigrants struggled to establish themselves in cities and small towns—from San Francisco to the Mississippi Delta—while contending as well with poverty, discrimination, and to this day, anti-Asian bias.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 1, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Springtime in Washington is legendary, but what about that other fabulous season, fall? Join author and tree expert Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a virtual tour through autumn in the capital and see why its beauty should be as celebrated as spring’s cherry blossoms.

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.

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

Can a Renaissance feast tell us about perspective in painting? Drawing on his new book The Hungry Eye, Leonard Barkan, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University, explores the central role of food and drink in literature, art, philosophy, religion, and statecraft from antiquity to the Renaissance.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

When Hernando Cortés and his company of conquistadores landed near present-day Veracruz, Mexico, in April of 1519, he kept hearing “Motecuhzoma, Motecuhzoma, Motecuhzoma.” This was Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, king of the Mexica and emperor of the powerful Aztec empire. Anthropologist Frances F. Berdan examines some of the most interesting (and often misunderstood) aspects of Aztec life.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The official and personal residences of Queen Elizabeth II scattered through the United Kingdom are magnificent living palaces, estates, and castles that are used daily to serve the needs of the royal family. Join Andrew Lannerd to explore the vibrant history of each of these famed residences in detail, including behind-the-scenes accounts of events such as a royal wedding at Windsor Castle and a private party that celebrated the queen’s 80th birthday.

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

There’s no mystery why the fame of Sherlock Holmes now stretches into a third century or why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is firmly established as one of the most popular and best-loved writers of all time. Writer Daniel Stashower, author of Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, and actor Scott Sedar investigate the life and works of the legendary sleuth of Baker Street and his creator.

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Hudson River landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropse and poetry by Mary Oliver, explore the lessons that the season of autumn offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

Award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. Join him in conversation with bestselling cookbook author Ina Garten as they discuss his favorite food memories; his recent series for CNN; his new book, Taste: My Life Through Food; and what he’s most looking forward to in the future of food. Mangia!

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 8, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Ambitious, extravagant, progressive, and oftentimes sexually notorious, the Sforza family took over the ducal throne of Milan in 1450, ushering in a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo reveals how Milan and its rulers exemplified the political, cultural, religious, and economic aspirations of Renaissance Italy. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The Patagonia region of South America has long attracted naturalists and explorers to unravel the mysteries of its dramatic landscape. Join geologist Kirt Kempter on a virtual tour of the region including highlights such as national parks, glaciers, and several picturesque volcanoes of the southern Andes.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. ET

From day one of the Covid pandemic, Anthony Fauci has been front and center in the fight to destroy the virus. After a brief respite, the virus, in a mutated form, has created a new crisis. Join the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as he helps us understand—from a scientific viewpoint—where we have been and what we need to know going forward.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Historian Alexander Mikaberidze breaks with the traditional focus on Napoleon and instead explores his remarkable family which produced two emperors and three kings, not to mention princes, poets, neurotics, heroes of the French Résistance, and even the founder of the FBI.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Albert Barnes amassed 181 works by Pierre-August Renoir—the world’s largest collection. Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen uses high-definition Deep Zoom technology to offer remarkable close-up views of his paintings as she examines his stylistic changes over the years, and discusses Barnes’ great affinity for Renoir, especially his late works. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Hudson River landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropse and poetry by Mary Oliver, explore the lessons that the season of autumn offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 15, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

In this members-only series led by veteran arts educator Roberta Gasbarre, go behind the scenes and into the working lives of some of the most intriguing people from all across the Smithsonian and Washington’s worlds of culture, science, and education. This program features Elizabeth Beck, director of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, on the Smithsonian’s craft shows.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 15, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Spend a fascinating Friday evening expanding your knowledge of the world of wine as you sip along with sommelier Erik Segelbaum in a series of delectable adventures. This immersive program showcases Loire Valley wines and includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, October 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Understanding the machinations of British diplomacy during World War I is essential to comprehending today’s Middle East. Historian Ralph Nurnberger surveys the fascinating cast of characters involved in often-contradictory secret negotiations over boundaries, as well as how the results contributed to more than a century of conflicts in the region and the establishment of the modern states of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

