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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Seminars

Painters in Provence: From Van Gogh to Matisse

The South of France, with its glorious light and varied vistas, has long been a magnet for plein-air painters. Art historian Bonita Billman looks into the inspiration that places such as Avignon, Arles, St. Tropez, Nice, and others provided for the brilliantly colored works produced by 19th- and early-20th century painters. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Civil War in Perspective: Our Evolving Story

Historian Stephen D. Engle traces 150 years of an ever-changing narrative of the Civil War and why we still contend with reaching an acceptable version of its legacy.

Date of event
Saturday, April 25, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Real Revolution: America, 1775-1783

Historian Richard Bell explores the tumultuous years of America’s struggle for independence from the perspective of the ordinary citizens by examining military recruitment, the wars on the home front and in Indian territory, the struggles of people of color, and the experiences of loyalists.

Date of event
Saturday, May 9, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

New York Rising: Music From the 1930s

In defiant answer to the Crash of 1929, New York City produced a spectacular decade of music in all forms. In a lively and engaging day, music expert Saul Lilienstein leads a journey that encompasses Broadway and the Cotton Club, Carnegie Hall and Greenwich Village, swing bandstands and Arturo Toscanini’s fabled Studio 8H in Radio City.

Date of event
Friday, May 15, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

France During World War II: Occupation and Resistance

The world was stunned when, in the spring of 1940, Germany invaded and quickly defeated France. Ronald C. Rosbottom, a scholar of French and European history, examines why knowing more about the impact of both occupation and resistance during WWII helps us understand aspects of France’s present political and diplomatic environment.

Date of event
Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Maya: Ancient Splendors, Modern Legacies

The famous breaking of the Mayan code in the late 20th century revolutionized the study of these peoples and of ancient America. In a day-long program, humanities scholar George Scheper examines how interdisciplinary study of the Maya extends beyond the traditional archaeological focus to comprise political and social history, art, comparative religion, and ecology.

Date of event
Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Visual Literacy: The Art of Seeing

Like any language, art has its own vocabulary—one in which you discover more meaning and gratification as your fluency increases. Spend a day with art historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman expanding your understanding of how art communicates, how to analyze and interpret it, and how to see it in a cultural context. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, June 6, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The History of Ireland: Four Turning Points

Historian Jennifer Paxton explores the complex history of Ireland’s interactions with the outside world that led to the transformation of the island over a thousand years from a relatively isolated island to a colony of its far more powerful neighbor, England.

Date of event
Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

How To Write Children's Books

Whether you aspire to write professionally or want to learn how to craft captivating stories for the young readers in your life, this seminar led by author and scholar Lisa Rowe Fraustino starts you on the journey of creating a children’s book—and provides the tools to finish it when you go home.

Date of event
Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Excavations at Tell el-Amarna: A Window Into Ancient Egypt

Excavations at the extraordinarily preserved desert city at Tell el-Amarna provide unmatched evidence of the daily life and religious practices of ancient Egyptians. Egyptologist Jacquelyn Williamson, a senior member of the Tell el-Amarna archaeological team, examines the latest discoveries at the site and what they reveal about the city founded as a center for Pharaoh Akhenaten’s monotheistic cult of the sun god Aten. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, June 20, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Orchestral Music of J.S. Bach

Musicologist and pianist Daniel Freeman pays tribute to this iconic composer and some of his greatest orchestral compositions in a day highlighted by music and video recordings and live piano performance.

Date of event
Saturday, June 20, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Michelangelo, Pope Julius, and the Sistine Chapel

When Michelangelo signed the contract with Pope Julius II in 1508 to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, little did he know the turmoil that awaited him. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, examines the artistic importance of the ceiling and the human drama behind its creation, as well as the chapel’s history and its exquisite art produced before Michelangelo. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, August 8, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Heaven and Hell: Perspectives on the Afterlife

Bart Ehrman, a leading authority on early Christianity, examines ancient Near East, Greek, and Roman cultures, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and other sources to trace how the nature of the afterlife became a central focus in Western religion.

Date of event
Saturday, September 12, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Five Giants of Romantic Music: Friends in Life, Rivals in Art

Popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin combines lecture and piano demonstrations to examine the lives and work of Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner.

Date of event
Monday, September 21, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.

Vermeer: In Praise of the Ordinary

Explore the legacy of painter Johannes Vermeer, a master of light and color whose paintings captured the beauty and meaning of everyday life, with art historian Aneta Georgievska-Shine. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date of event
Saturday, September 26, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Tracing Jewish History: From Yemen to Yorkshire

Biblical scholar and historian Gary Rendsburg leads a virtual tour across 2,000 years of known Jewish history to explore fascinating stories of less-known Jewish communities.

Date of event
Saturday, October 24, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

The Napoleonic Wars: A Global Conflict

Austerlitz, Borodino, and Waterloo are among the places most closely associated with the era of the Napoleonic Wars. But this period of nearly continuous Franco-British conflict affected nations far beyond Europe. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze analyzes the immediate and extended consequences of the political tremors that spread as far as the Americas, Africa, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as across the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.

Date of event
Saturday, November 21, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.