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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Popular Culture Programs

How Hamilton Remixes History and Show Biz

Historian Richard Bell examines this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show business. He investigates what the show gets right—and wrong—about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and the birth of the United States, and why it all matters. 

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

"It's Baseball, Ray!": Baseball and America's Culture, Values, and Aspirations

Though football is called America's Game, no sport has had as strong an influence on our culture and mores than the National Pastime. Author, ethicist, and lifelong fan Jack Marshall examines how—from the game’s beginnings to this season—baseball has both mirrored and shaped Americans’ ideas of their country and themselves.

Date of event
Monday, July 20, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Behind the Scenes at Planet Word

How do you create the world’s first voice-activated museum dedicated to the power and fun of language? Get the inside word from senior leaders of the brand-new Planet Word in an after-hours event in which they share how the historic Franklin School in downtown Washington was transformed into a dazzling immersive learning environment for visitors of all ages.

Date of event
Thursday, July 23, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Will Rogers: Oklahoma's Favorite Son

Will Rogers’ plainspoken humor and clear-eyed social commentary struck a chord with audiences around the world during the early decades of the 20th century and made him the voice of his nation. Author Daniel Stashower explores this true American original’s life and legacy and actor Scott Sedar performs some of his most celebrated monologues.

Date of event
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Economics + Harry Potter

The Harry Potter novels may seem like a strange perspective from which to view economics, but a realm filled with magic also includes some financial realities that even the most powerful spell can’t make vanish. Economist Brian O’Roark entertainingly investigates how topics including monetary systems, black markets, utility theory, and more pervade the Potterverse.

Date of event
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.

Contemporary Art as a Commodity

Ellen Gorman of Georgetown University offers a survey of the American art market from the 1950s to the present, introducing the cast of players and corporate entities behind the transformation of artworks into commodities for sale to the highest bidder. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Monday, November 2, 2020 - 6:45 p.m.