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Lectures
Digging Deeper: An Insider’s Look at Field Archaeology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
J.D. Vance: Hillbilly Elegy and After

Join J.D. Vance as he discusses Hillbilly Elegy, the national best-seller which grew from personal memoir into a story with national resonance, his experience in writing the book, and its effect on his career and his life. The ticket price includes a pre-signed copy of the new paperback edition of Hillbilly Elegy.

Date
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Mapping the Middle East

Ralph Nurnberger, a former professor of international relations at Georgetown University, reviews how shifting national boundaries within the Arab-Israeli world have reflected—and directly influenced—the region’s political and cultural histories.

Date
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Marvel Men: The Directors Behind the Avengers: Infinity War Phenomenon

Directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo discuss their experiences in transporting the adventures of a whole galaxy of iconic Marvel superheroes from the page to the screen in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Date
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Perspectives on a Presidency

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

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

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

Date
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Truth About Exercise: Separating Myths from Realities

How many push-ups should you be doing a day?  Does swimming or weight-lifting help reduce your risk of heart disease? Internist and author John Whyte offers the latest information and recommendations you need to know about what exercises you should—and should not—be doing.

Date
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
O Brothers: How Mark and Jay Duplass Conquered Hollywood

Mark and Jay Duplass are writers, directors, producers, and actors who’ve turned collaboration into a family affair. They made their moviemaking debut with a breakthrough short they produced on a $3 budget. Their next feature film provoked a distribution-rights bidding war at the Sundance Festival! Hear them describe their remarkable journey from the suburbs of New Orleans to success in Hollywood.

Date
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Dashiell Hammett: A Gumshoe with Polish

Grab your trench coat, dust off your fedora, and join a tribute to author Dashiell Hammett who helped to pioneer the “hard-boiled” detective story, with novels such as Red Harvest, The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man.

Date
Monday, May 14, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide

Constitutional scholar and journalist Linda R. Monk offers an overview of the 10 amendments that have shaped American democracy for more than 200 years, and tells stories of the ordinary people whose life experiences made the Bill of Rights come alive.

Date
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Where the Buffalo Roam

The story of the American Plains bison looms large in our country’s history—and has a link to the Smithsonian’s past and present. Staff members of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the American Indian Museum provide insights into the scientific and cultural significance of the bison, and conservation efforts developed for this endangered species.

Date
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Most Famous Address in Washington: Perspectives on White House History

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

Date
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Facing Fear

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

Date
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Innovations in Military Medicine: Breakthroughs in Healing From the Battlefield

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan produced some remarkable new treatments and technologies in combat-casualty care, many of which are finding their way into civilian healthcare. Military doctors who served during the wars discuss the genesis of these advances and their potential applications beyond military medicine.

Date
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
What Is It about This Is Us?

This Is Us is a TV show about a complex, relatable family that has been more than holding its own in an entertainment landscape overflowing with content choices. Learn how a show devoid of flashy characters and outlandish storylines–and that makes us cry sometimes–has become something of a cultural phenomenon.

Date
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Sophocles at the Embassy of Greece

Ancient Greek dramatist Sophocles’ famous tragedies were written to provide essential lessons for an Athenian audience in 5th century B.C., and that still resonate today. Archaeologist Frederick Winter examines these timeless works in their ancient and modern contexts. A reception at the Embassy of Greece follows the presentation.

Date
Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 6:30 p.m.
Designing the World of Hamilton

David Korin’s name may not be on the marquee, but his role in Hamilton is a major—and highly visible—one. The production designer for the show that has become a cultural phenomenon discusses the meticulous research, collaboration, and sheer hard work that went into creating and building every detail of the setting against which the musical plays out.

Date
Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
More Than Just a Meal: Italian Cuisine as a Key to Culture

Learn how get the most out of a culinary-focused travel adventure in Italy as writer Elizabeth Minchilli reveals why food is the most authentic—and delicious—way to understand a country where fabulous cuisine is just as revered as its treasured artistic masterpieces.

