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Ronald Reagan: A Life Well Played

Forty years after he left the White House, Reagan has assumed a near-mythical place in American history, even as the public forgets the details of his life. This evening, Bob Spitz draws on his new biography, Reagan: An American Journey, to portray a man who—by dint of luck, charm, or something else—landed the role of his life.

Date
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
2018 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Opening Night Party Tickets

Pop-up couture! Be among the first to shop limited-edition, hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, and accessories by over 60 designers. Enjoy "Art on the Runway"—a professional fashion show. Sample cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and sweets.

Date
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Austria's Wine Country

Austrian-born wine importer Klaus Wittauer offers a guide to the country’s leading wine-producing regions, and leads a tasting of a number of products from these distinctive terrioirs.

Date
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery: A Latino Legacy

The more than 400,000 service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery represent a cross-section of both the diversity of the American military and our nation itself. Jim Carr, a master Washington tour guide and author, leads a visit that focuses on Latino members represented in the cemetery.

Date
Friday, October 5, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2018 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission Tickets (DAY 1)

Save $2 per ticket by ordering your Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission one day passes in advance! This pass option is for October 5 only.

Date
Friday, October 5, 2018 - 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fall Splendor at the Cloisters

Take in the blaze of autumn foliage and a stunning exhibition from the Met’s Costume Institute during a visit to the Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to medieval art. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery: An Honor Roll of Immigrants

The more than 400,000 service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery represent a cross-section of both the diversity of the American military and our nation itself. Jim Carr, a master Washington tour guide and author, leads a visit that focuses on immigrant members represented in the cemetery.

Date
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2018 Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission Tickets (DAY 2)

Save $2 per ticket by ordering your Craft2Wear Show Daily Admission one day passes in advance! This pass option is for October 6 only.

Date
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Verdi and the Transformation of Bel Canto Opera

Drawing on audio and video recordings, opera expert Saul Lilienstein demonstrates how the bel canto style evolved under the restless musical imagination of Giuseppe Verdi.

Date
Tuesday, October 9 to November 13, 2018 – 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Nik Sharma’s Table: Spiced by a World of Flavors

Food columnist, blogger, and photographer Nik Sharma joins the Washington Post’s Joe Yonan to discuss how he creates recipes shaped by a personal outlook on food that spans and mixes cultures, traditions, and cuisines.

Date
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery: A Latino Legacy

The more than 400,000 service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery represent a cross-section of both the diversity of the American military and our nation itself. Jim Carr, a master Washington tour guide and author, leads a visit that focuses on Latino members represented in the cemetery.

Date
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Understanding Contemporary Art: From Pop to Pluralism

From soup cans to photo-realism, abstraction, super-realism, and more, this richly illustrated seminar explores the roots and later influences of radical American art from the last five decades. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date
Friday, October 12, 2018 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery: An Honor Roll of Immigrants

The more than 400,000 service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery represent a cross-section of both the diversity of the American military and our nation itself. Jim Carr, a master Washington tour guide and author, leads a visit that focuses on immigrant members represented in the cemetery.

Date
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The Great War in Washington

Join historian and author Garrett Peck on a walk though wartime Washington. Its stops include Pershing Park, the First and Second Division monuments, the D.C. War Memorial, the spot where sheep grazed on the Ellipse, and the site where thousands of women volunteered for the American Red Cross.

Date
Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Vietnam: A Portrait of Tragedy

Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict. Drawing on his new book, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975, journalist Max Hastings portrays extraordinary moments in this bitter conflict—and examines some of its lasting lessons for the 21st century.

Date
Monday, October 15, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Exploring the Arts of Latin America

From colossal Olmec heads to the paintings of Frida Kahlo, Aztec temples to Mexican murals, this survey of Latin American art sweeps through the centuries. Join art historian Michele Greet, who traces the significant creators and trends that defined and shaped the arts of Latin America from their earliest expressions through the 19th and 20th centuries. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date
Monday, October 15 to November 5, 2018 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Literature of the South: Defining a Genre

What do novelists like William Faulkner and Eudora Welty have in common that defines them by the honorific “Southern writer”? Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz, a lecturer in the English Department at Georgetown University, leads spirited lectures and informal discussions about four authors—William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, John Kennedy Toole, and Ernest Gaines—whose works uniquely define what it means to write about the South.

