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Lecture/Seminar

“See You in Orbit?”: A History of Space Tourism

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Though millions of dreamers have anticipated their chance to travel in space, fewer than 650 earthlings have viewed our planet from a spaceship. Alan Ladwig, former manager of NASA’s Space Flight Participant Program, examines the promise, expectations, principal personalities, and milestones surrounding space tourism and reviews what has remained constant for decades: our motivation to float among the stars.


Lecture/Seminar

Sears Houses of Arlington

Monday, March 27, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In the early decades of the 20th century, Sears Roebuck & Co. sold more than 70,000 prefabricated Modern Homes kits, offering all Americans the chance to own an up-to-date house. Historian Dakota Springston draws on period and contemporary images to lead a virtual tour through several historic Northern Virginia neighborhoods that boast a wide range of these distinctive houses, followed by a Q&A with a Sears Homes expert.


Lecture/Seminar

A Journey Through the Potomac Gorge

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

One of the most biologically diverse and ecologically significant landmarks in America, the Potomac Gorge, near Washington, D.C., has held an important place in human history since the Ice Age. Naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a virtual journey along the most dramatic section of the 405-mile-long river: the 15-mile stretch in which it originates at Great Falls in Maryland and Virginia and flows, often through dramatic cliffs and bluffs, to Theodore Roosevelt Island in the District.


Lecture/Seminar

From Towers to Palaces: An Architectural Tour of Medieval Florence

Friday, March 31, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Florentine architecture in the 13th and 14th centuries was characterized by soaring towers, massive fortress-like palaces, breathtakingly beautiful basilicas, and public buildings that set an important precedent for the future palace builders of wealthy patrician families. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo traces how the built environment of medieval Florence clearly reflects the historical development of the city at the dawn of the Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Performance

Jazzed About Art: Jazz Appreciation Month

Saturday, April 1, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET

To kick off the annual worldwide celebration of jazz, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra offers a soundtrack filled with rhythm, texture, and color as it showcases the work of prominent 20th–century visual artists including William Sharp, John Fenton, and Romare Bearden. Works by Dizzy Gillespie, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, and Sun Ra are among the musical selections.


Lecture/Seminar

Spring's Awakening: A Reflective Writing Workshop

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 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 popular Writing Salon, Mary Hall Surface. Inspired by works of art by Vincent van Gogh and poetry by Mary Oliver, writers of all levels explore the lessons that the season of spring offers us when we slow down, look closely, and reflect.


Course

Shedding Light on Plato's Republic

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

For many people, tackling The Republic feels daunting. That’s why Georgetown professor Joseph Hartman is offering this illuminating four-session book discussion. Highlighted are some of the central themes, questions as relevant today as they were in 4th-century Athens.


Course

Art and Fiction

Friday, April 7, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

A picture is not only worth a thousand words: It can sometimes inspire a whole invented world. Independent art historian Heidi Applegate explores the art and artists behind three works of historical fiction. Gain new perspectives on Renaissance portraiture; Dutch still lifes, genre painting, and a cabinet house; and the Frick Collection in New York City by delving into the novels, followed by Applegate’s examination of the factual background along with the fiction. This is a “novel” way to explore the arts.


Tour

Springtime on the Potomac Heritage Trail: A Wildflower Hike at Turkey Run Park

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia, and one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth. Join naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a hike along one of the most scenic sections of the river, trekking north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Along the way, you can admire lush upland forests, view floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells, and keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna.


Lecture/Seminar

J. Robert Oppenheimer: Genius, Tragedy, Ethics, and the First Atomic Bomb

Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Robert Oppenheimer never really thought about the ethics of the atomic bomb until the successful test of a plutonium device at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in July 1945. Then, one of the most highly educated men of the 20th century felt an inrush of ethical anguish and spent the rest of his life trying to come to terms with what he, what America, and what humankind had done. Historian Clay Jenkinson examines the gated world of Los Alamos, the race to build the bomb, Oppenheimer’s ethical quandry about nuclear warfare—and the price he paid for it.