Date
Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Memorials In the 21st Century

In this memorial-laden city, it is easy to think of the various monuments as the only way to properly honor the historic figures to which they are dedicated. Martin Moeller, senior curator at The Building Museum, talks about the meaning of memorials, which often say more about the ethos of the era in which they are built than they do about the event or person being memorialized. 

Date
Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Exploring Mars: What’s Next?

Join Kelly Beatty, senior editor for Sky & Telescope magazine, for an examination of the Red Planet from afar and up close—including a 3D tour that puts you right on the dusty Martian surface.

Date
Monday, June 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

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

Date
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Learning to Learn: The New Science of Learning

There’s much new to learn about how we learn. Join author Ulrich Boser as he shares some highly effective—and surprising—practical strategies to freshen up our brains and make learning stick.

Date
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The European Civil War: 1900–1945

How would our understanding of European history change if the tumultuous events of the first half of the 20th century were considered a single, continent-wide civil war interrupted by a 20-year truce? Historian Kevin Matthews examines that perspective as a means of tracing the building blocks of the European Union and the struggle for domination between the Soviet Union and the United States in post-WWII Europe.

Date
Monday, June 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Thenceforward, and Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

Historian Christopher Hamner explores the political, social, and military effects of the Emancipation Proclamation and what prompted Lincoln to make such a controversial and dramatic executive move as the second year of the Civil War came to a close.

Date
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Unnatural Selection: Katrina van Grouw’s Evolutionary Illustrations

Katrina van Grouw, natural science illustrator and author, fuses science and art in her beautifully illustrated new book, Unnatural Selection, which illuminates evolutionary patterns in wild and domestic animals.

Date
Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Lost Texts Revealed: Ancient Manuscripts Meet High-Tech Imaging

Palimpsests—text and drawings on parchment that had been scraped off and overwritten—can hold secrets of the original writing beneath their surfaces for centuries. Michael B. Toth discusses how the international teams of researchers he leads use advanced imagining technologies to reclaim and share precious texts once thought lost forever.

Date
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Serengeti Spectacle

Veteran safari guide Russell Gammon brings to life the story of the world’s most massive animal movement: the annual migration of 1.2 million wildebeest across the savanna between Kenya and Tanzania as they follow life-giving rains.

Date
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
In the French Kitchen: Where Joie de Vivre Begins

After living in France for a quarter century, Susan Herrmann Loomis knows the essential secret of the country’s home cooks: a philosophy that combines a love of food with the pleasure of sharing it with family and friends. Join her as she serves up tips and techniques for creating simple but elegant meals in the Gallic culinary tradition.  

Date
Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Science and Culture of Bread

What makes a pain de mie fluffy, a baguette crisp, or a loaf of sourdough chewy? Nora Velazco and Omar Quazi, head bread bakers at the Mount Vernon shop called a baked joint, offer the answers as they share their passion for bread making and its science, history, and rich cultural traditions.

Date
Monday, June 18, 2018 - 6:30 p.m.
Become a More Curious Traveler

Travel expert Christine van Blokland is ready to change the way you travel. The Emmy-winning host of PBS’s “Curious Traveler” series offers strategies to help you approach a new city exactly as she does when producing her show: as a mystery to be solved.

Date
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
U.S.–China Relations: Looking Ahead

A panel moderated by Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, examines a relationship between nations that has transitioned from an era of engagement to one of mutual suspicion and testing as they vie to shape global practices to suit contrasting social and political systems.

Date
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Istanbul Unveiled

It is a city of mystery, a city of wonders, and a city whose history is unlike any other. Let Serif Yenen, a travel specialist, be your guide as he highlights some iconic places to visit as well as those waiting to be discovered in this storied city.

Date
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs: Smithsonian High and Low

Meet two scientists whose research on ecosystems takes them from the tops of the forest canopy to the ocean floor: Chris Meyer, research zoologist and curator of marine invertebrates at the Natural History Museum, and Jess Parker, senior scientist in forest ecology at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 

Date
Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Germany’s Path From Despotism to Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

Date
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Gilbert and Sullivan in the 21st Century

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

Date
Saturday, June 30, 2018 - 9:30 a.m.
She Persisted, and Resisted: Four Centuries of Women in America

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

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