Date
Monday, October 15, November 19, December 17, 2018 and January 14, 2019 – 6:45 p.m.
Naval Warfare in WWII: A Global Battlefield

A central element of the Second World War was the presence of dozen navies on six oceans and a number of seas, including the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Maritime historian Craig L. Symonds offers a summary and analysis of how that naval conflict determined both the trajectory and the outcome of the war.

Date
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Stakes for Sports Gambling

In May, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states. Veteran sports attorney Phil Hochberg moderates a conversation that takes on the issues facing a brave new world where gambling is legal, taxed, and as convenient as a smartphone app.

Date
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Future of U.S.-Russia Relations

For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Russia established a mostly amicable relationship in order to avoid further conflict. Today, this relationship is beset by challenges. Explore the current tensions between the two key world powers, and where the relationship may be headed.

Date
Wednesday, October 17 to 31, 2018 – 6:00 p.m.
Grammatical Gaffes: A Linguist Looks at Language Peeves

Are you someone who winces at the word irregardless? Do you find it hard to believe someone who tells you, “I was literally climbing the walls”? Do you wish everyone would use the Oxford comma in lists of three items? If so, this lively seminar on language is for you. (Hopefully, you’ll come.)

Date
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Evolution In Warp Drive: The Science of Star Trek

Have you ever wondered why most alien life depicted on Star Trek strongly resembles us Earthlings? Come explore the possibility of humanoid or other forms of life on other planets with Mohamed Noor, a professor of biology at Duke University—and lifelong Trekkie!

Date
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
18th-Century Annapolis: Architecture and Decorative Arts

Join decorative arts specialist Erin Kuykendall for a tour of historic Annapolis, Maryland, to discover architectural gems and works of art from the eve of the American Revolution. Through visits to historic Georgian-style homes and an examination of the period’s decorative arts, Kuykendall offers a portrait of a vibrant capital city in which building, politics, art, and international commerce thrived.

Date
Friday, October 19, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Road to Abolition: Harpers Ferry and Antietam

The beginning of the end of slavery can be traced to two extraordinary events: John Brown’s ill-fated 1859 raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry and the Battle of Antietam. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on an exciting day trip following the steps of John Brown in Harpers Ferry and a tour of parts of the Antietam National Battlefield on foot.

Date
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
English Words: Etymologies and Curiosities

Over the past millennium and a half, the language we now call English has developed its deep, rich vocabulary by liberally adding words from other languages. This entertaining daylong program explores the origins of a range of English words and how words and phrases change meaning over time.

Date
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
C. S. Lewis: Life and Legacy, Philosopher, Fantasist, and “Mere” Christian

Fifty-five years after his death, Clive Staple Lewis (1898-1963), Irish-born Oxford don, Cambridge professor, and best-selling author, still attracts and inspires readers and thinkers everywhere. In this absorbing daylong program, Lewis scholar Andrew Lazo offers insights into Lewis’ personal life, published works, and enduring appeal.

Date
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Masterworks of Five Centuries Saturday Concert Series

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society features musical masterpieces from the 17th to the early 21st century, played by outstanding ensembles on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments. This is an eight-concert series on Saturdays.

Date
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018; Jan. 5, 2019; Feb. 2, 2019; Mar. 2, 2019; Mar. 16, 2019; Apr. 6, 2019; May 11, 2019 and Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018
Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
The Eye-Opening New Rules of Coffee

Learn about growing, roasting, brewing, and serving coffee, along with details about its production and a few coffee myths from the founders and editors of Sprudge, the premier website for coffee content.

Date
Sunday, October 21, 2018 - 1:00 p.m.
Masterworks of Five Centuries Sunday Concert Series

The Smithsonian Chamber Music Society features musical masterpieces from the 17th to the early 21st century, played by outstanding ensembles on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments. This is an eight-concert series on Sundays.