Tour

Springtime on the Potomac Heritage Trail: A Wildflower Hike at Turkey Run Park

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia, and one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth. Join naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a hike along one of the most scenic sections of the river, trekking north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Along the way, you can admire lush upland forests, view floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells, and keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna.


Lecture/Seminar

What Were They Thinking?: The Philosophies of Maimonides and Aquinas

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas, the two pre-eminent Jewish and Christian thinkers of the medieval period, shared a passion for applying the rationalist methods of Aristotle to questions of belief. Ori Z. Soltes, author and Georgetown University professor, considers how these two gigantic thinkers differ and where they share common ground, both generally and in particular, and how they offer relevance to our own world of thought and action.


Lecture/Seminar

Art Crimes: Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich

Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Expert on art fraud, author, and former FBI agent Robert Wittman draws from his book The Devil’s Diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich to recount his 2013 recovery of the long-lost private diary of the Nazi Party’s chief ideologue, who laid the philosophical foundations for the Holocaust. Rosenberg’s diary had been lost for more than 60 years and its long-hidden contents offer first-person insights into the Nazi rise to power, the genesis of the Final Solution, and Germany’s brutal occupation of the Soviet Union.


Tour

Springtime on the Potomac Heritage Trail: A Wildflower Hike at Turkey Run Park

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover the spring splendors of the Potomac Gorge, a 1,900-acre natural area spanning Maryland and Virginia, and one of the most geologically diverse places on Earth. Join naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a hike along one of the most scenic sections of the river, trekking north from Turkey Run Park along the Potomac Heritage Trail. Along the way, you can admire lush upland forests, view floodplains brilliantly decorated by Virginia bluebells, and keep an eye out for great blue herons and other native fauna.


Course

Introduction to American Art

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

From the glorious vistas of American landscape painting to the bold splashes and strokes of Abstract Expressionism, American artists have captured the nation’s enormous energy and tumultuous growth. Art historian Bonita Billman introduces major artists and movements in American painting from the late 18th century to the present, revealing the connections between historical changes and artistic choices. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Literature's Nobel Prize: Who won, who didn't, and why it matters

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Leo Tolstoy, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce never won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but Bob Dylan did. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into controversial decisions by the Nobel Prize committee and the history of the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.


Program

Smithsonian Chorus: Legends of Song

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Looking for a choral program that celebrates memorable music across the decades? This is the one for you. Join fellow music lovers to sing timeless classics from the 1920s and ’30s all the way to ’70s and ’80s hits under the direction of choral conductor and music educator Ernest Johnson. The experience is designed to entertain, challenge, and educate adult singers of all skill levels—and you can take a bow at the performance that concludes the program.


Course

Artists and Friends in the World of Manet: Cézanne and Pissarro, van Gogh and Lautrec

Thursday, April 13, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Before Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne created their celebrated works in Provence, these outsiders had profound experiences and friendships in Paris that would alter their artistic paths. In a 3-session course, popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw examines two such relationships: Cézanne’s friendship with Camille Pissarro and van Gogh’s with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the vibrant avant-garde art scene pioneered by Édouard Manet. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

The Uffizi Gallery: An Unrivaled Collection

Friday, April 14, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Uffizi Gallery has long been regarded as one of the most important museum collections in the world, boasting some of the greatest masterpieces of the Florentine Renaissance. From her home in Tuscany, art historian Elaine Ruffolo leads a lively two-part virtual walk through the Uffizi as she discusses its history, architecture, Medici connections, and an in-depth examination of the best of the remarkable painting collection. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Tour

Doodlebugging Through Delaware

Saturday, April 15, 2023 - 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Hop aboard a private charter of an early 20th-century self-propelled railcar called the Doodlebug and take in the spring sights along the historic Wilmington and Western Railroad line. As you ride, tour leader Joe Nevin, a railroad historian, covers the colorful background of the W&W and offers stories of the once-bustling industrial towns along the branch line.