During the Renaissance, artists began to portray plants and animals with increased fidelity to nature, and natural philosophers began to replace myths with scientific explanations of the natural world. Kay Etheridge, a biology professor at Gettysburg College, traces how revolutionary changes in the ways animals and plants were visually portrayed led to a transformation in our understanding of the world around us.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Who gets commemorated in art and why? Drawing on her new book Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern, noted classicist Mary Beard tells the story of how for more than two millennia portraits of the rich, powerful, and famous in the western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors, from the ruthless Julius Caesar to the fly-torturing Domitian. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Great art is timeless, and speaks to us across time, culture and space. Yet great works come from real people living real lives. Paul Glenshaw looks at three iconic works by Jacques-Louis David that capture Napoleon and how the collaboration of artist and subject established an imperial image for the world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Dorie Greenspan's name is synonymous with baking—and always-tempting recipies. Join her in conversation with Zoë François, host of "Zoë Bakes" on the Magnolia Network, as she reflects on the art of baking, shares stories and great home baking  tips, and talks about how she created her newest book, Baking With Dorie.

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

We live surrounded by drowned worlds according to geologist Patrick Nunn. Join him live from Australia as he recounts the histories of some of these shadow lands and what their understanding implies, drawing on research informed by science as well as human memories of submerged lands retained in oral traditions and eyewitness observations that became encoded in myth.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 22, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The greatest painter of the Venetian Renaissance, Titian, was also the first whose clientele was largely international. Art historian Elaine Ruffolo surveys how the golden age of the Serenissima Republic is reflected in the art Titian generated for its churches, confraternities, and palaces. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex riveted a public desperate for distraction from the ongoing pandemic. Historian Julie Taddeo explores their withdrawal from the royal family—Megxit—and its fallout within a larger historical context, linking it to past scandals from the Georgian era through the late 20th century.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In a pre-Halloween program to enthrall anyone yearning to lift the veil on our fascination with the eerie, morbid, and supernatural, British author and professor Roger Luckhurst introduces the world of Gothic fiction, film, and fine art. Expect vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other wonders to flicker into existence as you explore the topography of this shadowy territory.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Sumerians are famous as a people who created the world’s earliest civilization. Living on the fertile plains of what is today southern Iraq (ancient Sumer), they developed a flourishing culture between about 3500 and 2000 B.C. Paul Collins, a curator at Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum and author of The Sumerians: Lost Civilizations, tells the story of how a Sumerian people came to be “discovered” and how things are not always as they seem.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Hollywood can imagine impressive and convincing alien creatures, but is there any science behind our understanding of what extraterrestrial life might be like?  Although we don’t know whether they’ll be green, zoologist Arik Kershenbaum shares his insights into how familiar they might be, using lessons from the behaviors that we see in animals on our own planet.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Whether it be fish nurseries, migratory bird pit stops, or natural water filterers, wetlands provide near limitless value to humans and wildlife around the world. Naturalist Liana Vitali of Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, offers an audio-visual immersion into the marshes, ponds, swamps, and peat bogs of North America to discover just how important these ecosystems are to life on Earth.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Like a select few in music—Hoagy, Duke, Elvis, Wynton, Dolly—you recognize her by her first name alone. Join John Edward Hasse, co-curator of the long-running Smithsonian exhibition Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song, as he draws on film and video clips, rare photographs, and original recordings to provide insights into her extraordinary journey from shy orphan to beloved international celebrity.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

To wage their bitter war with the powerful British Empire from 1919 to 1921, Irish nationalists turned to novel tactics both military and political: a strategy of assassinations, hit-and-run raids, and—a new concept—urban guerrilla warfare. Historian Kevin Matthews discusses how this conflict set the standard for other independence struggles in the 20th century.

