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Lectures

The Battle of Britain

Historian Kevin Matthews examines how the high-stakes contest between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe over the skies of England prevented a Nazi invasion of Britain and become a critical factor in the Allied victory five years later.

Date of event
Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Ben Folds: An Unconventional Icon

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds has crafted a wide-ranging career path that’s sometimes been as unexpected as it has been successful. He’s chronicled that experience in a new memoir, and in a conversation with Stephen Thompson of NPR Music, he discusses what it took to move from a working-class childhood in North Carolina to stardom.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Architecture of Reuse: Lessons from European Cities

Europeans have spent centuries integrating the architectural legacies of their cities into buildings that meet the changing needs of their residents and reflect an evolving array of design styles. Architect Paola Lugli addresses how historic buildings can survive and thrive through modern adaptations, as well as how architects are re-purposing buildings today. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Fellini's Italy: Along the Via Emilia

Join food historian Francine Segan on a journey to Rimini and Modena, two wondrous cities along an ancient Roman byway in the Emilia-Romagna region. She reveals why the area inspired both an iconic film director as well as today’s travelers who love chic beaches, fabulous food, ancient ruins, and distinctive art and architecture.

Date of event
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Sound of Music at 60: The Musical That's One of Our Favorite Things

Since 1959, our hearts have been alive with the songs and the story of one of the most enduring musicals of all time. American music specialist Robert Wyatt showcases the making of the stage and screen versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved work.

Date of event
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Delayed Justice: The Hunt for Hitler's Hidden Soldiers in America

Hitler's dreaded SS trained a roving army to help annihilate the Jewish population of occupied Poland. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper unfolds the harrowing wartime journeys of two Jewish orphans who settled in the United States—only to learn that some of their one-time captors had as well.

Date of event
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Memoir: Art From Life

Join Mary Hall Surface, instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for a close look at Joan Miró’s The Farm to discover how memory informs the painting and can inspire your own reflective writing.

Date of event
Sunday, December 8, 2019 - 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Buone Feste: How Italy Celebrates Christmas

Fred Plotkin, an expert on everything Italian, celebrates the festivities, food, and secular and religious traditions that make Christmas in Italy a magical month-long experience.

Date of event
Monday, December 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Classical Music and American Foreign Relations: A Complicated Duet

Jonathan Rosenberg of Hunter College delves into the singular and complex relationship of classical music and political ideology in 20th-century America. He examines how in the decades that spanned two world wars and the Cold War, classical musicians, singers, composers, and conductors could find themselves celebrated as cultural ambassadors or ostracized for their nationality or political beliefs.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 12:00 p.m.

Are We Alone?: The Search for Life Beyond Earth

What are the odds of finding distant Earth-like worlds that support life? Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, examines how astronomers and scientists are investigating the possibility.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Vital Voices: Endangered Languages in a Changing World

More than half of roughly 7,000 languages spoken in the world today are in danger of disappearing by the end of this century. Mary Linn of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage examines the critical importance of maintaining language diversity, the forces that threaten to silence endangered languages, and the efforts to combat them.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Putting It All on the Table:  Women on Food

Charlotte Druckman's new book Women on Food reflects the voices and experiences of more than 100 food industry professionals from chefs to critics. She sits down with chef and television personality Carla Hall for a conversation about some of topics these women covered, from gender bias in the workplace to professional underrepresentation to mastering the art of failing.

Date of event
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The Gilded Steinway: Music in Theodore Roosevelt's White House

The musical life of the White House during Theodore Roosevelt's administration was rich and diverse, and some of the era's most noted pianists performed on a one-of-a-kind instrument in the East Room: an elaborately decorated and gilded Steinway piano. In a program at Decatur House, musicologist Elise Kirk offers an overview of Roosevelt-era music, highlighted by a performance on a replica of the original piano.

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.

Barack and Joe: The Making of a Presidential Friendship

Though Joe Biden and Barack Obama were a study in sharply contrasting styles, they formed a dynamic professional partnership and close personal connection. Author Steve Levingston explores the evolution of the relationship that set the tone for eight years in the White House.

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

The House of Medici: The Art of Power

As bankers to some of Europe’s most important rulers, the Medici had a substantial influence on the geo-politics of their time, but perhaps their most enduring legacy is that as patrons of the arts. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores how art and architecture became languages of their power. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Holiday Magic at the White House: The Brightest Season at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Spend an afternoon with professional decorator and author Coleen Christian Burke as she covers the traditions of White House holiday decorating, brings you behind the scenes as the seasonal transformation takes place, and shares how modern first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump have lent their distinctive styles and creativity to guiding the seasonal themes.