Lecture/Seminar

Traditional Roots of Modern China: How an Ancient Worldview Drives Today’s Foreign Policy

Saturday, April 15, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

The relationship between the United States and China has never been easy. Currently, Beijing and Washington view each other with profound distrust and both sides are planning for conflict even as they say they hope to avoid it. China scholar Robert Daly traces China’s 21st-century drive for wealth, power, and status to beliefs, geographic influences, and social and cultural practices rooted in its earliest dynasties.


Tour

The Best of Brooklyn

April 16 - 17, 2023, 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Brooklyn offers plenty of delights for lovers of art, music, nature, and of course, food. On this two-day visit, arts journalist and former Brooklynite Richard Selden introduces you to several of the borough’s top attractions.


Lecture/Seminar

How Culture Works: Driven by the Intersection of Peoples

Monday, April 17, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Two faculty members of Harvard University, Martin Puchner, a professor of English and comparative literature, and Maya Jasanoff, a professor of history, converse on how humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Vanessa Bell’s A Conversation.


Lecture/Seminar

Three Masterpieces of Etruscan Art

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Etruscans hold a reputation for mystery, but the truth is we know a lot about these creative ancient Italians and their remarkable contributions to the history of art. Art historian and author Laura Morelli takes a deep dive into the heart of ancient Italy as she examines three masterworks of painting, sculpture, and metalwork that reflect Etruscan culture’s unique place in the Mediterranean world. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

Celebrating Brahms: The Man, His Music, and His Legacy

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

With his soaring melodies, rich harmonies, and rhythmic vigor, Johannes Brahms is among the immortals, his name linked with Bach’s and Beethoven’s as one of the “Three B’s” of classical music. Opera and classical music expert Saul Lilienstein examines the breadth of Brahms’ extraordinary career, from his teenage years playing piano in the brothels of Hamburg to his sweeping triumphs in Vienna and international recognition as the greatest living symphonist.


Lecture/Seminar

Rasputin: The Man Who Would Not Die

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

More than 100 years after his death, few figures in Russian history evoke as much fascination as Gregori Rasputin, often portrayed as the “Mad Monk” who became the political power behind Tzar Nicholas II and his family. Historian Ralph Nurnberger explores the labyrinth of stories surrounding the life and death of one of the early-20th century’s most intriguing characters.


Lecture/Seminar

The Sun: Front and Center
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

The Sun, the 4.5-billion-year-old star at the center of the solar system, is the glue that holds it together, and its activity provides a protective bubble that shields the planets from damaging galactic radiation. Astrophysicist and cosmologist Hakeem Oluseyi shines a light on this special star.


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Irving Berlin.


Lecture/Seminar

Renaissance Cabinets of Curosity: Collecting All Sorts of Wonders

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

A narwhal tusk and a meticulous painting of a tulip might seem to have little in common, but they were among the wonders of nature and artifice displayed proudly in Renaissance collections of marvels. These early private collections, or cabinets of curiosity, ultimately led to the genesis of the modern museum. Biologist Kay Etheridge describes how this passion for collecting provided naturalists with centers of study and source material for their quest to find order in nature.


Lecture/Seminar

Pati Jinich: La Frontera

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

In her PBS Primetime docuseries “La Frontera,” Mexican chef Pati Jinich uses food as the vehicle to explore the culture and people along the border of the United States and Mexico, sharing meals with locals from all walks of life and reflecting on the melding of cultures. Join her in person for a screening of an episode from the second season, “La Frontera: The Everchanging Borderlands,” which debuts this spring, followed by a conversation focusing on the creation of the series and what she discovered traveling in both countries.


