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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

What's New?

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Actor, writer, and producer Kal Penn took a sabbatical from his entertainment career to serve as an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement under President Obama—a very unexpected detour for the star of the Harold and Kumar movies and TV’s “House”. Join him as he draws from his new memoir You Can’t Be Serious to talk about his journey from Hollywood to Washington and back again, as well as why your life can have more stories and more choices than you thought.

Members-Only Program
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

In this members-only series led by veteran arts educator Roberta Gasbarre, go behind the scenes and into the working lives of some of the most intriguing people from all across the Smithsonian and Washington’s worlds of culture, science, and education. This program features Mandy Van Heuvelen, cultural interpreter manager at the National Museum of the American Indian, and film director Kelly Gardner discuss creating the multimedia museum theatre project Hear Me Say My Name.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 8, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s political outlook is grounded in the experiences of growing up in Oklahoma. She shares those valuable life lessons with the next generation of leaders—especially young girls—in her newest book, Pinkie Promises. Join Warren as she shares the inspiration behind the book, the meaning of “pinkie promises,” and what girls can achieve, even when told they cannot.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The elusive, complex, and baffling scent of the truffle sent James Beard-award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen down a rabbit hole. He emerged into a mysterious secretive world of black-market deals, obsessive chefs, and some very determined dogs. Hear Jacobsen’s colorful account of this world, and the memorable truffle hunters he met along the way.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Expand your knowledge of the world of wine as you sip along with sommelier Erik Segelbaum in an exploration of Oregon’s signature grapes. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

In-person Program Option: Jodi Picoult draws inspiration from real-life events once again in her new novel, Wish You Were Here. Set in March 2020, it tells the story of what happens when best-laid plans go awry when the world turns upside down. Join Picoult as she discusses the timely book and her research and writing process.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Streaming Program Option: Jodi Picoult draws inspiration from real-life events once again in her new novel, Wish You Were Here. Set in March 2020, it tells the story of what happens when best-laid plans go awry when the world turns upside down. Join Picoult as she discusses the timely book and her research and writing process.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 5, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Taliesin, the Wisconsin home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was witness to some of the greatest tragedies of his life, as well as some of his greatest triumphs. Join Taliesin historian Keiran Murphy as she tells the story of the iconic house and how it reflects decades of shifts in Wright's personal and professional life. (World Art Certificate Program elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover the power of reflective writing guided by the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Experience new ways to contemplate the gifts of winter inspired by the vibrant Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky, an artist who embraced the transcendent power of color.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, African Americans were optimistic that he would pursue aggressive federal policies for Black equality. However, author Robert S. Levine addresses the conflicts that led Frederick Douglass and the wider Black community to reject Johnson and reveals the lost promise and dire failure of Reconstruction.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Hear from representatives of the National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo about new and upcoming projects that offer insights into the world of trees and the birds that inhabit them. Get an overview of the latest Audubon field guides to North American birds and trees, preview the transformation of the zoo’s Bird House, and learn how you can help birds by creating and encouraging bird-friendly spaces in your own community.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

It was a startling, unheard-of idea: to remake Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy into a musical set in the streets of New York City. Filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson looks at West Side Story’s creators who risked everything, broke all rules, reshaped the American theater, and gave us a contemporary masterpiece, as well as how new interpretations are re-making the show for our times.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, explores the fascinating world of Shakespeare through Maggie O’Farrell’s celebrated 2020 novel Hamnet. He considers the links between her fictional reconstruction of the life and tragic death of William Shakespeare’s young son and the playwright’s actual works.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Pati Jinich’s newest cookbook brings together the signature recipes that Mexican home cooks, market vendors, and chefs have shared with her as she crisscrossed her native country for the past decade. Join her as she examines how these dishes represent the historic culinary diversity of the nation—and offers tips on how to bring the iconic tastes of Mexico into your own kitchen.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

From the sunny fields of the Mediterranean to the misty meadows of England, the history of lavender spans civilizations, centuries, and continents. Speaker and food historian Christine Rai explores lavender's role in history, art, music, literature, religion, and folklore, and how it continues to compel us today.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

No home in America celebrates the holidays quite like the White House, and behind each annual celebration is a first lady who lends her distinctive style to the festivities. Historian Coleen Christian Burke, a former White House holiday design partner, surveys the signature holiday decorating style of modern residents from Jackie Kennedy to Jill Biden.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Expand your knowledge of the world of wine as you sip along with sommelier Erik Segelbaum in a tasting of wines from across the globe made under the oversight and collaboration of Château Lafite Rothschild’s head winemaker. This immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 12, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

The landscape of Florida is unlike any other in the United States. Deciduous forests give way to subtropical wetlands, savannahs, and emerald palm-lined beaches. Join interpretive naturalist and popular tour leader Keith Tomlinson on a journey around the best of the peninsula that highlights some of the best places to hike, swim, and camp.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Tapped by his one-time political rival Abraham Lincoln to become secretary of the treasury, Salmon P. Chase proved essential to the Civil War effort and pressed the president to emancipate the country’s slaves and recognize Black rights. Biographer Walter Stahr sheds new light on a complex and fascinating political figure, as well as on the pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

At the start of the First World War, a handful of volunteers created an all-American fighter squadron in the French Air Service, the legendary Lafayette Escadrille. Join filmmakers Paul Glenshaw and Darroch Greer, creators of a new documentary on the squadron, as they trace its beginnings, the colorful characters in it, and their motivations—some noble, some opportunistic—to risk their lives for America’s oldest ally.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

As a young man, Leonardo da Vinci wrote about finding the skeleton of a great “fish” while roaming in the hills of Tuscany. What followed was decades of interest in fossils and informed speculation about the planet’s history. Biologist Kay Etheridge examines how this fascination with fossils is reflected in his artworks.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Everyone loves a holiday visit to Bedford Falls. But it took years for Frank Capra’s now-beloved film—a flop in its 1946 release—to become a Christmas classic. Lecturer Brian Rose examines the fascinating story of It’s a Wonderful Life, looking at the challenges of how it was made, its surprisingly dark portrait of small-town life, and how it evolved into the ultimate portrayal of holiday goodwill and cheer.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Join Christine Rai to explore how Dutch history geography, and climate shaped its distinct cheese styles and how cheese has played a role in the wider culture of the Netherlands. In addition to the fascinating history, she surveys how today’s Dutch cheese makers are innovating beyond their roots and shares tips and suggestions for savoring a range of delicious Dutch cheeses.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, January 8, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

How do we unlock the mysteries of a great poem? Discover the fascinating world of poetic form and gain a better understanding of the internal mechanisms and strategies that poets employ in their art.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Historian Allen Pietrobon takes us back to the Eisenhower era, a time before the “celebrity president.” He reveals how Sen. John F. Kennedy’s domination of the medium during the first-ever televised debate was key in his winning the presidency. Pietrobon also uses the 1960 presidential election as a lens to explore American politics and culture in this pivotal era in history.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

PBS television host Darley Newman shares insights into the Alabama Civil Rights Trail, which traces the footsteps of civil rights legends such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, whose stories are told in the museums, churches, and other landmarks lining the trail. Darley suggests area guides and experts who can enhance your experience.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, January 13, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Baltimore's Federal Hill holds a prominent place in the city's history and lent its name to a distinctive and appealing South Baltimore neighborhood.  Arts journalist and Baltimore resident Richard Selden leads an illustrated virtual tour of both the hill itself, with its storied monuments and stunning views, and the urban village that surrounds it.