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
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 discovery of the double helix structure of DNA is the foundation of virtually every advance in our modern understanding of genetics and molecular biology. But the discovery of DNA’s structure is the story of five towering minds: Watson, Crick, Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, and Linus Pauling. Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine, provides a fascinating look at the discovery of DNA’s double helix.

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

Whether created by artists such as Calder, Oldenburg, and Christo or generated from within communities, public art can powerfully speak to viewers through a wide variety of images, messages, materials, and settings. Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton surveys public art’s many forms, its creative roots and makers, and its social value. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Since its very beginning, Hollywood has made audiences laugh in forms from slapstick to screwball, romance to social satire, musicals to gross-out teen films. Media expert Brian Rose looks at major highlights of screen comedy over the last 125 years, drawing on more than 40 examples from Hollywood’s funniest films. Prepare to LOL.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

To call Cokie Roberts a legendary journalist merely scratches the surface of the life of this bestselling author and champion for women who was a fixture on national radio and television for 40 years. Journalist, author, and educator Steve Roberts, Cokie’s husband of 53 years, reflects on her many accomplishments and how she lived each day with a devotion to helping others.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Actor, writer, and producer Kal Penn took a sabbatical from his entertainment career to serve as an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Obama—a very unexpected detour for the star of the Harold and Kumar movies and TV’s “House”. Join him as he draws from his new memoir You Can’t Be Serious to talk about his journey from Hollywood to Washington and back again, as well as why your life can have more stories and more choices than you thought.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The world's habitats are often organized into various categories that are mainly grounded in botany. But for an amateur naturalist, a more intuitive tool for identifying habitat classifications has been lacking—until now. Several professional nature guides discuss a new guide they’ve written that explains the entire globe's habitats from a much simpler perspective.

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.

Members-Only Program
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

In this members-only series led by veteran arts educator Roberta Gasbarre, go behind the scenes and into the working lives of some of the most intriguing people from all across the Smithsonian and Washington’s worlds of culture, science, and education. This program features Mandy Van Heuvelen, cultural interpreter manager at the National Museum of the American Indian, and film director Kelly Gardner discuss creating the multimedia museum theatre project Hear Me Say My Name.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Many iconic churches and palaces in Florence were constructed to represent wealth and power, but architect Filippo Brunelleschi’s Hospital of the Innocents was the first institution in the world to be dedicated to the well-being of children. Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo explores its architecture and magnificent charitable history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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 8, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s political outlook is grounded in the experiences of growing up in Oklahoma. She shares those valuable life lessons with the next generation of leaders—especially young girls—in her newest book, Pinkie Promises. Join Warren as she shares the inspiration behind the book, the meaning of “pinkie promises,” and what girls can achieve, even when told they cannot.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

What was it like to be a Jewish citizen in Venice between their settlement there in the 16th century to the end of World War II? From the beginning, the rules that governed Jewish life in the ghetto—a Venetian word—contrasted greatly with those outside the quarter. Historian Monica Chojnacka highlights the complicated history of the Venetian Jews and places it in the context of greater European history.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Eleanor of Aquitaine is the stuff of legend. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger considers how the many stories have grown from the real life of the ambitious and powerful woman who managed to become queen consort of England and France and shaped the reigns of two of England’s most famous kings: Richard the Lionheart and King John.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The elusive, complex, and baffling scent of the truffle sent James Beard-award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen down a rabbit hole. He emerged into a mysterious secretive world of black-market deals, obsessive chefs, and some very determined dogs. Hear Jacobsen’s colorful account of this world, and the memorable truffle hunters he met along the way.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Pure Land Buddhism—the most popular of the Buddhist traditions in the East—remains  surprisingly unknown in the West. For a closer look at its thought and practice, join Charles B. Jones, professor of religion at the Catholic University of America, who traces the practice’s history and shares some of the features and goals of this prevalent form of Buddhism.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