Lecture/Seminar

The French Wars of Religion, 1559-1598: Reform and Conflict

Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

During the second half of the 16th century, France was near anarchy, torn apart by vicious cycles of violence between Catholics and Protestants. Historian Alexander Mikaberidze discusses the complex origins of the Wars of Religion in France and provides concise analysis of the wars, their social and economic toll, and the lasting impact of political ideas that they generated.


Tour

Military History in the Capital Area

Friday, April 21, 2023 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET

The timeline of America’s military history, marked by national and international conflicts and struggles, reaches beyond the founding of the United States and into the present. Much of this history is connected to the capital area—the backdrop for a day that explores three significant sites in a bus tour led by Brent Feito and Matt Seelinger of the National Museum of the United States Army. That relatively new museum is one of the stops on an itinerary that also includes Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Lecture/Seminar

In a New York State of Wine

Friday, April 21, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The vineyards surrounding New York’s Finger Lakes have proven time and time again to produce wines on a world-class scale. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum leads a tasty, in-depth session focused on the red and white varieties that grow best in the state, as well as some up-and-coming varieties that are being pioneered in New York's appellations.


Lecture/Seminar

From Coronation to Committal: Traditions and Ceremonies that Shape the British Monarchy

Saturday, April 22, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

In September 2022, the world watched the pageantry of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, including the committal ceremony, during which the emblems of royalty were taken from her coffin and placed on the altar. In May. the coronation of King Charles III and his wife, Camilla, will be celebrated. Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the protocols and traditions that continue the monarchy from one individual to the next.


Lecture/Seminar

The Supreme Court’s Role in Our Constitutional Democracy

Monday, April 24, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Recent years have seen increasing controversy around the Supreme Court—contentious appointments, divisive opinions, and even leaks from inside. Kermit Roosevelt, a constitutional law professor, former Supreme Court clerk, and member of President Biden’s Supreme Court Reform Commission, assesses the court’s role in our democratic system, the forces driving the recent controversies, and what, if anything, we can do to make things better.


Lecture/Seminar

The Spanish in the American Revolution

Monday, April 24, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Between 1779 and 1782, Spanish rangers from the region around San Antonio herded more than 10,000 cows over 500 miles to Louisiana to help feed Spanish soldiers fighting the British in the American Revolutionary War. Spain had joined the war on the patriots’ side in 1779 and would spend the next four years contributing a deluge of soldiers, sailors, ships, and cows to the war effort. University of Maryland historian Richard Bell reveals the hidden history of Spain’s participation in the American Revolution.


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Cecilia Beaux’s Sita and Sarita.


Lecture/Seminar

Mario Livio on What Makes Us Curious

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Curiosity drives basic scientific research, is the engine behind creativity in all disciplines, and provides a necessary ingredient in every form of storytelling. Astrophysicist Mario Livio interprets cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience that explores the origin and mechanisms of human curiosity. His own curiosity on the topic led him to interview linguist Noam Chomsky and the virtuoso lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, Brian May (who holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics).


Lecture/Seminar

20th-Century Oceanic Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

For over 40,000 years, people have lived and traveled among the islands that dot the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, establishing thriving and interconnected states and societies and creating artworks that express the excitement and vitality of their lives. Art historian Kevin Tervala surveys the artistic practice across 20th-century Oceania, examining the ways that European colonization and decolonization, the Pacific theater of World War II, and the increasingly globalized nature of the economy transformed the work that artists did and the forms that they produced. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Isabella Stewart Gardner: A Global Vision of Art

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Isabella Stewart Gardner assembled an extraordinary collection of art from diverse cultures and eras and built a Venetian-style palazzo in Boston to share her exquisite treasures with the world. Diana Seave Greenwald, assistant curator of the collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, shines new light on Gardner as a trailblazing patron and collector who created a museum unprecedented in its curatorial vision. She also discusses how Gardner’s far-flung journeys to fill that museum—recorded in her exquisitely crafted collaged travel albums—reveal the global influences of this legendary collector. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Gods and Mortals: A Modern Look at Ancient Greeks Myths

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Gripping tales that abound with fantastic characters and astonishing twists and turns, Greek myths confront what it means to be mortal in a world of powerful forces beyond human control. In a journey from the origin of the cosmos to the aftermath of the Trojan War, classicist Sarah Iles Johnston takes an engaging and entertaining new look at some of the best-known tales—as well as others that are seldom told—and highlights the rich connections among the characters and stories, draws attention to the often-overlooked perspectives of female characters, and stays true both to the tales and to the world in which ancient people lived.


