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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

News, Politics, & Media Programs


Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America's Public Monuments

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Why do Americans care so much about statues? And who gets to decide which ones should stay up and which should come down?  Author Erin L. Thompson traces the turbulent history of American monuments and the complex mix of aesthetic, legal, political, and social issues involved in the contemporary battles they spark.


The Equal Rights Amendment: Shifting Meanings in American Politics

Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The Equal Rights Amendment survives today as a cherished goal of many feminists, though some remain cool, and conservative opposition continues. Historian Robyn Muncy examines the wild twists and turns in the story of the ERA from 1923 to 2022.


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)


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 a representative of the State Department 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.