In the early years of the 20th century, Paris became a magnet for artists from all over the world and the birthplace for some of the principal innovations of modern art. Using high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes Foundation educator Penny Hansen guides a live virtual tour that highlights works in the museum’s collection by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, and Soutine that bring this seminal period to life. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 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 Oregon’s signature grapes. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

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

The distinctive rock-cut architecture of Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Badami, and other temple sites has captured the imaginations of India’s visitors and devotees for centuries. Art historian Robert DeCaroli examines what we know about their histories, how they were made, and what was required to maintain them in antiquity—as well as how they are being protected from threats today. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago and has become a part of the lives of many millions around the globe. Comparative religion scholar and yogi Graham M. Schweig examines the many facets of the practice as he answers the most basic of questions: What is yoga?

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

We often think of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome as discrete incubators of Western culture. However, Greece and Rome did not develop in isolation. The lands to the north of the Greek and Roman peninsulas were inhabited by non-literate communities that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains. Archaeologist Peter Bogucki reveals the development of these nearly forgotten people from the Stone Age through the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The ancient city of Ephesus in southwestern Turkey offers a sense of timelessness. Structures from the ancient world found there today include the Temple of Artemis—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient Word—the Library of Celsus, and Hadrian’s Temple. Author, filmmaker, and tour guide Serif Yenen highlights the rich history and archaeological wonders of Ephesus.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Art historian Bonita Billman examines how a group of painters created powerful and personal works that revealed unvarnished truths about urban life in the early 20th century. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

For thousands of years people have wondered if there are planets like Earth, if they’re common, and if any have signs of life. Sara Seager, a professor of physics and planetary science at MIT who is one of the leading experts on the search for Earth-like planets, shares the latest advances in this revolutionary field. Afterward, Peter Plavchan, a professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, brings the skies into your living room with remote control of the GMU Observatory.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Lady with the Unicorn tapestries celebrate a world in which unicorns—no less than lions, bunny rabbits, or refined ladies—surely exist. Barbara Drake Boehm, curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, leads a virtual visit to the Cluny Museum to explore the exceptionally rich imagery, the history—real and imagined—and meaning behind these charming early 16th-century masterpieces. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The Old English epic poem Beowulf tells the rollicking tale of a fearless hero who defeats two monsters and a dragon. But does the story contain a kernel of historical truth? And what can it teach us about life in early England? Jennifer Paxton, a scholar of English and Irish history, explores how Beowulf provides a window into a society that struggled to balance the competitive forces that the warrior ethos often unleashed.

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.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Kevin Tervala, associate curator of African art at the Baltimore Museum of Art, explores the monumental and aesthetically innovative structures made from mud and earthen material built across the African continent—and how they communicated fundamental social, cultural, and religious beliefs. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 22, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The geologic story of the rugged San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado reveals an explosive volcanic origin, including 18 supervolcano eruptions that peaked between 26 and 28 million years ago. Join volcanologist Kirt Kempter on a virtual tour of the region to discover how these massive eruptions forever transformed the landscape in the blink of an eye.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Orchid expert Barbara Schmidt leads a tour of several of the most exotic and beautiful collections in the United States. In virtual visits from California to Florida to Pennsylvania, a specialist from each botanical garden shares what makes their collection unique and highlights some of its rarest orchids.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

At the center of the vibrant world of 15th-century Florence was a bookstore beside the Bargello run by Vespasiano da Bisticci—known as the “king of the world’s booksellers.” He created magnificent libraries and deluxe manuscripts for clients that included popes, kings, and three generations of Medici. Author Ross King paints a portrait of the intellectual, political, and religious ferment of this world through a bookseller’s eyes.

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

In the shadow of the Second World War and the looming threat of nuclear holocaust, British philosopher Bertrand Russell signaled an urgent need to recover the practice of philosophy in everyday life. Steven M. Emmanuel, dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities at Virginia Wesleyan University, examines Russell’s writings on the practical value of philosophy to find important and timely lessons for today’s turbulent and uncertain times.