Date
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018; Nov. 18, 2018; Dec. 16, 2018; Jan. 6, 2019; Jan. 20, 2019; Feb. 17, 2019; Mar. 17, 2019; and Apr. 7, 2019
Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
Morbid Curiosity: Presidential Last Moments Preserved

In a fascinating look into our nation’s history and how we remember our fallen leaders, museum specialists from the American History Museum uncover some of the extraordinary stuff of presidential death that Americans have saved over the centuries.

Date
Monday, October 22, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Churchill's Secret Army: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

In 1940, Winston Churchill famously ordered his Special Operations Executive (SOE) to “set Europe ablaze.” His top-secret army of mavericks soon began a program of supporting resistance deep behind enemy lines. Learn how they not only influenced the war, but SOE’s legacy also shaped the peace in surprising—and sometimes dramatic—ways.

Date
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Beefeater and the Birds: Meet the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster

As Halloween draws near, spend an evening with Christopher Skaife, the ravenmaster at one of the world's eeriest monuments. He’s responsible for the care of the Tower of London’s remarkable ravens, and he has some fascinating stories to share about one of the world’s most unusual jobs.

Date
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Hubert Humphrey: American Statesman

He was passionate about his beliefs, he treated his peers with respect, and they dubbed him "The Happy Warrior" for his tireless advocacy of liberal causes. Learn about the long career of Hubert Humphrey, one of the great post-war leaders who played a central role in some of the country's most divisive issues.

Date
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Astronomer Royal Looks to the Future

British cosmologist, astrophysicist, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees believes that, too often, our approach to what lies ahead is constricted by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. Drawing from his new book On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, Rees discusses how we can use science to solve critical problems while avoiding its dystopian risk.

Date
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Great War in Washington

Join historian and author Garrett Peck on a walk though wartime Washington. Its stops include Pershing Park, the First and Second Division monuments, the D.C. War Memorial, the spot where sheep grazed on the Ellipse, and the site where thousands of women volunteered for the American Red Cross.

Date
Friday, October 26, 2018 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Great War in Washington

Join historian and author Garrett Peck on a walk though wartime Washington. Its stops include Pershing Park, the First and Second Division monuments, the D.C. War Memorial, the spot where sheep grazed on the Ellipse, and the site where thousands of women volunteered for the American Red Cross.

Date
Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Ancient Egypt's A-List: Power, Empire, and Propaganda

Egypt, one of the great superpowers of the ancient world, produced a culture and system of government that endured for more than 3,000 years. Egyptologist Jacquelyn Williamson draws from the most recent archaeological evidence to examine four of Egypt’s most influential rulers and the impact of their reigns.

Date
Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Axelrod String Quartet Saturday Concert Series

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society audiences are privy to the unparalleled experience of hearing two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati—in this popular three-concert series on Saturdays.

Date
Saturday, October 27, 2018; January 26, 2019; May 4, 2019
Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
The Axelrod String Quartet Sunday Concert Series

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society audiences are privy to the unparalleled experience of hearing two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicolo Amati—in this popular three-concert series on Sundays.

Date
Sunday, October 28, 2018; January 27, 2019; May 5, 2019
Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
Booze and Vinyl: A Listening Party with Cocktails

Food writers, cocktail fans, and musicians Andre Darlington and Tenaya Darlington teamed up to write Booze and Vinyl, showcasing iconic albums from the 1950s through 2000s, each matched with the perfect cocktails. If you’re feeling in the groove, join the Darlingtons at the Smithsonian Castle for a listening party—and learn how to mix a couple of perfect cocktails.

Date
Monday, October 29, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Racing Into the Sky: The Women Who Broke the Original Glass Ceiling

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Drawing on his new book, Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, Keith O’Brien recounts how a cadre of those women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

Date
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Benjamin Rush: The Overlooked Founding Father

Though it’s among the signatures on the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush’s name is one that doesn’t immediately come to mind as one of the most influential patriots of the Revolutionary era. Drawing from his new biography, Stephen Fried resurrects and celebrates the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of.