Lecture/Seminar

Alcatraz: 250 Years on the Rock

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Alcatraz is America’s most notorious island, and its most misunderstood. Former National Park ranger and historian John Martini uncovers its fascinating multilayered history, including the island’s infamous past as a federal penitentiary, its role in American popular culture (especially the movies); the evolution of Alcatraz as a National Park site; its now-resurgent natural life; and the challenges of preserving its aging infrastructure.


Lecture/Seminar

Chasing Plants

Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Chris Thorogood clambers over cliffs and up erupting volcanoes and treks through typhoons--it’s just part of the job for this field botanist. He shares details of hair-raising excursions, brings his travels to life with his vivid paintings, and explains the vital work he and other botanists are doing to protect the world’s plants.


Lecture/Seminar

Private Art Collections of Rome, Part 1

Monday, May 1, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Many of Rome's greatest art treasures are displayed in the private collections of historically influential Roman families. Fortunately, a number of these art collections are now museums open to the public. Rocky Ruggiero, an expert in Renaissance art, surveys four of these private collections and explains how the artworks held there helped shape the Italian Renaissance. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Course

Write Into Art: Creative Writing Inspired by Visual Art

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Discover how visual art can inspire creative writing and how writing can offer a powerful way to experience art. Join Mary Hall Surface, the founding instructor of the National Gallery of Art’s popular Writing Salon, for three online workshops that spotlight a diverse range of visual art chosen to inspire writers of all experience levels to deepen their process and practice. This writing session is inspired by Canaletto’s Entrance to the Grand Canal from the Molo, Venice.


Lecture/Seminar

Taking a New Look at Historical Objects: Interdisciplinary Technology Studies Unveil Insights

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Using powerful sensors and computers—and even a repurposed particle accelerator—cultural heritage researcher Michael B. Toth and his colleagues in humanities and science mine everything from ancient manuscripts to fossils to lacquerware panels for new information about their content and creation. Past projects include the earliest known copy of work by Archimedes, Gutenberg and other early Bibles, and Muslim manuscripts.


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Johnny Mercer.


Lecture/Seminar

Moviegoing in America: From Nickelodeons to Movie Palaces to IMAX to Streaming

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The silver screen has changed drastically since its beginnings in the 19th century. Media expert Brian Rose looks at the history of movie theaters and considers what might happen next in the age of streaming services. BYOP—bring your own popcorn!


Lecture/Seminar

To Have and Have Another: The Life and Times (and Cocktails) of Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

In addition to being one of the 20th century’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway lived a big, bold, adventurous life filled with exploits all over the world. You could say that he traveled globally and drank locally. Author Philip Greene, a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, examines the life, prose, travels, and adventures of Hemingway through the lens of his favorite drinks, watering holes, and drinking buddies. Enjoy light snacks and four cocktail samples and raise a toast to Papa.


Lecture/Seminar

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Re-examining a Moment of Extreme Danger

Monday, May 8, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Many Americans recall the Cuban Missile Crisis as an American-Soviet faceoff that the United States won. Allen Pietrobon, a global affairs professor at Trinity Washington University, disagrees. He argues that the crisis consisted of two sides that came perilously close to destruction and pulled through mostly due to both luck and fear. He examines some close calls and assesses what lessons the crisis can teach about the potential for future nuclear armed conflicts.