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

Throughout the Middle Ages the vast majority of Jews lived under either Islamic rule or Christian rule. Under caliphate rule across North Africa and the Middle East, Jews flourished. In contrast, life in Christian Europe was fraught with challenges. Historian Gary Rendsburg focuses on how the Jews survived during the Middle Ages, the period that bridges their historical roots in the land of Israel and the dawn of modernity brought on by the Renaissance.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Hollywood is an industry that has always depended on blockbusters. But beginning in 1974, two young filmmakers, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, would together change the way the movie industry made movies, introducing the age of the “modern blockbuster,” which featured elaborate special effects and thrilling spectacle. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at their four decades of filmmaking and discusses how they changed the movies.

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
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Myths surrounding so-called “human races”—often used as evidence of the innate superiority or inferiority of individuals, groups, or nations—can be traced from ancient Greeks to Darwin to Nazi Germany to today. Evolutionary biologist Rui Diogo examines how scientific research and scholarship have played crucial roles in buttressing prejudice—and how false racially based beliefs still continue to color political discourse and social media.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Peter Carl Faberge is best known and remembered for the amazing imperial Easter eggs he created for the last Russian Tsar’s wife and mother. He and his firm also designed and produced jewelry and decorative pieces of unparalleled workmanship. Art critic and author Judy Pomeranz examines the life and times of Faberge, his extraordinary art, and his illustrious clients. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The Shroud of Turin has been an object of reverence and fascination since it surfaced in mid-14th century France. Historian Cheryl White and the Rev. Peter Mangum, noted specialists in the study of the shroud, explore the mystery of this artifact through its known history and scientific findings, as well as the current state of research and scholarship. What stories held in this cloth are yet to be told?

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Although its vision of a coming decade of peace, prosperity, and progress collapsed into the fires of WWII, the 1939 World’s Fair succeeded in providing a captivating glimpse into the science, technology, and innovation of the future. Historian Allen Pietrobon examines how, despite the clash of international politics, the dazzling exhibition drew huge crowds to a former Queens dumping ground transformed into Flushing Meadow.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Taliesin, the Wisconsin home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was witness to some of the greatest tragedies of his life, as well as some of his greatest triumphs. Join Taliesin historian Keiran Murphy as she tells the story of the iconic house and how it reflects decades of shifts in Wright's personal and professional life. (World Art Certificate Program elective, 1/2 credit)

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
Monday, December 6, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore a spectacular land of fire and ice in a virtual field trip led by volcanologist Kirt Kempter, who spotlights the key features that make Iceland a bucket-list destination for all geologists.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Experience new ways to contemplate the gifts of winter inspired by the vibrant Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky, an artist who embraced the transcendent power of color.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

For centuries no one had been aware of the ancient Indus civilization. Today we know it was as ancient and extensive as those of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Historian and science writer Andrew Robinson introduces this tantalizing ‘lost’ civilization that uniquely combined artistic excellence, technological sophistication, and economic vigor with social egalitarianism, political freedom, and religious moderation.

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

Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto di Bondone revolutionized the field of Italian painting in the 14th century. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, compares Duccio’s and Giotto’s art and examines the characteristics that defined their respective schools of painting. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

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

Hear from representatives of the National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo about new and upcoming projects that offer insights into the world of trees and the birds that inhabit them. Get an overview of the latest Audubon field guides to North American birds and trees, preview the transformation of the zoo’s Bird House, and learn how you can help birds by creating and encouraging bird-friendly spaces in your own community.

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

The sound of their music for Broadway, films, and television defined the spirit and mood of mid-century America—and continues to captivate us. In a lively evening, pianist, raconteur, and American music specialist Robert Wyatt celebrates the lives and works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, icons of the American musical whose songs elevated the human spirit.