Date
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Art of India: From the Indus Valley to Independence

The complex culture of South Asia has given rise to some of the world’s most remarkable artistic creations. Robert DeCaroli of George Mason University highlights the artistic traditions and historical changes within the Indian subcontinent from the earliest archaeological evidence to the onset of colonialism. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)

Date
Thursday, November 1 to 29, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (no class Nov. 22)
The Putin Paradox: Popularity or Fear?

He has been criticized for restricting freedom in Russian and eradicating any real dissent and political opposition. But at home, Putin has exhibited remarkable staying power that few other democratically elected heads of state can rival. Historian George E. Munro, an expert in Russian history, explores various questions in an absorbing program that examines the case for Vladimir Putin as the leader of Russia.

Date
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Vibrant Colors: Glass in Baltimore

Baltimore offers the perfect destination for aficionados of historic glass. Stunning works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge—as well as bottles created for one of the city’s most famous products—are among the highlights of a glass-lover’s tour led by museum education consultant Sheila Pinsker.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Barnes Foundation Philadelphia

Matisses, Modiglianis, and Monets are among the treasures found in the downtown home of the Barnes collection. Join art historian Bonita Billman to view the museum’s stunning post-impressionist and early-modern works. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Nature, History, and Art in Fairfax County

Join Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C., as they lead a fall excursion to the Lorton, Virginia, area to explore a trio of distinctive sites in Fairfax County: Mason Neck State Park, American statesman George Mason’s mansion Gunston Hall, and Lorton Workhouse Art Center.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Magnificent Cities of Russia

Explore the history, culture, and signature sites of four great cities—Kiev (now Kyiv), Novgorod, Moscow, and St. Petersburg—with historian George E. Munro. He shows how they exercised power, celebrated religion, and fostered trade while pursuing a singular path into the present.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Fortresses and Fantasies: The Châteaux of the Loire Valley

The splendid structures of the Loire Valley reflect lives of opulence and intrigue. Art historian Janetta Rebold Benton showcases these romantic and historic places, and sets them in the context of French history. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Jews of Spain: 1000 Years of History

After almost a millennium of harmonious existence in Spain, what had been the most populous and prosperous Jewish community in Europe ceased to exist on the Iberian Peninsula by the end of the 15th century. Author Jeffrey Gorsky traces that history—which encompasses both power and the persecutions of the Inquisition—as well as the impact of this early racial and religious discrimination on later cultures.

Date
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
What the Midterm Elections Reveal About America

With a nation of highly polarized voters heading to the polls on November 6, the 2018 midterms will help clarify what’s important to a restless electorate. Two days after the ballots are cast, White House and political analyst Ken Walsh brings together four leading political analysts to interpret what the victories and losses mean for the country.

Date
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Underground Virginia: Caves of the Shenandoah

Find out why Virginia’s caves never fail to dazzle visitors during a visit to realms of wonder eons in the making in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. With Gregg Clemmer as your guide, explore two of the region’s great caverns—Shenandoah Caverns and Luray Caverns—from their stone columns and draperies to jagged helectites and dog-toothed spars. 

Date
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
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
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Loving Lenny: Leonard Bernstein at 100

Music recordings, film clips, and photographs highlight a discussion led by music specialist Fred Plotkin that celebrates the great Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), an American Renaissance Man: composer, conductor, concert pianist, Broadway tunesmith, educator, humanitarian, and so much more.

Date
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Art Deco: Vibrant, Eclectic, and Dynamic

The up-to-the minute energy of the Jazz Age found its perfect embodiment in Art Deco. Art historian Bonita Billman surveys the eclectic influences and wide range of creators whose work shaped the style that reflected modern living in machine age. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)

Date
Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Radio City Music Hall: Front and Center for the Christmas Spectacular

There’s no more iconic holiday performance in New York than Radio City Music Hall’s famed Christmas Spectacular. And there’s no better way to see the precision dancing of the Rockettes than from prime orchestra seats in the fabulous art deco theater where the show has been a tradition since 1933. A behind-the-scenes tour of the Music Hall adds to the experience.

Date
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 6:45 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.