Date of event
Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

Bryan and Michael Voltaggio on the Flavors of the Chesapeake

Chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio recently launch their third restaurant together, named Estuary in the spirit of the Chesapeake Bay. Join them as the brothers discuss their journey from their hometown of Frederick, Maryland, to “Top Chef” fame, how they created the menu at Estuary, and what it’s like to cook with family.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Muses and Mews: Artists and Their Cats

Expressive or aloof, affectionate or enigmatic, cats have complicated characters that make them compelling artists' muses. Curator Mary Savig of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art explores and illustrates the quirky and charming relationships that Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O'Keeffe, and other creators cultivated with their feline companions.

Date of event
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 7:00 p.m.

Language and Aging: A Resilient Relationship

Cognitive scientist Roger Kreuz examines how aging affects language and how language affects aging, and explains why language ability shapes our lives throughout its course.

Date of event
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Marcel Duchamp: Enfant Terrible and Innovative Genius

He was among the most influential and distinctive artists of the 20th century—and the most deliberately outrageous. Art historian Nancy G. Heller traces Marcel Duchamp’s life and art, focusing on a selection of his key works and explaining why they were—and still remain—important. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Black Holes: A New Look

Travel through a cosmic journey to the center of a black hole as Carrie Fitzgerald, director of the Montgomery College Astronomical Observatory, explains its nature by delving into the major ideas of relativity and the fundamentals of gravity.

Date of event
Monday, January 13, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

DC Theatre Preview 2020

Peek behind the curtain as some of the top local arts writers share their picks on the hottest tickets in town, what’s worth the price (and perhaps isn’t), and the artists to keep an eye on during the promising and packed new season.

Date of event
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Crafting the Buddha's Image

The image of Buddha is one of the world's most recognized religious symbols, but its origins are shrouded in mystery. Art historian Rob DeCaroli delves into the history of figural art in India to examine its beginnings and its power. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Medieval History: Fact vs. Fiction

From Renaissance faires to “Game of Thrones,” people love the Middle Ages. But does our pop-culture version of the past accurately portray the period? Medievalist Paul B. Sturtevant draws recent scholarship to reveal a medieval world that holds surprises for amateurs and history buffs alike.

Date of event
Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Day Prohibition Began: Thirteen Awful Years of the Noble Experiment

Prohibition in America began on January 16, 1920, after a century of agitation by the temperance movement to create a dry, sober nation. On the centennial of the start of the national booze ban, join author and historian Garrett Peck on a cocktail-driven journey through the nation’s not-so-dry past.

Date of event
Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Wild Bill's Secret Agents: The Birth of the OSS

Before the CIA there was the Office of Strategic Services, whose operations spawned some of the World War II’s boldest and most daring covert missions—as well as some of its unlikeliest agents. Career CIA officer Randy Burkett traces the fascinating history of the OSS, its strategies and players, and its postwar transition into the Central Intelligence Agency.

Date of event
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The Science of Sleep with WebMD's John Whyte

A good night’s sleep might be a dream for some, but the importance of sleep and how it impacts our overall health is a reality for all. John Whyte, WebMD’s chief medical officer, presents the latest research about sleep, including strategies that work best to improve its quality.

Date of event
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Amelia Earhart: Legend and Legacy

Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Air and Space Museum, separates fact from fiction as she examines the pioneering aviator’s accomplishments and her shortcomings, and why Earhart still challenges and inspires in the 21st century.

Date of event
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Travels with Darley: Exploring Qatar

Join Darley Newman as she shares insider’s tips on Qatar, which she curated while filming her popular PBS series “Travels with Darley.” From markets and museums to restaurants and beautiful natural locations, she offers plenty of surprising finds and practical strategies for delving deep into the rich culture of this Middle Eastern nation.

Date of event
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

The New Brain Science: How Brainwave Research Is Shaping the Future

Neuroscience is widening our awareness of the wealth of information brainwaves can hold about who we are—and that information’s power. Neuroscientist R. Douglas Fields examines the current frontiers of the new brain science and what its research means for medicine, technology, and our understanding of ourselves.

Date of event
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Louis Armstrong: American Icon

Say the name Louis Armstrong and you’re instantly able to conjure the unmistakable sound of his voice and his trumpet. Curator and author John Edward Hasse provides a film and video portrait of the beloved entertainer who transformed American music.

Date of event
Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.