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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Popular Culture Programs


Indiana Jones: The Men Behind the Myth

Monday, May 23, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The Indiana Jones series is one of the most popular and iconic film franchises in the history of Hollywood. But just how accurate is it? In a 3-session series, historian Justin M. Jacobs explores the centuries of key figures and perspectives that influenced the creation of this cinematic hero, revealing how the films diverge or converge with historical realities. This session focuses on the Indiana Jones film francise compared to historical realities.


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.


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.


60 Years of Bond, James Bond

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

You’ll be shaken, if not stirred, by this multimedia presentation—unredacted and for your eyes only!—where the mission is to crack the code behind the high-tech glamour, globetrotting excitement, and enduring popularity of the 007 film cycle.


All Shook Up: Hollywood Learns To Rock

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Rock music exploded on the big screen in 1955 when Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” played behind the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at rock movies’ first decade and how Hollywood benefited from the power of this music—and its target audience—around the world.


Hopper and Hitchcock: Spectatorship and Voyeurism in Art and Film

Sunday, August 7, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

Alfred Hitchcock and American painter Edward Hopper, an unlikely artistic pair, shared a rich and complex vision deeply affected by the traditions of film noir. Using film stills and paintings, David Gariff, senior lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, explores the formal and thematic links between these artists. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)