Lecture/Seminar

Mercury: Small but Mighty Interesting
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system, remained relatively unexplored until NASA’s MESSENGER probe orbited and studied it from 2011 to 2015. Physicist Ronald J. Vervack Jr., who worked on the MESSENGER mission, highlights how Mercury provides insight into the formation, evolution, and current state of the solar system.


Lecture/Seminar

Virgil’s Aeneid: An Inside Look into Ancient Rome’s Greatest Epic Poem

Thursday, May 11, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Two millennia after it was composed, Virgil’s Aeneid remains one of the most influential and remarkable works in Western literature. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of comparative literature at Bard College, delves into what makes Virgil’s great work tick.


Lecture/Seminar

Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo: Contrasts in Greatness

Saturday, May 13, 2023 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Leonardo and Michelangelo: These towering geniuses of Western art disliked each other intensely. But their fraught relationship was fueled by a secret mutual fascination and a fierce competition that spurred them to new levels of artistic achievement. Art historian Nigel McGilchrist depicts the two men as perfectionists and brilliant craftsmen of radically different kinds who revolutionized painting and sculpting. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1 credit)


Course

More Stories from the American Songbook

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Here are more of those wonderful songs we love, and the stories behind their long lives. In an afternoon series, filmmaker and cultural historian Sara Lukinson combines lively lectures with a wide variety of film clips as she traces how favorite songs by each composer came to be and how different artists, unexpected arrangements, and changing times transformed them into something new but still the same. This session spotlights songs by Burt Bachrach.


Lecture/Seminar

Wein-derlust: Exploring Austrian Wine

Friday, May 19, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Austria has a long and storied history of producing extraordinary, high-acid, and fresh wines. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum spotlights the best of its exceptionally food-friendly whites (think bone-dry Rieslings or Austria's heritage grape, Grüner Veltliner) as well as native reds and international varieties like Pinot Noir.


Lecture/Seminar

George Gershwin: Our Love Is Here to Stay

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

George Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was a brilliant composer of both popular songs (“Swanee,” “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”) and more serious music, including Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess. Pianist and Gershwin authority Robert Wyatt explores the composer’s much too short life (he died at age 38) and legacy. S’wonderful!


Lecture/Seminar

The Art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Outdoors, Outsized, and Out of the Ordinary

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The public art projects of Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (better known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude) used acres of colorful fabric to cover an entire building, line a path, or surround islands. They took years to accomplish but remained in place for no more than two weeks. Art historian Nancy G. Heller analyzes the couple’s most important works and their long-lasting influence. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


Lecture/Seminar

Venus, Shrouded in Mystery
A Grand Tour of the Solar System

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

In this solar system, Venus is the planet most like Earth in size and density, yet it has a toxic atmosphere and is the hottest planet, contrasting with habitable Earth. Astrophysicist Stephen Kane reveals clues that point to a possible habitable past of Venus and discusses how its environment might have become hostile to life.


Course

Understanding Modern Art

Friday, June 9, 2023 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

The radical innovations made by European and American painters and sculptors between 1900 and 1960 forever altered the way we think about visual art. In a richly illustrated course, art historian Nancy G. Heller discusses major works by the period’s seminal painters and sculptors, emphasizing their broader socio-political and aesthetic contexts. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


Performance

The Duke Ellington Orchestra: A Centennial Celebration

Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

They’ve been called everything from the Washingtonians to Duke Ellington and His Kentucky Club Orchestra to Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra (and more). But the Duke Ellington Orchestra under any name maintains an unparalleled place in the history of American music. This year marks the 100th anniversary of this legendary  ensemble, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra is ready to celebrate its vast musical legacy.


Lecture/Seminar

Deutschland Entkokt: Uncorking Germany’s Best

Friday, June 23, 2023 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Germany has some of the world's most challenging vineyards to maintain, but the effort is well worth it. Erik Segelbaum reveals why the country’s wines are mainstays of any sommelier's toolkit for food-and-wine pairings in a delicious exploration of the wines of Germany and their rich histories.