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

It was a startling, unheard-of idea: to remake Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy into a musical set in the streets of New York City. Filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at West Side Story’s creators who risked everything, broke all rules, reshaped the American theater, and gave us a contemporary masterpiece, as well as how new interpretations are re-making the show for our times.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Although the Barnes Foundation is widely known for its post-impressionist and early modern art, its extensive African collection has long been central to the museum’s educational mission. Using high-definition Deep Zoom technology, Barnes educator Penny Hansen guides a live virtual tour that surveys highlights of these distinctive holdings. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, explores the fascinating world of Shakespeare through Maggie O’Farrell’s celebrated 2020 novel Hamnet. He considers the links between her fictional reconstruction of the life and tragic death of William Shakespeare’s young son and the playwright’s actual works.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Pati Jinich’s newest cookbook brings together the signature recipes that Mexican home cooks, market vendors, and chefs have shared with her as she crisscrossed her native country for the past decade. Join her as she examines how these dishes represent the historic culinary diversity of the nation—and offers tips on how to bring the iconic tastes of Mexico into your own kitchen.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The tumultuous friendship between George Harrison and Eric Clapton shaped not only their lives and careers but the shifting face of rock music in the early 1970s. Beatles expert Ken Womack and music historian Jason Kruppa explore the rock legends’ musical and personal collaboration, friendship, and rivalry—and a love triangle for the ages, involving Clapton, Harrison, and Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

From the sunny fields of the Mediterranean to the misty meadows of England, the history of lavender spans civilizations, centuries, and continents. Speaker and food historian Christine Rai explores lavender's role in history, art, music, literature, religion, and folklore, and how it continues to compel us today.

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
Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 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 a tasting of wines from across the globe made under the oversight and collaboration of Château Lafite Rothschild’s head winemaker. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 12, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

The landscape of Florida is unlike any other in the United States. Deciduous forests give way to subtropical wetlands, savannahs, and emerald palm-lined beaches. Join interpretive naturalist and popular tour leader Keith Tomlinson on a journey around the best of the peninsula that highlights some of the best places to hike, swim, and camp.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Virtually join art historian and culinary expert Elaine Trigiani in her 15th-century Tuscan farmhouse for a look at Venice through its artistic and culinary heritage. Learn how Giambattista Tiepolo became the 18th-century master of the Venetian school of painting. Then, watch her demonstrate the preparation of cicchetti, a favorite snack of today’s Venetian cocktail hour scene. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Dylan Thomas is among the 20th century’s most romantic and tragic figures, famous not only for his lyrical, soul-stirring poetry, but also his turbulent, hard-drinking lifestyle. Join us as we “burn and rave at close of day” in a celebration of this incandescent spirit. Author Daniel Stashower explores Thomas’s life and legacy, and actor Scott Sedar offers dramatic readings of some of his most celebrated poems.

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.

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
Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The festivals, special foods, and spectacular customs of the holiday season last a glorious three weeks in Italy! Join food historian Francine Segan for a lively presentation on the many splendors of Christmas and New Year in Italy.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Art historian Robert DeCaroli examines the sites and structures that made up the urban landscape of the Khmer Empire and traces the historical shifts, royal decisions, religious beliefs, and cultural processes that led to its development. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

As a young man, Leonardo da Vinci wrote about finding the skeleton of a great “fish” while roaming in the hills of Tuscany. What followed was decades of interest in fossils and informed speculation about the planet’s history. Biologist Kay Etheridge examines how this fascination with fossils is reflected in his artworks.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Everyone loves a holiday visit to Bedford Falls. But it took years for Frank Capra’s now-beloved film—a flop in its 1946 release—to become a Christmas classic. Lecturer Brian Rose examines the fascinating story of It’s a Wonderful Life, looking at the challenges of how it was made, its surprisingly dark portrait of small-town life, and how it evolved into the ultimate portrayal of holiday goodwill and cheer.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join Christine Rai to explore how Dutch history geography, and climate shaped its distinct cheese styles and how cheese has played a role in the wider culture of the Netherlands. In addition to the fascinating history, she surveys how today’s Dutch cheese makers are innovating beyond their roots and shares tips and suggestions for savoring a range of delicious Dutch cheeses.

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.