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Smithsonian Associates Online Programs

Join us from the comfort of your home as we present individual programs, multi-part courses, and studio arts classes on Zoom, inspired by the Smithsonian's research, collections, and exhibitions.

All upcoming Online programs

Showing programs 1 to 10 of 276
June 17, 2024

Join curator Elizabeth Lay Little for an image-rich late spring lunchtime series focusing on decorative arts and design topics. This session explores how Coco Chanel’s Riviera vacation home mirrored its owner, a designer who was equal parts modern, simple, and complex with design historian Jean Marie Layton. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


June 17, 2024

Whether their fortunes were old or new, members of Gilded Age society reveled in hosting and attending teas, cotillions, lawn parties, luncheons, and formal dinners—all of which had their own codes of dress and manners. Even picnics were served on fine china. Food historian Francine Segan highlights the variety of foods, elaborate etiquette, and entertainments enjoyed by the period’s upper crust.


June 17, 2024

Few stories capture the imagination like “Beauty and the Beast,” the romantic tale of a beautiful girl who sees past appearances to fall in love with a hideous monster. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman discuss what the tale looks like around the world and what kinds of reactionary, rebellious, and revolutionary points it has allowed tellers to make. They also explain why so many people count it as their favorite fairy tale.


Session 4 of 5
June 18, 2024

Stravinsky’s spectacular early ballet scores such as Le Sacre du Printemps can distract us from where this prolific artist went next. Classical music and opera expert Saul Lilienstein examines a selection of classically inspired masterworks spanning 1918 through 1951—from L’Histoire du Soldat to The Rake’s Progress. Film excerpts of Stravinsky in conversation with other artists enhance the portrait of the man and the conductor.


June 18, 2024

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? Yet this story about a poor Jewish milkman, his wife, and five daughters who live in a tiny village in a corner of Eastern Europe captivated the entire world. Cultural historian Sara Lukinson traces the show’s improbable beginnings in Yiddish short stories and its creation by Broadway talents who produced a miracle of a musical filled with love, tears, and laughter.


June 18, 2024

Discover how small observations led to big breakthroughs on deciphering honey bee behavior. Cornell University biology professor Thomas D. Seeley discusses how he and his colleagues solved long-standing mysteries of honey bee nature. He tells how worker bees function as scouts to choose a home site for their colony, furnish their home with beeswax combs, and stock it with brood and food while keeping tens of thousands of colony inhabitants warm and defended from intruders.


June 18, 2024

Since the late 1940s, California has been an epicenter for some of the most striking and innovative modern domestic architecture in the world. Whether built for the families of industrial workers and returning GIs or Hollywood stars seeking a Modernist getaway in Palm Springs, they represent some of the most iconic and significant examples of Mid-Century Modern houses. Bill Keene, a lecturer on architecture and urban studies, surveys the state’s bold postwar landscape of housing design, materials, and construction. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)


June 20, 2024
In-Person & Online
Free!

More than 50 years after its debut in April 1968 at Broadway’s Biltmore Theatre in New York City, HAIR continues to celebrate the hippie counterculture of the 1960s. Discussing its ongoing relevance is a panel including theater critic Peter Marks, original Broadway cast members Shelley Plimpton and Dale Soules, and longtime HAIR publicist Merle Frimark, moderated by arts journalist Patrick Pacheco. Following the panel discussion, attendees have the rare opportunity to see objects from the National Museum of American History’s HAIR collection that are not on public display and hear from curators Ryan Lintelman and Krystal Klingenberg about collecting the objects. The program also includes a special performance by members of the cast of Signature Theatre’s current production of HAIR.


Session 3 of 4
June 20, 2024

From the vibrant paintings found in Stone Age caves to the abstract sculptures produced during the continent’s colonial period, the arts of Africa have been shaped by unique creative insight as well as by specific political, social, religious, and economic forces. In a four-part series, art historian Kevin Tervala explores these vibrant artistic expressions through an examination of the continent’s historical trajectory. (World Art History Certificate core course, 1 credit)


June 20, 2024

In late 2018, a young American missionary who kayaked onto a remote beach in the Andaman archipelago of the Indian Ocean and was killed by Indigenous islanders wielding bows and arrows. News of that fatal encounter made the world aware that such a place existed in our time: an island whose hunter-gatherer inhabitants still live in near-total isolation. Author and historian Adam Goodheart tells the stories of others drawn to the island through the centuries, discusses other Andaman tribes’ encounters with the outside world, and highlights how the modern age is drawing closer to their shores.